smallwhite wrote:If LWT works like LingQ then you have to process every single inflected word - even if it's a cognate and even if it's your own name.
Actually, LWT might be different then. I don't know LingQ well, so I don't know how it works there, but in LWT I can ignore words with two clicks, which barely takes me a second. Now, that said, in Russian even names are inflected and in Russian native content all three names (first name, last name, patronymic) + nicknames are used depending on the closeness and politeness of the conversation. That's of course a major drag not because of all the clicking, but because you actually have to remember 4 different names that could refer to a single person and there are usually a lot of characters. That's why Russian literature tends to be confusing to us mere mortals, especially those who have a terrible memory for names, like me
In any case, for Russian literature I might actually type the full name of every character in LWT and then I might have a chance to figure out who on Earth they are talking about with one click. I always got terribly lost when reading Russian literature in translation, so this is actually a neat trick! So having the option to annotate a name is actually a thing that I like about LWT. I don't have to do it though which makes it minimal processing for books with not so many characters.
Now, there is another option not to deal with a word: There is a "Well known" category where you don't write a definition at all, but still keep the word so that it doesn't show up as new again. There are two options to mark a word as well known, one takes 2 clicks, the other is a button that marks all the remaining new words in the text as known. I only use that global button for languages that I know well though - like Spanish or now French. For languages that I didn't learn with LWT this category is for the core vocabulary that I already learned elsewhere, so for Spanish I have much more well-known word forms than word forms with definitions, and most of the stuff I mark seems to be low frequency vocabulary. For a new language I will type the definition as long as I'm not thoroughly sick of the word. So after I have written the definition about 10-20 times I might just click well known and be done with it. And the same goes for different related words. Russian actually seems to have an awful lot of variations on the same word stem. The most obvious examples are things like "one-eyed" but in Russian there is even a word for "without fingers" and a lot more words that seem like literal descriptions instead of completely new words like in other languages. Basically by learning one word you might learn 5-10 related words all at once and of course after a while I simply don't write down a definition for all of those words and their gazillion word forms. The longer I read, the more words get the well known category, and for French for example I didn't type definitions for like 9000 word forms that were either variations of some word I knew already or cognates from English or Spanish. Just like you I don't have to create a card / type a definition if I don't feel like it.
If LingQ doesn't have these options for simply ignoring a word, then I don't know what's the appeal at all. As far as I know in LingQ there are no ratings for how well you know a word - there is only known, new and learning or something like that, right? That already seems limiting to me, because LWT has 6 different shades between unknown and well-known and that helps me a lot to differentiate between words that I just guessed from context or where I could tell you an exact definition. If the word means "dazzled" and I sort of know it as maybe "confused" then it only gets a rating of 3, whereas if I remember it exactly, then it's properly known. It's actually pretty useful to have a category of "sort of right" instead of just correct and incorrect. That's also something that always annoyed me with Anki, there is no "almost right". And I could theoretically also use LWT without all that typing by importing a dictionary. I don't use LWT that way though because I tend to learn words more quickly if I type. Also in anki and other flashcard programs I always typed the word out, but usually in L2 only. With LWT I type both L1 and L2. LWT vs LingQ is a bit like making your own cards with typing prompts instead of learning from a pre-made deck without typing prompts.
What I also find really cool about LWT is that I can export terms from it for anki if I actually want to learn the words for production too, with the context. I have done that a few times for Spanish for very specific Argentinian vocabulary. Those two programs actually work well together. In general LWT is not that different from flashcard prompts in general. However, it's more like having L2->L1 cards with context only, without actually having to create a card and seeing the exact same context again. You won't get sick of a card, because there are always new cards. Like Clozemaster maybe, only with the global context of a novel. You see the same word in a different sentence every time and the frequency of repetition is also not related to the restraints of your memory - you don't have any reviews piling up - but to the importance of the word and how much you want to read. One problem with Anki is also that there is no measure of importance unless you combine it with frequency lists. And most people seem to use frequency lists that have no relation to the vocabulary they actually need. Instead of learning the 3000 most common unknown words in a series of novel they might want to read, they might learn the 3000 most common words that appear in 50 year old newspapers. And the further down you get with the list, it's not that there will be less repetitions, it's as if "oak" is just as important as "tree". I like that kind of natural frequency of more important words more often, less important words more sporadically. With LWT however, most of the time my whole attitude is "I don't have to remember this at all". That's definitely different from Anki. I concentrate on understanding the sentence and that's it. I get positive feedback not from remembering the words, but from understanding the sentence and if I don't remember a word, it doesn't frustrate me because I'll understand the sentence even without remembering the word. And my brain then decides on its own that it better remembers certain words so that it doesn't take so much time to figure it all out.
But then, it's all just a matter of personal preference. There are people on here who put their novels through text analysers and learn the most frequent new words before starting to read. Makes total sense to me if one simply wants to read extensively and still make sure to pick up new vocabulary without having the reading flow broken up by dictionary lookups. I seem to enjoy reading even without that flow and I exploit that to minimise anki torture.
The best strategy is always the one that minimises torture. For some LWT is definitely more torture than Anki, I totally get it. And LWT is definitely more torture for some languages than for others. Russian is definitely not an ideal language to learn with that strategy, it's too inflected, so the number of new words goes down way to slowly. That said, I have to qualify that Russian simply resists ALL strategies. Grammar translations is awful torture because there is so much grammar, Assimil and Duolingo tend to be too difficult because it's so different a language, the vocabulary is super difficult which makes Anki and LWT a drag, a mainly communicative approach is super difficult because every sentence has the potential for a gazillion mistakes with cases, verb tenses and verb aspect and anyone trying to correct while speaking will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of mistakes to correct, which will then lead to fossilised mistakes. No matter how one approaches this language, there will be suffering and torture involved. That's just how Russian is. There is no solution to this problem other than giving up and looking for a less complicated language to learn
In the end we Russian learners seem to be all masochists to some extent