How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

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How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby Xenops » Mon Mar 22, 2021 11:02 pm

(and yes, I know the title is prime subject for Answers to Discussion Questions ;) )

So, how do you use Clozemaster? I could just simply play the games, but I’m assuming there’s more to it? Also, do you find the Premium version to be worth it?

Thanks in advance. :)
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby mokibao » Tue Mar 23, 2021 2:00 am

I used Clozemaster for a while, for German, Spanish and Italian. It was ok for a while, and it's really good at what it does, especially when it comes to teaching colloquial patterns and slang, but I eventually abandoned it:

-Lots of sentences that are too easy at first, no way to get rid of them and they clog your review backlog

-The review intervals are too messed up and there's no way to change them in the free version

-Too many popups, ads, interruptions and so on: ideally you'd be able to go through hundreds of sentences in an intensive run but the popups are way too annoying for that.

-And the straw that breaks the camel's back: too many mistakes. It especially doesn't seem to know the difference between polite forms, polite plural forms, informal forms and informal plural forms. This is compounded by the fact that Italian has 3 different levels (tu vs Lei vs voi in some parts of Italy) and Spanish has the whole usted/ustedes/vosotros/tu/vos thing and the sentences are just kind of jumbled together regardless of dialectal origin so you have to try every single possibility every time a conjugated verb comes up, which is very often. This makes the whole thing unusable imo.

-Depending on the language TTS quality may vary. Sometimes there is no TTS which means you have to rely on native recordings which are often incomplete for the corpus.

I didn't pay for the pro version. From what I understand Clozemaster is a fancy gamified UI for SR over the open Tatoeba corpus, on which TTS was slapped when the native recordings weren't enough. The idea is neat but not that neat that I'd pay a recurring subscription for it imo.

If you don't want to use Clozemaster there are instructions on how to import the Tatoeba dataset into Anki, and there is also an app called 10000sentences that basically quiz you in much of the same way Clozemaster does.
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby bolaobo » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:31 pm

Lots of sentences that are too easy at first, no way to get rid of them and they clog your review backlog


You can get rid of them by using the "ignore" button, or setting it to 100% mastered. This isn't a huge issue

-The review intervals are too messed up and there's no way to change them in the free version

-Too many popups, ads, interruptions and so on: ideally you'd be able to go through hundreds of sentences in an intensive run but the popups are way too annoying for that.


Yes, I agree. You need the pro version to fix it.

I didn't pay for the pro version. From what I understand Clozemaster is a fancy gamified UI for SR over the open Tatoeba corpus, on which TTS was slapped when the native recordings weren't enough. The idea is neat but not that neat that I'd pay a recurring subscription for it imo.


In essence yes, but Clozemaster has some nice features. For the more well-supported languages, words are separated by frequency, you can do grammar challenges, the TTS is often better than built-in system TTS, and Cloze Listening and Cloze Radio (Pro) are good for building listening skills in early stages.
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby rdearman » Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:11 pm

I never got ads on closemaster. But I have ad blockers on every device.
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby Cavesa » Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:35 pm

How: as a supplementary resource. It is a good and fun way to enrich or review vocab in sentences. I only do the typing version, that's what I find valuable, I don't find multiple choice useful at all. I use it less than enough, I really struggle with being consistent with any SRS. So, it's been helpful, but it will be even better for the more consistent people.

Yes, I find the Premium version worth it. Partially because I got it on sale as a one time payment, I don't like the usual subscriptions to such services. But Clozemaster does the freemium right, in my opinion. It is already very good in the free version. The features of the Premium that I like: Freely choosing the amount of words in any single session (I really like that), also the option to manually override the SRS with a button "too easy" or "too hard" (awesome for a learner reviewing after a long break, or someone with differently distributed strengths and gaps than the author thinks), and the statistics are nice.

A response to some of the mentioned problems: Ignore or too easy solves the problem of too easy sentences at first. I'd reword it: I think there should be many more examples in the "more advanced" courses, because you sometimes learn as many example sentences for the first 500 words and for 3000 words later on. Clogging the backlog can be an issue, but I think Clozemaster also allows you to judge the revewed mastered sentences as hard/easy/too easy or something (I am not that far in general), so the SRS intervals can be prolonged. But should something become too easy and annoying: there is still the ignore button.

The mistakes are an issue, but they get progressively fixed, thanks to the not that beginner users reporting them. A feature I like is the possibility to edit a translation for yourself, I use it in some cases (usually when my brain with native Czech finds the English translation insufficient or nuanced differently than I need). But you can fix a mistake too. But I agree it is probably the most serious issue and likely to bother a true first time learner of the language. That's one more argument for "don't learn from just one source".

The pronunciation audio can be an issue. Personally, I don't care at all, audio is not what I want from an SRS. I am more after the cloze deletion typing. But yes, it can matter more to some learners.

mokiabo wrote:I didn't pay for the pro version. From what I understand Clozemaster is a fancy gamified UI for SR over the open Tatoeba corpus, on which TTS was slapped when the native recordings weren't enough. The idea is neat but not that neat that I'd pay a recurring subscription for it imo.


That's a pretty exact description, even though I'd actually say it is exactly a reason FOR paying, not against. In spite of the problems (such as mistakes in some sentences), this automatisation of exercise creation, and the huge and free tatoeba corpus, are the only thing making such huge courses possible. Even for the non FIGS languages. I am all for handpicked and more carefully created SRS cloze deletion products, like Speakly. But they teach only 4000 words even in German, not the 20000 I want. And there is no Speakly (or any of its competitors, like Lingvist which I personally don't like and consider the content low quality) for Hebrew or Romanian, which are languages I consider learning.

People sometimes argue, that Clozemaster is not worth paying for, because the real content is Tatoeba. But Tatoeba itself is worthless for my learning. How would I use it? Look up examples of words found elsewhere, at the pace of a few sentences per hour? I'd say Clozemaster is turning a theoretically valuable (but in everyday learning not that useful) Tatoeba into an excellent learning tool.

Unlike some people around here, I am not a programmer. I don't view the Clozemaster creator as someone abusing Tatoeba and getting money for nothing. I am not capable of programming such an interface to learn the content of Tatoeba, so the author of Clozemaster doing it has sold me a valuable service.

If you don't want to use Clozemaster there are instructions on how to import the Tatoeba dataset into Anki, and there is also an app called 10000sentences that basically quiz you in much of the same way Clozemaster does.


That's a seemingly good point, you can surely put tatoeba to anki, but I am simply not capable of doing it. Perhaps you'll consider me dumb, but I am totally incapable of understanding the instructions on making Anki accept my typing. Paying for Clozemaster has saved me many wasted hours trying to learn how to do such extremely difficult things for me. I have tried various times, but the best I can do are normal cloze deletions, and I write the answers on paper. This sounds nice (yeah, we all know how useful is handwriting for memore and blah blah blah), but SRS that makes me type makes me learn much faster, more efficiently, and it makes me write the vocab the same way I write most things in the real life.

And yes, there are other apps than Clozemaster, I am now looking at your recommendation (but the user reviews criticise some of the same things you dislike about Clozemaster, such as bad TTS). But Clozemaster gives more than one example per sentences at least up to 20000 frequency list, at least in the big courses. 10000 words with one sentence per word, that's nothing special, I prefer the amount offered by Clozemaster. And most of the SRS apps I've seen were on multiple choice, not typing, therefore a total waste of time for me. This app seems to be about multiple choice too, or perhaps there is typing too?
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby lingua » Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:05 pm

I use a paid version of Clozemaster for only about five minutes at a time per language though I've barely used it in recent months. I've actually found it more useful at the beginning of learning a new language to get used to the sentence structure and learn vocabulary in context. I got bored of the Italian and stopped doing that language. I found it especially useful for Piemontese which exists by English and by Italian. There aren't a lot of sentences but I learned quite a bit of vocabulary from it. Initially I used multiple choice but once I got used to the language I switched to typing the words.

For the bigger languages with categories split into top 100, 500, 1000, etc you can just move forward when you think a particular category is too easy. It's not necessary to do all of them. I do find there is sometimes too much redundancy. With the paid version you can request the order for the review so I've set it to review the ones that were at the lowest percentage completed. If I see an error I put the sentence into the ignore state.
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby mokibao » Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:57 pm

Cavesa wrote:
Unlike some people around here, I am not a programmer. I don't view the Clozemaster creator as someone abusing Tatoeba and getting money for nothing. I am not capable of programming such an interface to learn the content of Tatoeba, so the author of Clozemaster doing it has sold me a valuable service.



To be clear I am not saying the creator of Clozemaster abuses anyone or anything - the Tatoeba corpus is free and was made explicitly to be used by anyone for any purpose. My feedback is obviously personal, your mileage may vary, etc.

But the mistakes touch on something fundamental, it seems the translations are not able to distinguish between the various formal/informal forms. Because there is only one accepted answer you do have to try everything until the software accepts it, which is really annoying. For instance, Duolingo alleviates it by accepting multiple answers (which is still not enough and people often grumble about it). It's not a matter of cleaning up the corpus from mistakes, the whole interface has to be reworked so that multiple translations are accepted, or the initial sentence should provide contextual clues to narrow down the range of possible answers. Or you turn on multiple choice answers, which are obviously less challenging. Or you import the whole thing into Anki and let yourself be your own judge. In any case, I found the interface unusable as it is, for the languages I studied.
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby Cavesa » Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:58 am

mokibao wrote:But the mistakes touch on something fundamental, it seems the translations are not able to distinguish between the various formal/informal forms. Because there is only one accepted answer you do have to try everything until the software accepts it, which is really annoying. For instance, Duolingo alleviates it by accepting multiple answers (which is still not enough and people often grumble about it). It's not a matter of cleaning up the corpus from mistakes, the whole interface has to be reworked so that multiple translations are accepted, or the initial sentence should provide contextual clues to narrow down the range of possible answers. Or you turn on multiple choice answers, which are obviously less challenging. Or you import the whole thing into Anki and let yourself be your own judge. In any case, I found the interface unusable as it is, for the languages I studied.


I agree it is a problem, and probably the most important one. The most valid of the commonly mentioned issues.

Usually, I take the length of the answer frame as a hint :-D but that's definitely not a good enough solution.

Multiple answers accepted (not multiple choice game, that's a waste of time imho) are one of the solutions. The other one is making the question clear, I agree the contextual clues are one way to do that. Or you can openly write what answer is expected. Speakly does that, even though not consistently enough, Kwiziq does that. Just adding a "hint" like (female) or (formal) could solve a large % of the issues with this particular kind of mistake, that's too widely spread. It goes even to such a level of weirdness (and confusion for real beginners), that you sometimes have to type in the masculine version of the sentence, and get a feminine TTS voice reading it.

Perhaps it might be a good question on the Clozemaster creator themselves, how do they deal with users' corrections of mistakes, whether they plan something like that. Whether the money paid by the users allows them to put time into the error fixing, or we are waiting for something not likely to happen.

For me, Anki just proved to be too difficult to set up for this, I haven't understood the way to create typing frames in Anki itself. The method with writing on paper is in my case much slower, more distant from my real life, and also a bit painful (due to a wrist problem). But just the cards without writing are of very limited value, in my opinion, they don't have enough effect on me, to justify all the hassle. So, the absence or readily made rich content to type into, that's one of the things that drives me off anki usually.
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Re: How to Take Advantage of Clozemaster?

Postby bolaobo » Thu Mar 25, 2021 1:54 pm

mokibao wrote:
But the mistakes touch on something fundamental, it seems the translations are not able to distinguish between the various formal/informal forms. Because there is only one accepted answer you do have to try everything until the software accepts it, which is really annoying. For instance, Duolingo alleviates it by accepting multiple answers (which is still not enough and people often grumble about it). It's not a matter of cleaning up the corpus from mistakes, the whole interface has to be reworked so that multiple translations are accepted, or the initial sentence should provide contextual clues to narrow down the range of possible answers. Or you turn on multiple choice answers, which are obviously less challenging. Or you import the whole thing into Anki and let yourself be your own judge. In any case, I found the interface unusable as it is, for the languages I studied.


I use multiple choice often. It's less challenging, but it's compensated for by drastically increased speed. I turn translations off and try to correctly translate the sentence without peeking. Otherwise, I mark the sentence incorrect even if I was able to guess the choice. This is a good form of mass input in early stages of a language when I can't handle a novel.

For your issue, you can just ignore what the system says and manually grade your sentence. In the Pro version, you can manually give a question a 0%, 25%, 50% score, or you can mark it as mastered/ignore the sentence. Hopefully in the future they will accept multiple answers, but it will require a lot of user feedback to "fix" the Tatoeba sentences.

I agree that Pro isn't worth a recurring subscription. I got a lifetime subscription during the Black Friday sale.
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