pinkyslippers wrote: I'm just wondering how other people approach it when you look up a word and it has several different meanings? I suppose I am thinking of a word like quedar in Spanish, for example. Do you just add a card/note for the context that you came across or do you add all the different meanings of that word (assuming that you don't already know them, that is)?
I'd also be interested in hearing what others do. As time goes on, I'm growing to think this is less of a problem than it seems, because once you have learned one meaning of a word, it's much easier to learn the others. You already have a 'hook' to attach the meaning to, so there's not too much reason to worry about it. And that's a lot of the point of flashcards - learn a quick, easy gloss, probably inadequate, but enough to help you recognise the word in context. It's the actual input that helps you learn the meaning of the word properly and deeply (plus the occasional dictionary consultation when needed). But this would not happen anywhere near as fast or for as many words without the flashcards. So I'm not sure how much we need to worry about perfection in flashcards.
That said, my main approach is to make a card to which the answer is a simple, unambiguous gloss - usually the most common or relevant meaning, in keeping with the minimum information principle. That makes it easy to learn. But I put a range of other glosses or definitions below this, whether just below the answer or in a 'notes' section. I think this an advantage of Anki etc. - you can paste a longer definition that doesn't work on goldlists etc., even if you won't use it every time. Generally I find that I do slowly absorb these other meanings - at the very least, they exist as a prompt to remind me that the one-word gloss is inadequate for the word.
This works well for a lot of verbs and nouns, but some words just don't map so nicely onto English glosses, or you need to be more aware of the range of meanings. For instance, I've just been working on the Latin word 'quam', which can mean 'as', 'than', 'how' and so on. In this case, I created three cards, each with a sentence, and asked myself what gloss would be appropriate for 'quam' in each context. Of course, with a word like this, half the point is that no gloss is adequate, but this approach seems to get the basic idea in to begin with. I do this when I need to - awkwardwords, in other words, ones that are likely to trip me up in reading.
But again, I'd be curious about what others do.