About Iversen word lists

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About Iversen word lists

Postby Atinkoriko » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:46 pm

Hello, guys.

I've just finished memorising my first 800 German words with the Iversen method and I have a few questions to ask, as well as some observations to make. This is my first time posting here, so I crave your indulgence with regards to any mistakes on my part :)

First of all, I just want to confirm that I'm not doing it 'wrong'. In his mega thread guide on language learning, and also on his channel, he stated the importance of 'doing something else' in between making the memory associations and actually writing the translations of the 5-7 words down.

Let me illustrate what I understood by that, and how I implemented it into my own study.

Wordlist setup

Day 1 Ist day of repetition 2nd day of repetition
German English German English German
German English German English German
German English German English German

Memorise German column ------- take a 1 minute break-------- Write down the English translation while recalling memory hooks -------------take another 1 minute break ----------- retranslate the English column back into German [also with use of memory hooks].

This takes 5 minutes in total for each 'set' of 7 words, making it about 84 words per hour [12 sets of 7 words]. My question here is whether both 'breaks' are required or whether they have to be for a minute long or so. This is important to me because the elimination of one of such 'breaks' ie between the 2nd column and the third, or a reduce in the time of the breaks to maybe 30 seconds long would mean that I can do more 'sets' per hour.

However, would reducing the break time reduce recall rate for the memorized words ? Am I overthinking this?

Also, a question regarding the 'repetition sets'. From what I understood from the aforementioned thread and the videos, Iversen does just one repetition after the first day. However as you can see from my sample setup above, I have been doing two repetition sets. Is this overkill? Also I don't copy the L1 [English] to the fourth column before translating back into German, but I simply cover the left side of the page and retranslate the third column from German into the fourth column of English. Then on the 3rd day, I repeat the same process and translate the fourth column from English into the fifth and final column of German.

Again, am I doing this wrong? Do I need the 2nd repetition set on the 3rd day or just 1 repetition set the day after, but with the L1-L2 retranslation process this time?

In summary, do I reduce the 'break' times to 30 seconds between columns without impacting recall rates and do I need to do a 2nd repetition set on the 3rd day?

Lastly, a few observations about the method. I've found that the memory hooks have gotten easier to make and tend to jump out at me as I look at the words. Similarly, more and more 'unknown' words seem familiar because I have memorised their component parts ie qualvoll wasn't much of a mystery, given that I had already memorised die Qual and knew what voll signified. Also I find that the majority of words I forgot on the 2nd repetition were most often not the same ones I'd had trouble with on the first repetition, exactly as Iversen pointed out.

Also I find that even the most hastily made and seemingly tenuous memory hooks tend to do the job quite nicely ie for 'schonunglos' I simply imagined a shogun beating a subject relentlessly with a stick, the only sound similarity in pronunciation between 'shogun' and 'schonunglos' being the 'scho'/sho at the beginning of the words and a distinct 'n' sound etc

In all, the only problem I have with this method is the mental fatigue involved from sitting in a chair for 2 hours and trying to come up with memory hooks. To me, this is nothing compared with the soul numbing feeling of seeing 800 cards ready for review on Anki or Memrise [cue pitchforks], but it's still tiring nonetheless.

That'll be all. Would be grateful for any input in the form of observations and of course, answers to my questions :)
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Re: About Iversen word lists

Postby reineke » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:58 pm

Atinkoriko wrote:Hello, guys,

Also I find that even the most hastily made and seemingly tenuous memory hooks tend to do the job quite nicely ie for 'schonunglos' I simply imagined a shogun beating a subject relentlessly with a stick, the only sound similarity in pronunciation between 'shogun' and 'schonunglos' being the 'scho'/sho at the beginning of the words and a distinct 'n' sound etc

Would be grateful for any input in the form of observations and of course, answers to my questions :)

As long as you don't end up recalling the word as "shogunlos"...
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Re: About Iversen word lists

Postby Iversen » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:00 pm

I didn't see Atinkoriko's questions before now (where I checked the situation concerning Google search results for the forum after the recent debâcle), but better later than never - and please remember that I just have proposed a method which others may use in other ways than those that function for me.

Let's first take the question of waiting times. While you are doing a three-column wordlist the first waiting time is built into the system. If you try to memorize one word and its translation you will essentially keep those two words continutally in your head - but when you learn groups of words you have to let no. 1 'slip away' while you look at no. 2,3, etc. - but you do so in a controlled fashion because the foreigns words have been written down. That means that you can train yourself in dragging them back into your mind without risking that they get completely lost. In contrast, if you just hear a word from a TV program and then think about something else then you may discover that the word has disappeared from your mind and then there is no way to bring it back.

In principle it is a fine idea to spend a minut doing something totally different after writing a group of words in any of the three columns, but switching between words will be distraction enough - you don't have to take a walk or watch TV for a minute. Instead you should spend the time on running through the words a couple of times, one by one. to check that you actually remember all the translations resp. the original words. If not, then check your source.

I have written that the waiting time betwen doing the wordlist and doing the first repetition round should be around 24 hours, but only because that has functioned for me. The idea is that you should leave the words out of your mind for some time (enough to get a good night's sleep), but not for so long that you forget the 'memory hooks' you may have used while memorizing them. If you leave a wordlist aside for so long time that you don't really remember what happened when you did it the first time, then you could just as well start doing a new list.

Doing two repetitions may be a good idea. In the beginning I didn't think it was important because my counts told me that I had forgotten some 10-30% of the words both after the first repetition and the second one. Since them I have discovered that the forgotten words aren't the same ones, and then the first repetition may be the reason that I didn't fare even worse after repetition round no. 2. But I would use reduced formats both for the first repetition and (even more) for the second repetition. I can see that Atinkoriko does the repetitions by adding more columns to the original list - that's not what I do, but the exact form of the repetitions is nowhere as important as the setup for the original list.

How long time does it then take to make a wordlist with for instance 100 words? It depends very much on your level in the language in question, and you can also make the lists harder or easier which of course will have an impact on the time it takes to get through those 100 words. Atinkoriko's 84 words per hour (12 sets of 7 words) sound fairly reasonably to me, and cutting down on break time would of course give more words in the same amount of time. Does it mean less recall? Well, that's something you can test. As the first or second repetition you can cover the 2. and 3. columns and copy the 1. column (with the original target language words) to an empty sheet of paper, and then you mark them as definitely known, partly remembered (or just guessable) and definitely forgotten - maybe using color codes. Then it is easy to get the percentages for those three groups. And you can then add the translations for the forgotten and somewhat forgotten groups, which would make the exercise function as a fullblown repetition round.

The mental image of your pitiless shogun is hilarious - and that's precisely what makes it a good memory hook. Memory hooks do NOT have to address the whole of a foreign word - a sound similarity with the beginning will be just as evocative.
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