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Skritter & real world

阿軒   November 21st, 2010 6:31p.m.

Today I started writing a small diary of my trips, I decided I'd write it in Chinese for good practice. I am able to recall many characters, BUT there are many characters I simply am not sure how to write anymore, despite using skritter whenever I have time (that is, I don't have that much time... :( ) These are only little details such as adding an extra stroke or missing strokes, or simply not knowing how to write characters I should really know by now. I figured I obviously need to write more often on paper. Does this happen to anyone else?

To correct this, I started grading myself much stricter on skritter now, I'll put a fail for one missed stroke. Another question I have, does anyone know of any exercise texts one could print in pinyin and write the characters separately? little essays and such.

wb   November 21st, 2010 6:50p.m.

This came up a few times already...grading stricter should help, have you tried using raw squigs? Some people also do pen and paper and grade manually, although in my opinion using raw squigs (settings on practice page) should be enough...

Byzanti   November 21st, 2010 11:20p.m.

Raw squigs and being harsh is 90% of the way for me. I'm sure doing actually stuff on paper would fill the gap would add another 5% or so, but it's also disproportional effort.

shenqi   November 22nd, 2010 12:34a.m.

Are you using a mouse? Switching to a tablet made a huge difference for me in muscle memory.

Will Buckingham   November 22nd, 2010 4:19a.m.

Grading more strictly helps. But also simply keeping on keeping on.

The other thing is that a lot of memory is contextual, so in the Skritter context I can remember stuff that I don't outside. One way of cementing memory is simply through reading lots, I think. Seeing characters in context and in the wild really helps.

I do also think that writing by hand helps to(there's something a bit more direct about this, more direct even than writing with a tablet).

But also, retention is never 100%. My Chinese teacher, who has lived in the UK for a decade or so, sometimes has problems as well. This is both reassuring and not very reassuring at all...

Will Buckingham   November 22nd, 2010 4:20a.m.

Sorry - typo: "too" not "to".

阿軒   November 22nd, 2010 4:45a.m.

Sorry all I forgot to mention important details!

-I do use a bamboo tablet.

-I do use raw squids.

-I set 95% retention rate.

I can recognize pretty easily, recognizing has never really been an issue, nor remembering definitions. It's all the small strokes, or sometimes I'll mix up characters entirely, writing the wrong radicals. For example I mix up 数 & 楼 a lot.

I guess I'll opt for the paper writing. I'll just find a way to make practical work sheets through excel.. perhaps?

balsa   November 22nd, 2010 5:20a.m.

For Definition Practice, I decided to grade only in terms of "1, forgot" or "4, too easy", that's the only harsh measure I've taken so far.

wb   November 22nd, 2010 5:38a.m.

Using mnemonics should help against mixing up.

I use mnemonics for every character (Heisig-based) and the only problems I get are:
- I see the definition (keyword) but can't remember my story
- I rember my story, but can't figure out the keywords for the components in that story
- I remember my story and the keywords, but can't remember how one or more the components look like
- I can remember everything except the arrangement of the components (not so often, sometimes I modify my story to take the arrangement into account)

So basically I can remember a character or not, but I usually don't mix things up or forget single strokes...by identifying all the components of a character you practice not only the character but also all components.
The examples you gave would be according to Heisig:

Flying Dutchman + taskmaster = number
tree + flying dutchman = multistory building

Inventing a fantasy character like the Flying Dutchman might sound stupid at first, but everytime you see it it's a repitition of that component.

My stories would probably go like this:

The Flying Dutchman was the number 1 tasmaster.
I would imagine some guy on the top of a ship, shouting orders to everyone, "I am the number 1, you are nothing" or something like that...

The Flying Dutchman lived in a tree, which was actually a mulstistory building.
So maybe his flying ship got stuck in a tree, and now he has to live there...

I hope you get what I mean. ;-)

阿軒   November 22nd, 2010 5:47a.m.

Thanks wb, I do understand your examples. So you use the Heising definitions? I have tried them and they seemed a little to simple, and I felt like I was omitting other important definitions for the characters. So I reverted back to the regular definition system, which I don't have much problems memorizing. I guess I need to review my character components to avoid making the single stroke mistakes.

wb   November 22nd, 2010 5:56a.m.

Heisig is just a way to get the characters into your head, so it's only one keyword for every character. You would have to add other definitions later, along with the words the character is used in. I think using Heisig only makes sense if you study the Heisig lists, otherwise I would just create my own mnemonics so that you don't confuse components...

Thomas   November 22nd, 2010 6:00a.m.

Why not continue writing your journal entries in Chinese? That's about what I do, jotting down notes in class - not usually about class : )

No of course I don't get to write every character, but at least get to review a good chunk of them and am able to make use of those spare minutes most students here spend sleeping.

阿軒   November 22nd, 2010 6:06a.m.

I feel that if I write a character down on paper quick and correctly, this character is part of those that I won't need to review for a very long time.

What I used to do in class is to chat with my neighbors by writing notes in Chinese, I did feel like I was in high school again! haha. However that greatly helped me review and was a good training in writing fast.

I started the topic to also see if others have this issue of doing well on skritter but suddenly feeling like you haven't learned much when you start writing on paper.

My issue about writing little diary entries is that my vocab is still very limited, I only recently reached 1000 characters. In 2 years, I feel like I am advancing very slowly. Have a busy schedule sucks! :/

Neil   November 22nd, 2010 6:54a.m.

it's more of an environment thing, you associate remembering characters with that certain location, skritter page and wacom. Write on paper every now and then and it will lock it in regardless of paper or bamboo.

Byzanti   November 22nd, 2010 8:55a.m.

helix: it you're confusing two characters (eg, one has a small stroke the other hasn't, or otherwise looks similar, or whatever), make a note of the other in the custom definitions field. It's a little bit of a hint, but each time you hit the character you'll be reminded of the difference. This is invaluable.

But yes, 数 and 楼 are irritating :p.

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