Living Here Affects My English

I study Spanish every day using Anki, a flashcard program.  For each ‘card’ Anki uses an algorithm combining the users’ self administered grade and elapsed time between showing a card and the user checking the other side to determine when the card will be shown next.  Some cards I won’t see for another 8 years.  Some cards I’ll see tomorrow because I keep making mistakes, usually of two similar words.  El músculo (muscle) and el muslo (thigh) for example.

When this happens I make one or more new cards using a few different strategies that will help me distinguish between the two.  Lately I’ve been using pictures because of a persuasive article.  More about that in a future post.  Google Image served up appropriate pictures or drawings of both muscle and thigh.  Edited the photos to make them Anki sized (it runs on phones) and removed parts of the image distracting from the subject.  Added photos to Anki, then typed in the Spanish for the other side of the card.

I usually add more than one card to enforce learning.  Next I used Google translate to get the spanish for ‘Thigh muscles’ because it generates accented letters faster than I can.  Typed ‘Thai muscles’.  Oops.  Corrected it to Thigh* muscles then seconds later cut and paste into Anki and typed in the English: Thai muscles.  Oops.

* Believe it or not, what I originally wrote was ‘Corrected it to Thai …’


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