• 5 December 2007Working on the next big update...

    The last few months I've been working on a new area for the website. I've nicknamed the new area "Trinity" for now, for lack of a better name, because it is split in 3 mains areas : Sentences, Vocabulary and Kanji.

    On the "landing" page for this new section, there are 3 big tabs giving you overviews of your current progress into each area. The first two show a graphic of your stacks much like the current review area while the third gives your statistics on your knowledge of kanji & readings.

    Adding vocabulary is a breeze : simply type the word into a search box using romaji, kana or kanji, or a mix of the three :) A list appears with all matching compounds and a single click adds the item to your sentence, or vocabulary list. No need to manually enter the kanji, reading (furigana) and definition.

    The dictionary lookup will be courtesy of Jim Breen & EDRDG's JMDICT project).

    When you review sentences, you can see the attached vocabulary after flipping the card.

    Likewise, when you review vocabulary, you can click a link to see the sentence(s) and/or vocabulary list(s) in which the word appeared.

    This effectively means you can expand your vocabulary through adding sentences, and review this vocabulary separately later (both sentences and vocabulary items are on scheduled flashcards). Or you could just review vocabulary lists, or both, and there's still another way to add vocabulary...

    The kanji section first takes you to the "onyomi" page where you can see an overview of your progress on the chinese readings. It looks similar to the "progress chart" page, with one box per reading, the number of characters falling under that reading, and a different colour for any of the groups you are currently covering with your vocabulary!

    Clicking any of the readings gives you a list of all kanji that have this reading, and clicking any of those kanji will take you to the "kanji" page. I think you will love the Kanji page : it shows you any vocabulary in your sentences/vocablists that matches the character, plus any other exemplary compounds you have added from this page... simply click "add compound" and you will get a list of Japanese words that match the character/reading combination. This is a great way to expand your vocabulary. If you combine this with the "onyomi" page you can get exemplary compounds for each character and learn the reading for a bunch of characters in one swoop, much more efficiently than if you had picked up the readings haphazardly.

    Of course, you can combine the best of both worlds : create sentences and vocab lists from your preferred material; then look at what new kanji readings have been learned, and complete those groups of characters by adding more exemplary compounds for other characters that use the same readings you have currently learned :)

    It's important to me that this new area will be open to all Japanese learners, whether they use RtK or not. For non-RtK learners, it's great because you you can go the Kanji page and add exemplary words for a subset of characters you know, any characters, any order you like.

    But with that said, I think RtK learners will really shine at this new learning tool, as with the writing of the characters already taken care of, you will be able to add vocabulary at a much greater pace than if you had to learn the writing at the same time. Not only you can add exemplary words for any character, but you could also lookup the words on a Japanese search engine, and enter example sentences you've found to cover this vocabulary.

    I am trying lately to prioritize my to-do list and get the program into a "beta" state that will be testable online. I can not give any date yet though.