A thousand words in 6 weeks

Those of my readers who are also on Olly Richards mailing list – and there may well be a sizeable crossover due to common interests – will have noted that he has a guest on this week, one “memory scientist” Anthony Metivier telling people that according to his method it is possible to learn 1000 words in six weeks.

Now just for the record let me say that learning words in isolation isn’t optial, better to learn short phrases showing the word in use with its collocations and recalling a range of grammar, but you certainly can learn words if you want to.

I just wanted to compare the results of people using the GoldList Method and certainly my own experience using the GoldList Method with this run rate of 1000 words in six weeks.

I prefer to use the term lines, and how many new words equate to 100 new lines depends entirely on the material. If it’s a dictionary it can be 100% or near. Probably the average is around half of that, and in some cases even less. Certainly I take several lines for each new word in Japanese, while in Czech I have 24,000 lines of Headlist and I know that there are around 18,000 words in there. Imiagine that we wanted to focus on words, we’d prepare material in order that a line was a word. So for this thought experiment I will take the idea 1 line of GLM = 1 word per Mr Metivier’s Method. GLM is very flexible so it will work around that.

To learn 1000 lines in GLM means to entirely distil them away. This cannot actually be done in six weeks as you can do a maximum of two distillations in that time. So instead you have to apply the long-term run rate which is 3 line repetitions on average per line of Headlist, because a 1000 line Headlist will distil out at somthing like this:

H = 1000,
D1 = 680,
D2 = 460,
D3 = 310
Bronze total 2,450
D4 = 175,
D5 = 125,
D6 = 90
D7 = 60
Silver Total 450
D8 = 40
D9 = 25
D10 = 15
D11 = 10
Gold Total 100
Grand total 3,000

3000/1000 = 3

It will vary from maybe 2.6 to 3.4 but in the main it will be around 3.

So to learn 1000 lines to the long term memory you need to do 3,000 lines in those 3 weeks.

That will be the equivalent of learning 1000 words, but you won’t necessarily know which of them they are. It won’t be a question of guaranteeing that all the words in a list of 1000 are in long-term memory, instead it is a question of following a long-term run rate.

So, how 3000 lines in 6 weeks is 500 lines a week.

That’s the same as the 5,000 level target on the 70 day challenges.

So effectively what Metivier is doing and what we are doing is a very similar result.

In our case, it should be possible using an average of 1.5 hours per day.

What is more interesting is to see which method gives the best passive recall two years after the six weeks in question are over.




About David J. James

55 year old fat white male privileged accountant who loves languages, literature, history, religion, politics, internet, vlogging and blogging and lively written discussion. Conservative Christian, married to an angel with advanced Multiple Sclerosis. We have three kids, two of them autistic, and we live in Warsaw, Poland.

Posted on 19/03/2019, in Gold List Methodology, Learning Japanese and Chinese and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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