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Grandma and Ana.jpg

This is the third article in a series. The first article is called The Perfect Method for selecting words to learn. As the name suggests, this article named and discussed the Perfect method for selecting words to learn. Though perfect, a shortcoming of the method is that is an Impossible method.


The second article is called A Good Method for selecting words to learn. This article discussed the Good method. Unlike the Perfect method, the Good method is a possible method. You could actually use it! That said, you are a demanding person and you are not happy with it. It has a problem. The problem is that it is not personal enough. You want something more personal to you and your circumstances. That is what this article is about. Let’s begin with a Q and A:

Question: Why are you looking for the best method for selecting words to learn?


Answer:  You want to identify the words that will best equip you for the environment you will use the language in.


If you are learning Spanish so you can talk to your grandmother in Mexico who only speaks Spanish, your goal is to identify the words that equip you the best for having grandchild – grandmother conversations. A better method than the Good method needs to be customised to you and your environment/situation. This being the case, I will show you what the Better method is using a specific example.



Ana is an Australian with a grandmother who lives in Mexico. Ana wants to learn Spanish so she can converse with her grandmother. As discussed in the last article, a good way for Ana to identify words to learn is to use a collection/dataset of Spanish speech. She could arrange the unique words in the dataset from most common to least common and then focus on learning the most common words first. That is a good method, now for the Better method.

The Better method involves a better dataset. It involves a customised dataset. 


Ana has a sister called Canella. Ana can use Canella to create a better dataset. All she has to do is send Canella to Mexico with a recording device. Canella can interact with her grandmother, recording everything they talk about, then, at the end of the trip, give the recordings to Ana. Ana can then analyse the recordings and identify the most useful words for her to learn. 


The Better method is better because it is highly customised to Ana’s situation. Words to learn are identified using a dataset of interactions between her grandmother and someone very similar to her, all in an environment most similar to the one Ana will be in.


At this point you are wondering, if that’s the Better method, what does the Best method look like?


Well, that’s an article for another day.

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