MCD Flashcards For The Win

Lately, I’ve been converting my existing flashcards on Anki from basic flashcards (sentence or word on one side, translation on the other) into “MCD” cards. The idea for MCD was promoted by Khatzumoto at AJATT in this series of posts. The idea, as I understand it, is to test on parts of a sentence. One sentence can have 4 or 5 flash cards, one for each part of the sentence.

Lately, when I learn a new word in Japanese or Korean, i use an online dictionary (Goo for Japanese, Naver for Korean) to get an example sentence. I don’t want to make up my own sentence. I want to use sentences made by native speakers.

Then, I start making cards for each part of speech in the sentence. So for this sentence, 服の裏まで雨が染みとおる, I would break it up into 服の裏まで, 雨が, 染みとおる. So, I can make three cards. Here’s an example flashcard I made:


Here, I focused just on the particle が (ga). This is to help me remember that が goes with the verb 染みとおる (shimitooru) meaning to soak through.

Here’s another example from another card, another sentence:


This sentence has many parts of speech, so I can make many cards just from this one sentence. Here, I’m focusing on the verb 夜更かしする (yofukashisuru) meaning to stay up late.

The MCD method is much more helpful to me, because I’m learning new vocabulary and new grammar in context. When I was studying for the JLPT, I learned a lot of grammar and vocabulary but I learned it out of context, so in real life I often used it wrong. My words were too stiff, incorrect, etc. I still do this. But using the MCD method of making flashcards, I am slowly fixing this, and learning new words and grammar.

So, when reading Japanese manga, or Korean Twitter posts from Kpop people, I keep an eye out for new sentences to add to my MCD collection.

But what about my old cards? I am slowly converting or deleting them. If I still want to learn that word, I find example sentences and make MCD cards instead. If I really don’t need that word anymore, I delete it.

Sipmle as that. I’ve almost finished converting both my Japanese and Korean decks, so I hope to have just MCD cards only soon.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

2 thoughts on “MCD Flashcards For The Win”

  1. Oh, I like this idea. I’ve made my own approach with words and phrases in European languages. Somewhat like what you describe, I chose from among native words and phrases I heard, as well as comic books and popular press. I didn’t, however, split a sentence in quite the same way, and it sounds like an exciting method.
    Well, the best (and most exciting) method for me has been to spend time in the country, and being willing to keep trying even while making mistakes.
    Thanks for the ideas.
    For The Win!


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