Get off the computer!

Two months ago I wrote about the difficulty in selecting a small and efficient vocabulary for my MCI Chinese textbook and software (The Missing Link). The question was how to precisely determine which characters should be in the first book. I already have many frequency studies which I’ve conducted and also some ones in books like 6000 Chinese Characters (an excellent book – by James Erwin Dew). But something was missing – I hadn’t yet convinced myself that the most common 200 or 250 characters from the frequency study were the best ones to use.

I had gone so far as to think about writing software which would let me drag chinese characters around from pile to pile visually. Then it stuck me. “What is it exactly that I am doing?” I was playing with flashcards.

Gee, it’s so simple, I never would have imagined you don’t need a computer to do it.

I guess it’s time to take a break from the computer, and spend some time with my flashcards. While I’m at it, I might as well spend some time with my family – after all, it’s New Years.

Happy new year!

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