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Making Flashcards for Wheelock Vocabulary

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 3:27 pm
by TonyT
Salvete Omnes,

Well at the ripe old age of 37 I've decided to undertake a long-held ambition of learning Latin and I've decided to use the Wheelock text to guide me in my efforts.

I've just written a program to generate flashcards to assist me in my vocabulary aquisition but I'm a little uncertain whether some of the text should be placed on the front or back of the card. Take the following vocabulary entries from Wheelock:

nomen, nominis, n., name
Should the gender identification "n." be with the Latin or with the English translation on the reverse side?

in, prep. + acc., into, toward, against
Which side should the "prep. + acc." phrase be, with the Latin or English?

enim, postpositive conj., for, in fact, truly
Same question again but this time for the "postpositive conj."

Any other hints for flashcard usage?

Many thanks,

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 5:19 pm
by Deses
Best if luck!

Have a look at these flashcards:

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:05 pm
by jjhayes84
I struggled with the same issue back when I made vocab cards, but in the end I decided to put all the dictionary entry on one side, and only the english meaning on the other side. This way, when you go through them backwards (English to Latin) you have to say what gender/case etc. the word is associated with.

In the end, the best way to do it is however you think is best.

I hope that helps.

If you're on a Mac, I highly recommend iFlash. All of Wheeklock's latin vocab is in the flash-card library of that program.

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:06 pm
by edonnelly
I like to make two sets of cards.

I like to have one side of the card have just minimal information (this is the side that I will test myself from). For example, it might say "To Touch" if I wanted to test English to Latin. That way I test if I know the word, but also if I know the principal parts. If you look at the sample card on the "Official Wheelock's Site" (linked to above) you'll see that they add extra information (like including "tangent" on the English side of the card). I don't want that, because it's too much of a clue and gives away the word. Then, on my Latin side, I would have the principal parts and whatever else I might like to know (maybe the word "tangent").

Of course the problem is that I then have too much information on the Latin side, so that's why the second set is needed. On those I will put a minimum amount of information (maybe just the infinitive form) on the Latin side and use them to test Latin to English. That will allow me to test for both the English definition but also the principal parts again (and for nouns things like gender, for prepositions things like what case it takes, etc). It's really not any extra work if you're doing it on the computer in the first place.

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:16 pm
by Sanskrit
I have tried to work with flashcards. I don't like to have small pieces of paper around me and I am too lazy to cut flashcards. It's more convienent to take one sheet of paper and fold in two vertical halves. You can write a list of words on one side and the translations on the other side. Easy. 8)

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:23 pm
by edonnelly
Sanskrit wrote:It's more convienent to take one sheet of paper and fold in two vertical halves. You can write a list of words on one side and the translations on the other side. Easy. 8)
But the advantage of the cards is that you can reuse them and change the order (randomly) in which the cards are presented.

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:29 pm
by Sanskrit
It's going to be an awful job to prepare flashcards when you have an awful lot of words to learn in a short time. How do you make your flashcards on the computer?

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:52 pm
by bellum paxque
I have a useful, easy, and free flashcard program on my computer. Anyone interested, please send me a private message.


Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:18 pm
by Sanskrit
I have send you a private message. :wink:

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:25 pm
by TonyT
Thanks for the replies everyone.

For my flashcards I'm using the LaTeX document preparation system and I'm getting some lovely results. Here's a sample in a pdf file: Here's a PDF sample.

While I agree that it may seem a lot of work to make flashcards I've actually managed to greatly simplify it. The problem often is that when Latin stress accents and macrons are needed they can be quite tedious to enter. I've solved this by having a separate flashcard file with very simple notation for each card, including symbols, which is then passed to my flashcard generation code to do all the donkey work.

Any sourcefile with Latin words can also be used so I can have flashcards for multiple texts. Also the code is flexible enough so that I can enable or disable macrons, titles, card numbers, etc. at a moments notice according to how I want to print the cards and study the words.

Writing the code was easy, it's the deciding what to include and exclude for the Latin and English which has been my main dilemma!