There's NOTHING fast about your system.

Gabriel, I was really onboard with your system. Right up until the point where it basically says (if I may paraphrase) "Begin by making circa-2,000 flashcards, pulling info and files from this 625 list, a book or a translation website, google images, an audio recording site, and an IPA wiki for each individual card you make." I can honestly say that if someone gave me choice of having a finger chopped off with a cleaver, or sitting down to make thousands upon thousands of these cards, it would be a really tough call. I'd go utterly insane long before I'd finished making cards like this. Can you recommend any other language learning system that doesn't involve this kind of masochistic torture? I don't mind putting hours in. But this is too much. Thanks, Nerph.

* Originally posted by Nerph Game.

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  • Hi Nerph,

    I was thinking the same thing! But I do like Gabriel's methodology though. I read the book and decided to give it a try. I went about the methodology slightly different though. So Gabriel suggested using Anki, however, as you said that would take a long time to gather images sounds and putting them all together in Anki.

    So to create my flashcards, I decided to use What I like about

    1. You don't have to go searching for your own audio. Quizlet automatically generates audio for 18 different languages. I believe the recordings are text to speech, probably similar to Google Translate, but for me, the pronunciations are good enough. I'm studying Polish - I'm married to a Polish woman - I asked her to verify the pronunciation on Quizlet and she's ok with it.

    2. Quizlet also has images. You don't have to search for your own images outside of the system. So for a simple word like, Ciężarowka, which is the Polish word for Truck, Quizlet was able to provide many images. Some images I had to search for, but doing so and uploading them to was easy.

    3. For me was less clunkly and more intuitive to work with than Anki. I may not be able to do every Anki does, but the basics, I believe are covered.

    I'm adopting Gabriel's Phase 2: Simple Words – Picture Word Cards to Quizlet. I'll do the same for Phase 3: Abstract Words and Grammar. For me it's a time saver.

    The question i've been asking myself though, is whether or not i need to do the entire 625 words?! I think I've seen this question answered on the forum, which suggest that you don't have to do the entire 625, because to be honest, some words just don't lend themselves to simple images. While some words like daughter, girl, sister, will provide similar images.

    Anyway, I'm going through the forum postings and instructions to see what others have done about this. Hopefully, Quizlet can be helpful to others as it is to me. Oh, a side note: I originally went with Quizlet because I was using an iPhone app named Flashcard Deluxe that works with I didn't want to buy the Anki iPhone app because it cost $24. However, in order to use the advanced features of you'll need to purchase Quizlet plus. For $15 a year you can upload images and record your own voice on your study sets, choose from 50 additional profile images, create unlimited classes, and study on Quizlet without ads.

    * Originally posted by dwayne76.
  • OMG, thank you.

    This is so much easier.

    Less flexible, granted. But at least I won't be going apoplectic like a scene out of the old Ren and Stimpy cartoons when I have to create 3 of each image card, can't always find IPA, can't always find recorded sounds and can find no solace in the fact that I still have 1,746 to go.

    * Originally posted by Nerph Game.
  • Quick question, did you use Gabe's card types/multi-search?

    Also you probably could have made the process quicker using excel to import into anki & copy-pasting from your browser.

    * Originally posted by timmyturner93.
  • I'm not sure what you mean. But it sounds interesting. Could you explain in little more detail please?


    * Originally posted by Nerph Game.
  • In terms of Gabe's card types; you only make one card for each word from the list and anki creates multiple.

    Multi-search is where you input the word you're looking for and you're browser does the legwork and finds you a picture in Google, a sound file and looks for an IPA. If a sound file or IPA isn't available I don't really mind due to having the AwesomeTTS add-on. (Gabe made a video demonstrating this)

    With excel I listed everything in separate columns according to how it would be mapped when added to anki. then all I had to do once imported was quickly copy and paste a picture and download a sound file which all-in-all take about 10 seconds with multi-search. gives somewhat detailed explanation of the whole process, you just need to adjust it for you're needs.

    If you need more clarification I can do a step-by-step for you using screenshots.

    * Originally posted by timmyturner93.
  • I have tried many methods and am just starting with this one. I'm on board with it, and it seems very promising. Prior to this, the best I have used is the Pimsleur system. In particular, I went through the entire German series (4 courses), which I think amounted to 50 hours of audio training (listening to the recordings roughly twice each day, so roughly 100 hours total). The positives are you develop a very close to native accent (because they recommend you mostly imitate audio only without learning the spelling) and you can listen while you are doing other things (I listened driving to and from work every day). After completing all four courses, I went to Germany and Austria and was somewhat functional when communicating with those who spoke no English. In addition, native speakers told me my pronunciation (ie, my accent) was very close to native. The drawbacks are the courses are expensive (but many courses can be found at your local library), your vocabulary isn't very robust at the end, and you really don't know how to progress after completing these courses.

    What attracts me to this method is hopefully it will take me to the next level from a vocabulary standpoint and help me get into reading and writing as well. I intend to continue using Pimsleur to learn other languages in conjunction with this system, assuming this system delivers on its promises.

    * Originally posted by Del.
  • Hi Nerph Game
    Hopefully a helpful take on your frustration and others feeling similarly
    I appreciate it seems like a LOT of work. You are right, it is. it's not fast.
    But when Gabe suggests one year to fluency - that's pretty amazing. It's a really deeply imbedded integrated fluency. How cool is that?

    Thing is, ALL languages take a big personal investement. And it's not the ultimate goal of fluency but the journey along the way that is important. And especially as far as the actual learning goes - it's the journey of learning
    Gabes system is path oriented not necessarily goal oriented. Which is great!
    I think what is unique about Gabes system is the ratio of a lower investement versus a higher return.
    So 1. 100 hours of investement with another system will offer far less reward than the equal time with what Gabe is offering us
    2. The journey really is the thing - the actual making of the flashcards IS the education. So, if it takes you actually 50 hours to make the cards, you'll already potentially be further ahead even before you actually starting learning them - compared to someone else investing 50 hours with another system.
    I think these hypothetical figures i am suggesting with Gabes system are also exponential because the method is so effective. So lets say you are 2 times ahead of someone else, by mere virtuing of making flashcards. Having actually made the flashcards, another 100 hours later you may be 5 times ahead of someone else having invested 100 hours
    I would also suggest that cutting corners may be easier and more comfortable in the short term but simply offer you a much poorer return or reward later on

    I know it seems like a lot of flashcards. break it down into smaller numbers! Perhaps working out a plan eg do two a day no matter what. Then calculate it will take you eg 6 months to do them. Now, of course you will feel impatient and not want to wait that long. You will obviously do more than two a day. You may end up doing 50 on one day. Then only 1 a day for a few days. None a day for a few days. But you are plotting your progress and can see that those 50 have jumped you ahead of your initial 6 month projection. Just little by little - but if you track your progress that huge mountain will be reduced to something extremely manageable. Stay relaxed and try to enjoy it - thats definitely far more helpful
    If theres someone else you know that wants to learn a language, go through the process together (individually obviously) but if you have a buddy it will also be much easier. Back each other up, offer encouragement, report back on progress.
    People do this with exercise programs. Obviously it's invididual and you still have to do the work but when its not lonely its much easier
    hope that helps
    Hope you can hang in there

    * Originally posted by Meher Baba.
  • Dwayne76, I study flashcards on an iPhone. When you study the cards you have for which Quizlet automatically provided the audio, are you studying on a desktop or mobile device. If mobile, which flashcard app do you use? Anki?

    I was successful in getting Quizlet to automatically provide audio to my cards, but when I imported the cards into Mental Case, the audio was not retained. This was not a problem when I imported cards from But now Cram has stopped allowing the cards to be imported by apps other than their own (which is lacking as an app). So I don't know if it is a Mental Case problem or a Quizlet problem. If I can find another mobile app that successfully imports the audio portion of Quizlet cards I'll try that app out. If anyone has had success in this respect with a mobile app, please post.


    * Originally posted by zeppo.
  • Hi Zeppo,

    I use Flashcards Deluxe, a mobile app. A Google search will bring it up for you. It's available for Android and IOS. I experienced the issue you had as well. However, in Flashcards Deluxe it's a simple fix to have the app re-download the sounds. Hope this helps.


    * Originally posted by dwayne76.
  • Thanks, Dwayne

    I saw a youtube video demonstrating what you are talking about. So I'll probably check out that app (I'm also hoping there is a chance Mental Case will fix the issue.) If anyone knows of any others that do this, please post, since there may be advantages of one app over another worth considering (navigation differences, etc).

    I also saw where Quizlet, like Cram, had in the past also chosen to stop letting outside apps import cards from the Quizlet site. Thankfully, the reversed the decision soon after. But it certainly leads me to believe we won't be able to count on being able to do this forever, and may, like Cram, be forced to use an inferior, proprietary Quizlet flashcard app to use Quizlet cards. So I hope to load up as many card sets as I can when I have the time.

    I noticed one app, either Flashcards or Flashcards Deluxe even has the option for multiple audio. It would be awesome if there was a way to automatically load both male and female Spanish voices (or just two different voices.) I will look into that.

    * Originally posted by zeppo.
  • Hi Zeppo, In Flashcards Deluxe, the only language I see with male and female voice options is English.

    * Originally posted by dwayne76.
  • Hi everyon

    I really agree with the premise of this thread. Making the cards takes way too long. I disagree with the idea that making the cards teaches you much. I have been using the method and making good cards is painfully slow. I originally started with a shared file on Anki that had 1100 common words with mostly good pictures, but no sound files. I added all the sound files from Forvo and changed a few pictures that just did not work for me. I studied those 1100 words and am just doing the reviews. This worked great. I put that deck as a shared deck on Anki so that a friend could use it. The deck I got originally and my deck disappeared. I would guess because when you get pictures off of google images there is going to be a concern that some of them must be copywrited material. I am making cards for the 5000 words on the recommended frequency list for Spanish, but it is an incredible slow process. I believe the solution for this would be crowd-sourcing. I think that individuals studying a particular language should be able to get together and pool flash cards that could be combined into a huge Anki deck that everyone could use. If you had 500 people each sign up to make 10 cards -- 1 to 10 on the frequency list, 11-20, 21-30, etc. you would then quickly have the most frequent 5000 words to assemble into an Anki deck. You could then modify or personalize any of the cards that did not convey the word for you -- thus adding the personalized touches Gabriel advocates without the drudgery of creating every card for every simple word. Most of the pictures I got of the shared deck worked great for me without any changes. Gabriel may make them in 6 seconds each, but to make 100 good cards takes me a lot of hours. I currently have about 900. I think studying cards is way more beneficial than making cards. At the current rate, it will take me a year or two to make 5000 cards. Since I want to eventually have at least a 10,000 to 15,000 word vocabulary, I would be spending three to six years just making the cards. Seems pretty silly to me to have all of us working on our own duplicating the same task. I think Gabriel is putting way too much emphasis on individualized cards and that there is a better way to do this.

    * Originally posted by Alejandro52.
  • There is not zero value in making one’s own cards, and there is the added advantage of using an image that personally aids recollection. However, I agree that the process does become too time-consuming (I can sort-of afford this because I’m retired, but most people don’t have any spare time), and that the main benefit comes from the use of Anki over time, not the actual card-making.

    On the other hand, there’s no use trying to go too quickly. We’re just kidding ourselves if we think we can simply suck in the contents of several hundred cards in quick succession. The process takes time, and the (slow) pace of card-making automatically puts a brake on the learning and review speed. I did quite a lot of work with Memrise (in another language) and got through their cards at a great rate, seemingly with a high level of success. But after stopping, I’ve found that I can recall very little, even though the language (Italian) was one I had some passing familiarity with – unlike my current exercise with Mandarin Chinese. I’m sure I could zap through vast numbers of Mandarin cards using Memrise or something similar, but am prepared to bet that the results would be disappointing at least, in the longer term.

    Elsewhere, @Hacksaw has an interesting idea of creating a story from each page of the Mandarin 625-word list. But to me that presupposes an already mature understanding of the language, something I do not possess.

    So, how to progress quickly enough, but maybe not too quickly in generating one’s own cards? Certainly the Word List helps for those who do not have too much of a language to start with. I’m led to understand that the final version also includes audio clips, but have yet to verify this for Mandarin, which remains in beta. Presumably also, if all the information in the word list is made available in Excel, then all these data can be sucked into Anki, and one can then individualise the resulting deck, as suggested by @Alejandro52. The other idea he raises of crowd-sourcing the project also has merit, although I’m not sure a quantum of 10 cards would be of much use to many. Personally, I’d love to find a community of, say, ten like-minded people at a similar level for my language, and work to make several hundred cards each, as well as being able to communicate effectively with each other, maybe via some sort of sub-forum.

    * Originally posted by Lance.
  • I have been using Gabe's system for about 4 months now. Have built some 700 word cards or so using his 625 word list (French) and adding now to it with my Frequency Dictionary. I find that augmenting my Anki card study with DuoLingo is very helpful. From the get go, DuoLingo has you learning sentence structure, phrases and grammar rules. DuoLingo is helped by my study using Anki and Anki study is helped by DuoLingo. When making cards, I find that frequently now I come across a word that I've already learned in DuoLingo, so I don't make a card for it. I use DuoLingo a bit like Anki, in that I go back and repeat lessons to refresh.

    So, just some personal experience as I continue on the journey.

    * Originally posted by tmikeporter.
  • Hi Timmyturner93
    hi would appreciate more details on the excel approach.
    I am studying German, I have the 625 words in the Qwesome Wordlist pdf file
    I can extract them in an excel file easily.
    Then I have the 625 mp3 files
    I am missing the procedure to speed up the upload phase, I cannot see how to use excel properly.
    thanks in advance

    * Originally posted by asterix71.
  • I already had the PDF version of the wordlist but if there is a way to take them from PDF into excel thats awesome. (perhaps you could tell me for when I start my next language).

    Instead of going into a long post I'm going to link you some sites where all the information I used is with clear instructions.

    any problems message me back

    * Originally posted by timmyturner93.
  • This seems like a place to remind people of Gabe's post on Hacking Fluent Forever:

    Also, Alejandro52 mentioned shared decks. I don't know of a crowdsourced deck or a way of organizing such a project; it seems like a good idea. But for those who haven't explored shared decks, just go to the bottom of the Decks window in Anki and click "Get Shared" or in your web browser go to

     I'm getting a lot of use out of a shared deck of 625 Spanish words. I've modified the card form to be Gabe's "2. Syntax and other stuff + definitions" instead of the simple picture cards that it started as. Many of the cards I just leave as they are, because I don't need more than the pictures and sounds. When I need more help with a card, I modify it. 


  • This is an old thread, but it's an important question so I'll add a quick note which hasn't been mentioned yet:

    Don't create all of these vocabulary cards at once.  Create them as you need them (that is, when your queue of new cards is empty).

    There are several reasons for this:

    • it's a huge hassle to create them, as mentioned.
    • anki is not for learning, it's for reviewing.  If you create the cards before you learn them (where "learn" here means "become familiar with, find the images for it, maybe form a simple sentence"), you're potentially trying to skip the "learn" phase
    • you don't _need_ to have a huge backlog of cards to work through!  You just need enough to keep going.
    • your method of making cards will mature and become more refined, more personal, as you create them.  If you create thousands of cards at the outset, you may potentially create many low-quality cards (low-quality from your perspective, that is).

    I've gone through the "starting up" phase in Anki several times -- for languages, technical courses, etc -- and every time that I've created a huge vocab list, it's been a waste of effort.

    Cheers! jz


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