30 Days of SRS Collector

17 Nov 2013

I was the first guinea pig for SRS Collector, and as of today I've been using it for 30 days. In this time, I've seen nearly 450 new cards in SRS Collector, using sentences from four books and various websites. I've spent approximately 8 hours doing Anki reviews:

All in all, it's been a pleasant experience: Reading books, adding definitions with SRS Collector afterwards, and reviewing interesting snippets in Anki.

What I didn't expect: the results

At my level, I don't expect learning new vocabulary to make a big difference. After my first 10,000 pages, I read French books with better than 99.5% comprehension. So any given new word is going to be pretty rare, and I shouldn't expect to encounter it all that often. Right?

Well, I spent the last two days in Quebec, and I'm finding my new vocabulary everywhere. For example, here's one of my cards from this past month:

Olf était un homme trapu, aux cheveux ras, à la moustache drue. Ses yeux bleus lui donnaient l’air – du moins l’espérait-il – d’un Woltanien de souche, compensant quelque peu l’accent des Communes qu’il n’avait jamais perdu.

de souche = Qui appartient à un groupe national donné depuis de nombreuses générations, au point de ne plus tenir compte d’éventuels ascendants immigrants.

une souche =

Here, souche means "stump", and de la souche literally means "of the stump." But idiomatically, it means somebody who's lived somewhere so long that they no longer know when their ancestors arrived. This seems like a rather obscure idiom, but when I was driving into Montreal, I saw the following billboard:

So that's pretty cool: Thanks to SRS Collector, I'm understanding random billboards even before I get out of the car!

Satuday's misadventure

On Satuday, unfortunately, I had to visit the hospital after a nasty electric shock (don't worry; I'm fine). And the doctor, speaking with a thick Quebec accent, said Je vais vous ausculter, "I'm going to examine you." Now, ausculter is not an especially common word, and it doesn't get any easier to understand with the lovely Quebecois dipthongs.

But I remembered this cloze card in my queue, which had ausculter as a secondary bit of vocabulary:

Aujourd'hui, je me retrouve aux urgences. Je patiente depuis déjà 3 heures quand le médecin qui m'ausculte me dit : "Je peux me moquer de vous ?" et explose de rire. En effet, je me suis fait une entorse au doigt en applaudissant à un concert. VDM
Distension violente et douloureuse des ligaments, et en général des parties molles qui entourent une articulation.

ausculter = (Médecine) Écouter, en y appliquant l’oreille, les bruits qui se produisent dans la poitrine, le cœur ou les vaisseaux.
(Figuré) Examiner avec soin.

SRS Collector: Making hospital visits in foreign countries less stressful since yesterday.

And while I was waiting to be seen, I read my ebook of La main gauche de la nuit, and I found well over a dozen words I'd learned using SRS Collector this month. And there have been plenty more of my new words in conversations all weekend.

What next

This experience has convinced me that SRS Collector is genuinely useful even for relatively advanced students. So it's time to fix a few more annoying bugs, and roll this out to a larger group of testers.