Thoughts for serious language learners
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Would you let your mom learn from this?

question: a movable panel (flat piece of wood) for closing off an entrance; answer: door

This is a typical item from the free Basic English collection at, which is supposed to teach elementary English vocabulary to beginners. Unfortunately, I lack the wordpower to describe the stupidity of expecting someone who doesn’t know the word door to understand that definition.

To be fair, SuperMemo does offer the same collection in several language versions (for a monthly subscription fee), in which the complicated English definitions are replaced with Polish, German, etc. translations. Still, the purpose of providing a free version that is clearly unusable is something I can’t figure out.


4 Comments so far ↓

  • anonim

    Anki and Mnemosyne are so much better for creating own database with sound then SM. I wouldn’t recommend SM for the worst enemy and I would like to remind that Anki and Mnemosyne are completely for free!

    • Tom

      Could you write a bit more about how you’re adding sound to your English items? Where do you get the audio?

      EDIT: You can write about your experiences on this Ask Antimoon page.

      • nukemarine

        Likely he’s using audio from: Subs2srs (program that turns TV shows with subtitles into audio/visual flashcards), (a so-so SRS site, but has a huge collection of items for learning many languages especially English), or just found an audio cache from an online dictionary.

        To be honest about your article, if one’s language level is low then I see no problem with using your primary language to help define a word. As you improve, call up an English dictionary more often.

  • Fern

    Hell, I’m a native speaker and I had to think twice about what that definition was talking about.

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