I personally find Chinese-to-English word flashcards generally ineffective for learning Chinese, and I attribute this to words having different (a) collocations, (b) parts of speech, (c) suitable contexts, (d) additional definitions, and (e) corresponding grammar (e.g. prepositions), in English and Chinese. I feel like such flashcards would be more effective for words which are largely identical in both languages, and especially cognates (of which there are almost none between English and Chinese). This makes me wonder...

Question: Are Asian-language-to-English word flashcards less effective than European-language-to-English word flashcards?

I'm wondering if there's research on this topic, such as a survey of how effective students find this method.

Here, since flashcards can be made in a wide variety of ways, I'm asking specifically about flashcards with one side containing a word in some language, and the other side containing an English equivalent. (But if you know of research in the same ballpark, please contribute an answer.)

  • I think this question is unanswerable and would be based on opinions only. And I see no reason for there to be research on this. How would you "prove it"? Flashcards are basically dictionary based or based on the writer's knowledge of a language. And I would imagine that cognates between Chinese and English would not be so important at first.
    – Lambie
    Feb 27 at 17:00
  • If you broaden this to "active recall" vs. "passive recall" you might find research results. See e.g. the research cited in this article: osmosis.org/blog/2022/02/21/…
    – Brandin
    Mar 23 at 8:51


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