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Massive-Context Cloze Deletion

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A Massive-Context Clozed Deletion cards (shortened to MCD) is basically a paragraph in the target language cut-and-pasted into a flash card program (like Anki). Multiple words in the paragraph are "clozed", i.e. they are hidden so you'll have to guess their meaning. The term was popularized by the All Japanese All The Time blog.

MCDs encourage learners to read native materials in the target language. The problem with native materials is that a word or phrase often appears once, but not again later on, so you'll quickly forget its meaning. With MCDs, you read native materials with the benefit of repetition.

As native materials are required, MCDs work best for intermediate learners (although mini or micro-MCDs are also possible, and you can even use MCDs to practice grammar).

How to create MCDsEdit

  1. You can get started by downloading and installing Anki.
  2. Start a deck and press A to open the "add cards" dialog.
  3. Press CTRL+N, choose the note type "Cloze" and press "Choose".
  4. Copy and paste a native paragraph in the "Text" field (e.g. from a book, news article or film subtitles).
  5. Select a word you want to learn and press CTRL+Shift+C. Do this for each word you want to learn.
  6. Copy and paste anything you need for understanding the text in the "Extra" field. This can be dictionary meanings of the words (preferably using a dictionary in your target language), example sentences of the words in question, grammar notes, etc.
  7. Press Add and all the cards will be created.

Make sure you do not read the full paragraph every time you do SRS reps. Only read the sentence that contains the hidden word. You can gaze over the rest of the paragraph to understand the context the sentence is in. You have a correct answer if you:

  • Guessed the hidden word correctly.
  • Read the sentence in full, aloud, in its native script.
  • Know the meaning of every word in the sentence.
  • Understand the meaning of the entire sentence.
  • Write (copy) out the sentence by hand in its native script (mostly for languages using a non-Latin script).

Pros and cons of MCDsEdit

  • Instead of just recognition (like the 10000 Sentences method), you'll have to actively produce the meaning of words.
  • Words are learnt in context, even more so than random sentences.
  • It is fun to do, because the native materials you read should appeal to you. For example, if you like Harry Potter, go read Harry Potter in your target language and make MCDs. This way you'll re-read fun paragraphs while doing SRS reps.

A disadvantage is that sometimes a word cannot be guessed from context. If a card is not fun or you get it repeatedly wrong, do not hesitate to delete it.

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