Multiple meanings or words, how to make them link up...

Some words have multiple correct answers. I am not sure how to highlight this. For example in Introduction to Spanish the question can be la pregunta or la cuestión. When asked to type the answer in Spanish I have no way of knowing which word is needed. It is randome guess work, with a fifty fifty chance of success. Is there anyway to sort this out?

Posted by MissTalulah 8/10/12, last update 8/20/12 (2 years ago)
  • Yes, but there is ome dispute about the best method, and so the solution may take a while. Essentially there are two main ways of distinguishing the two questions.

    i) Include a different hint with each word - e.g pregunta could be 'question (p)' and cuestion could be 'question (c)'

    ii) Expand the definition ('question') so that the different shades of meaning are highlighted. I have no idea how easy that might be with pregunta and cuestion.

    Some users hate having hints included, others hate having long multiple word definitions. Compromise will be needed.

    Another solution is to merge the two words and allow either answer as correct. The problem with this is you might forget pregunta and only remember cuestion. And if there are shades of meaning, this obscures the differences.

    Curators and moderators are working on this and memrise is trying to impose some control on duplicates, which also causes confusion.

    Posted by revans 8/10/12 (2 years ago)
  • When you encounter this problem, leave a comment in the 'Discussion' tab in the dictionary entry for one of the words.This will help identify where changes are needed.

    Posted by revans 8/10/12 (2 years ago)
  • I usually set those cases as alternatives. So the user only keeps 1 word? Better than 0 word and a pile of anger :) Since the correct answer and hopefully the audio comes up on answering correctly (even if it's the alternative one typed in), repetition over time will fix it.

    Posted by ikenaiAndi 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • Isn't it possible to keep both words separately, but add the other possiblity as Spanish alternative for both of the words?

    Apart from that, when the English definition is exactly the same, the engine seems to accept both Spanish possibilies as correct, as least when typing. Not sure if this works 100%, but i experienced it often in other topics. Linking the words with alternatives might still be necessary for multiple choice.

    Apart from that, an interesting point for the wishlist would be: Every user can choose his favourite alternative definition (favourite mem already implemented) which is treated as main definition for him! Would solve multiplte issues and make memrise wiki entries much more flexible...

    Posted by azrael42 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • @azrael42: Yes, it is possible to include the Spanish alternatives in each copy of the word. But if it's a good idea to learn both Spanish answers, then that would not help you remember that there are two different possibilities. That leads on to the debate on hints, etc, which grigore was much exercised about in the Spanish forum.

    I think the system only accepts both answers if the two Spanish words are included in the same wiki entry.

    I like your idea of being able to choose favourite definitions for beginners wanting to simplify the learning process, but an advanced learner would want to be reminded of the wealth of alternatives.

    Posted by revans 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • I like the hint option, but even that doesn't always work very well, for example, with similar words like "frattanto" and "frattempo." Sometimes you can remember which word is the correct response by remembering which list it is on. Another option is to ignore the word that is the easiest or that you feel you've already mastered.

    Posted by l0rri 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • Revans-'Some users hate having hints included, others hate having long multiple word definitions. Compromise will be needed. '

    Maybe an 'all hints off' option?....long multiple definitions do seem to make learning more difficult

    Posted by tonyyyy 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • Yes, if hints could be separated from the 'native-language' definition, then you could have an option to switch hints off. It would be a cleaner solution than having things like 'question (p)' as an English definition. Thats where the hints are at present.

    Posted by revans 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • Personally, i don't like the (p) and (q) hint as long as the words are really 100% synonymous. The association with a certain course is a very short term solution, a word like pregunta will be used in numerous courses in the future.

    However, i already apply the suggestion by lOrri to ignore the easier word and just always answer the one you consider more difficult. If you remember only one (which is by definition the "easier" one), return an empty answer and repeat the word (ideally with vice versa links in the alternatives such that you can look up the other one by clicking 'more info').

    @revans I am 100% sure that you can answer in the SAT essential course for "easily persuaded" both gullible and credulous which are separate wiki entries and there is no visible link at all. First i thought, ok, that is one of the memrise standard courses, there's a hidden link, but it also seems to work with the courses i created myself and even when the words are not in the same course. The English definition just needs to 100% identical.

    As i said, i am not sure about about multiple choice, but at least for typing tests the issue is (probably) already solved by memrise.

    Posted by azrael42 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • @azrael42: In the SAT essential course there are, as you say, two separate wiki entries for 'easily persuaded'. The one where the target word is 'gullible' does not have 'credulous' as an alternative. But the one with 'credulous' does have 'gullible' as an alternative. So, overall, 50% of the time, either answer would work. If you tend to answer 'gullible' more often than 'credulous', then you'll get it right more more than 75% of the time, I think (and there's always an eager statistician lurking to set the record straight if I'm wrong!).

    Now, how can I easily persuade you of this?

    Posted by revans 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • I really don't like the hints in brackets. They make it so much easier. Remembering the first letter makes the rest of the word flow off the tongue.

    Adding Spanish (etc.) alternatives means that when memrise implements a better solution (ie. "Correct, but we were actually looking for something else") that word will still be accepted as correct. Not a good solution in the long run.

    For the time being, I would suggest just accepting that memrise is very flawed in this case, and beg the team to fix this problem. If it's really necessary, and possible change/add another definition to differentiate.

    Definitely don't merge them!!!

    Posted by Robodl95 8/11/12 (2 years ago)
  • azrael42-'Personally, i don't like the (p) and (q) hint as long as the words are really 100% synonymous.'

    Or even 90% perhaps ? I am not a purist, so if most native users in most situations would accept either , then so would I. Linguists and grammaticians might hate this, though!

    Posted by tonyyyy 8/12/12 (2 years ago)
  • What about putting in brackets after such a word (2 answers). That way the learner knows there are two things and can try to remember both of them if wanted, but has the option to only remember one of them. Only one answer would be typed in though...

    Posted by MissTalulah 8/12/12 (2 years ago)
  • I think this could only be done (see my last comment) if the words are exact synonyms. For words that have slight differences in the meaning maybe the difference should be explained in brackets.

    Posted by MissTalulah 8/12/12 (2 years ago)
  • Then again you could have the option to type in both options too.

    Posted by MissTalulah 8/12/12 (2 years ago)
  • In such a case, when the two are synonyms and I want to learn both of course, I do not use hint (p), I use hint (not question). If there is a difference, even slighter one, it is usually possible to write it in the definition. The risk of having too long definitions is there, but I can't see a better way, now.

    I am currently having a bit of trouble with the opposite than more answers to one definition. A word I want to learn has two or more possible definitions. They may be similar but still different enought for me to want to learn them. And I am a bit afraid the words could be accidentally merged or one would be wrongly considered duplicate etc. So, is there a way how to fix that? If I finally become the curator (as the most active course maker on the topic, I could), will it be just a matter of giving ok to both?

    Posted by Zirien 8/16/12 (2 years ago)
  • Sorry, if the second paragraph of the previous post looks stupid, I am not too experienced in course making, I've got lots to learn.

    Posted by Zirien 8/16/12 (2 years ago)
  • @revans: If two definitions are exactly the same, then either answer will be accepted. Found a post where Ben explains: http://www.memrise.com/thread/870611/

    I think it would be cool if Memrise adds a little popup that says something like "Great answer! Can you think of another possibility?" and then lets you enter the other synonym. They already have a popup like this for some languages like Japanese where you type kana when they wanted English or whatever.

    Posted by cacoethes 8/16/12 (2 years ago)
  • @cacoethes: Very interesting link - thank you!

    Now I'm going to say something heretical here - I'm not sure Ben is right about that. I can see how the software could have all the possible answers available, but if it does, why does it give you the audio for the word it's looking for, instead of the word in your answer? (could be because of the need to minimise audio download, but I'm not sure when that happens; or it could be a very clever trick spoilt by bad design . . .). Only one way to find out - test it. Will try to devise a simple foolproof test tomorrow and report back.

    Posted by revans 8/16/12 (2 years ago)
  • @cacoethes: Forgot to say - yes, would be really good if memrise could prompt you for the synonym it was looking for (without marking you down for the synonym)

    Posted by revans 8/16/12 (2 years ago)
  • @Zirien: Agreed, a hint like "(not question)" is preferable to "(p)".

    There are some difficulties with curation and moderation, where some curators/moderators adopt incompatible approaches. Only moderators can merge words, but sometimes one moderator will merge two words that another would not. The only real solution to that is very clear conventions for the wiki, but even then there will be disagreements from time to time.

    A moderator does have one intersting additional power - s/he can 'accept' an entry as 'moderated'. That makes it more difficult to change it. I think moderated words can only be changed by moderators. But moderators can 'unmoderate' words so an over-zealous moderator can still change and merge things that another moderator was hoping would remain unchanged. Nonetheless, if you have two entries for the same word, and they are both moderated, then it would be a ruthless and inconsiderate moderator who merged them without some discussion.

    Of course, if you are the only moderator for a wiki, this gives you good control! IkenaiAndi was the only moderator for japanisch, at least until recently, and from what I've read elsewhere it seems likely that you could be in the same position for your topic.

    Posted by revans 8/16/12 (2 years ago)
  • @cacoethes: I recant from my heresy!

    It seemed to me Ben might not have meant precisly what he wrote, but, no, after testing it out on a private two-word course, what he wrote is exactly right. If the 'English definition' is identical in two separate wiki entries, then when that 'English definition' comes up in a question, either of the two target language words is accepted.

    I still have the feeling that memrise 'knows' which answer it is expecting, as it seems always to play the audio for that, but I haven't been able to test that.

    But thank you again for finding that quote!

    Posted by revans 8/16/12 (2 years ago)
  • I'm still the moderator of Japanisch. neko-chan is curator of this topic. She can edit everything on every word, be it moderated or not.

    What only I can do is merge, and I only merge true duplicates - not homonyms or synonyms. When I encounter synonyms that are exchangeable, I set them as "kana alternatives", but even though Japanese is a language full of redundancies, this is not the case very often. Registers of speech, nuances, connotations differ in most cases, so what I do to make clear what it is memrise is looking for, I add descriptions, such as:

    どう - wie (weniger formell als いかが) (those are true synonyms, but different registers of speech) or ボール - Ball (Katakana) (these are true synonyms, but one is a loanword written in katakana) and so on.

    I will not add silly hints like the first letter. I add either a second definition, or a third, or a clarification in parenthesis. This has worked pretty well, and since it's learning we're here for, I don't really care about the aesthetic value of the cards.

    Cards have to deliver precise information in the quickest possible way IMHO, with precision taking priority over speed.

    Posted by ikenaiAndi 8/17/12 (2 years ago)
  • When I was just a curator for Spanish, there were quite a few words that I could not edit. I assumed this was because they were moderated, but looks as though I was wrong - it may just have been bugs, esp. with older words, as there are still words that I cannot edit even as a moderator. So let's assume that what applies to Japanisch also applies elsewhere - curators can edit any word in their wiki (except when they hit a bug).

    Posted by revans 8/17/12 (2 years ago)
  • Actually, this had been changed twice at some point. My reply above is a report of the current situation.

    Posted by ikenaiAndi 8/17/12 (2 years ago)
  • @revans >> "I still have the feeling that memrise 'knows' which answer it is expecting, as it seems always to play the audio for that, but I haven't been able to test that."

    Actually, after entering a correct answer (but not almost correct), you have 1-2 seconds to press the "down cursor" and you see the complete flashcard of the current word (even when you correctly entered a different synonymon). I do that every time, when i know that there are two synomymous answers for the same definitions. It seems that memrise automatically adds invisible alternative answers (vice versa) when identical definitions are created.

    Posted by azrael42 8/20/12 (2 years ago)