Learn Any Language

The 10000 Sentences method of language learning is similar to an assimilation-based learning program -- armed with enough Comprehensible Input you get the feel for what is "correct." You assimilate enough sentence patterns and vocabulary to be able to produce new, original content. This method was popularized by All Japanese All the Time (AJATT). The idea of sentence-based assimilation was described extensively by Antimoon.

The Idea[]

The idea is to choose 10000 sentences in your target language and learn them sufficiently. According to AJATT, you've "learned" a sentence when you:

  • Read it in full, aloud, in its native script
  • Know the meaning of every word in the sentence
  • Write (copy) out the sentence by hand in its native script

The sentences should be learned without translation and without rote memorization. You will end up "memorizing" the sentences merely through repetition, but your goal should be understanding, not memorization.

The Method[]

Choose 10000 sentences. These sentences should be from a variety of sources: example sentences from dictionaries, movies, books, and podcasts. The sentences should also reflect your personal daily life to make them more meaningful to you: i.e., things you yourself want/need to be able to say. Load these sentences into your SRS and start processing them. This entire process (entering and learning the sentences) is estimated to take about 18 months.

The Relationship Between SRS and "Input"[]

The folks at Antimoon and AJATT originally combined this technique with massive amounts of input:

How much input did I get? It took me about 3 years to get from basic English skills to fluency. During those 3 years, I was exposed to about 1,000,000 English sentences (not necessarily different sentences). About 400,000 of these were written sentences (books, SRS reviews, dictionaries, classroom reading); 600,000 were spoken sentences (TV, recordings, listening to teachers, listening to my American cousin, classroom listening). —Antimoon
So, there you are. You’ve been mining your sentences diligently, but you still have trouble even following a conversation let alone participating, right? Maybe you still can’t follow your favorite anime. Right. OK, I have a question for you. How much Japanese are you listening to? Whatever your answer is, I can guarantee you that it hasn’t been enough for long enough yet. Which is why I suggest you: Listen to 10,000 hours of Japanese over the next 18 months.Khatzumoto at AJATT

However, in the initial enthusiasm for 10,000 sentences, a number of people focused on reviewing sentences in their SRS software, and paid less attention to reading and listening. In some cases, people appear to have picked most of their sentences from grammar books and third-party decks of SRS cards. The results of this "pure" method were sometimes disappointing.

Note that Khatzumoto now prefers Massive-Context Cloze Deletion, which uses a different kind of sentence card.

Further Reading[]

Antimoon's page on making sentence-based flash card items, along with some example sentences. There is also a page AJATT.