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One language deck to rule them all

Vincent Tan
2 min read

Cześć! So I’ve been using a spaced repetition system (SRS) app to help organise the new words or phrases I encountered. I’ve been resistant to the idea because the big hit polyglots seem to say immersion is the way to go.

Which I agree.

However, they probably never had to learn 8 languages at the same time (they’ll also say it’s a bad idea and so on and so forth). I don’t encounter repetitions of words in the same language often enough, let alone across multiple languages.

So I downloaded this Anki-like app and dumped all new words, phrases and sentences into the same deck. Yes, all in the same deck. I differentiate the languages by tags. So I would see a card in English with say the Italian tag. That means I’m to translate that English text into Italian.

“Why not have one deck for each language?”

I’m glad you asked. There will be preferred decks, or decks that don’t have that many words. There will be days when I feel like studying perhaps Spanish more. After a while, certain decks just don’t get enough love. That would defeat the purpose of creating the decks. So, I lump all the words into one deck. Less hassle.

So how are my adventures in languages recently?


północ (po-u-no-ch) meaning midnight. Interestingly, the Russian equivalent is полночь (po-l-no-ch)


Взаимно гарантированное уничтожение
meaning “mutually guaranteed destruction”. I was searching for a phrase with взаимно (meaning mutually) in it.

My tutor went over the lyrics of a song, titled My String (моя струна)

Моя струна
It's a cover by Alisa Supronova. The original song was sung by Вахид Аюбов (Vahid Ayubov).

The lyrics contained this phrase
Пусть безжалостна судьба
meaning “let fate be merciless (unrelenting)”


My tutor asked me about natural disasters in Singapore. I said we practically have none. Maybe a minor earthquake a long time ago. Then he taught me a few disaster words:
Terremoto, tsunami, tornado, uragano, tempesta, valanghe, inondazioni, allagamento
meaning earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, storm, avalanche, flood, flood (the last two refer to the same thing).

I can’t remember what triggered it, but I think my tutor mentioned the coliseum games and I replied with “Are you not entertained?”

And he wrote down the equivalent:
Non vi siete divertiti? Non siete qui per questo?


Found a new Greek tutor with an interesting name, Thanos.

Me: you have an interesting name.
Thanos: yes. It comes from the word Αθανάσιος (Athanasios), which means immortal.
Me: have you ever watched any Marvel movies?
Thanos: yes. And don’t worry, I tried snapping my fingers. It didn’t work. :)


My tutor was loading a web page, and it was very slow. He apologised, and also taught me the word cargar, meaning “to load”. And he was quick to point out that I should be careful and not say “cagar”, which means “to poop”.

Interestingly, in Italian, the corresponding words for “to load” and “to poop” are “cargare” and “cagare”.


I was talking with my tutor and said while the Swedish word for food is “mat” (maht), it also sounds exactly like the Russian term for curse words.

He immediately told me he would teach me some Swedish curse words. You know, in case some Swede swears at me and I don’t know about it.


My tutor came up with this pronunciation monstrosity in the blink of an eye.

un manteau trop beau en peau de taureau
(a too beautiful coat in bull skin)

That’s all for now. Have a good day and I’ll see you next time.


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