The more time you spent playing with Anki, the more opinionated you become.

Upon reading Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner, I got an itch to create my own Anki note template for learning languages.

The template

There’s no point explaining how to create a new template; the excellent Anki documentation already does so. Instead, I’ll just list and explain the template I created.

The template is called “Deutsch Language Card 🇩🇪”. It has four fields:

  1. Front
  2. Front Example
  3. Back
  4. Striked

Front and Back come from the built-in template. There’s nothing special about them. I use “Front” for the canonical term in the foreign language I’m learning, and “Back” for the explanation in the base / native language I’m mostly familiar with1.

Here’s an example:

Front: das Buch
Back: book 📚

Whenever possible I include one or more emojis 😃 in the “Back” field.

The canonicalization of the “Front” field is important, and one of the best (key, even!) features of Anki. It will smartly detect (and prevent!) duplicates from being created. It is case sensitive, therefore it’s important to create one convention and stick to it.

“Front Example” is used to complement the “Front” field. It consists of one or both of the following:

  • A phrase or sentence containing the Front term.
  • A picture representing the Front term.

To increase overall retention, it’s always best to add cues familiar to your context.

Add phrases that resonate with you or that you find in textbooks or blog posts that resonate with you. In my experience, adding random phrases is not effective.

Add images that represent well that you’re describing and that resonate with you. Photos that you take yourself are also fair game!

“Striked” is to disambiguate synonyms or false cognates. For example:

Front: der Sturm
Back: storm ⛈️
Striked: das Gewitter, das Unwetter

When I am reviewing the Back card, I want to cue myself not to think about the striked terms.

The source code

The Front card

{{Front}} {{tts de_DE:Front}}

{{#Front Example}}
<i>{{Front Example}}</i> {{tts de_DE:Front Example}}
{{/Front Example}}

The front card includes a text-to-speech sample that is generated on-the-fly. It works very well on macOS and iOS. In fact, that’s main reason why the template is called “Deutsch Language Card” instead of just “Language Card”. The text-to-speech engine is customized to have an accent in the given language. For (High) German, that is de_DE.

The Back card



The striked terms are striked, as you would expect.

  1. Interestingly I prefer to use English most of the time, even though it is not my mother tongue. ↩︎