This post was originally posted on Babelhut.
Usually when I am reading in Spanish, and I find a word I don’t know and can’t figure out from context, I look it up in a dictionary. Often the sentence I originally found that word in is long and/or complex, which doesn’t make it a good candidate for entry in my SRS, so I will usually enter the example sentence in the dictionary into my SRS instead. But what if there is no example sentence for that word? This dilemma happens with at least half of the words I look up. Until recently, I didn’t have a good solution. Most of the time I would just let it go and later forget the word, causing myself to look it up again.
Now I take that word and search tatoeba.org for sentences containing that word. And most of the time (at least with Spanish), I can find a sentence with that word and copy it to a new card in my SRS. Tatoeba.org supports a lot of languages, with 1,000 or more sentences in at least 22 of those languages. As of this writing there are 10,140 sentences in Spanish, 41,850 in French, and 152,705 in Japanese!
I have noticed that there are audio icons next to the sentences on tatoeba.org, but very few actually have audio available. While you are mining sentences from there, take them over to RhinoSpike.com and find a native speaker to read them to you!