Memorizing vocabulary is one of the many challenges anyone has in learning. Here are the experts sharing the best tips to memorize vocabulary in another language.
Memory gurus and their techniques
Memory can be stored in a variety of ways by the brain. To help you remember a word, you can use flashcards, picture associations, or even number associations. These techniques are known as mnemonics.
Memory research is a vast field of science. Mnemonists are people with exceptional memories. Some of them are also memory trainers. Many memory gurus have developed methods like this to increase the fun and effectiveness of learning a language.
The eight mnemonists’ contributions are listed below. Recognize and employ their strategies in your language learning efforts.
Bartosz Czekala: Encode and retrieve when you fail to recall
Memory research is a vast subject. Numerous excellent memory techniques can help you learn words in a foreign language.
My best advice is to concentrate on the unavoidable failure to remember a term. It makes no difference whether it happened while you were talking to someone or studying your flashcards. The failure feedback is ignored by 99.9% of all language learners.
The majority of the time, it means you haven’t encountered this word or the settings in which the information was encoded sufficiently, or both. It is critical to focus on such words. If you are unable to recall them, make sure to encode them again in other situations.
The greater the overlap between what we encode and retrieve, the more likely we are to recall the desired information smoothly. Pay close attention when you can’t think of anything to say.
It is critical to focus on such words. If you are unable to recall them, make sure to encode them again in other situations. If you have trouble remembering words, encode them again in different situations. (Czekala, Bartosz)
Bartosz Czekala is a multilingual memory specialist who is also a qualified nutritionist, personal coach, and trichologist.
Katie Kermode: Visualize scenarios to remember a word
Concentrate on the terms that are difficult to remember. By thinking of a similarity, create a brief statement or scene connecting the term you are learning with a word or phrase from your native language.
When you think of the original term, place it where you first thought of it. If I were learning the Finnish word for fan, “tuuletin,” I might imagine myself feeling overheated and saying, “I need a fan to let in some air,” turning on the fan and breathing in the cool air.
This phrase shows the relationship between the words “fan” and “to let in.” (Katie Kermode)
Katie Kermode is a memory athlete from the United Kingdom who has competed since 2008. She also works as a freelance translator, memory trainer, and four-time UK memory champion. And is a Grandmaster of Memory in the IAM (Silver).
Sushant Mysorekar: Have several interests in understanding vocabulary
The most important prerequisite for learning any language’s vocabulary is a wide range of interests. Memory’s mother is interested, and its father is attentive. Others are related, such as interest and a variety of others.
You must hear, taste, smell, and live the language you want to learn. SAB-CINEMAS is the method for learning vocabulary that I invented and trademarked.
- S– Put that word in the middle of a scene.
- A–Associating, combining, or cooperating with similar sounds or objects.
- B– Make an odd story out of it. Bizarre.
- C–To indicate how intense the words are, light-dark colors can be added to them.
- I– Use your mouth motions, facial expressions, and phrases to visualize.
- N– Connect quickly by using numbers and sounds from different languages.
- E– It would be beneficial if you could add your expression when pronouncing a specific vocabulary word.
- M– Any word used to identify oneself in a statement, tag, or proverb sticks with you for a long time.
- A– To gain a better understanding, animate the word in an iconic image and doodle with it.
- S– Engage your senses consciously.
“Interest and attention are the mother and father of memory.” (Mysorekar, Sushant)
Sushant Mysorekar, an author and internationally certified intelligence coach, wrote: “Super Power Memory for Busy Professionals” and “Super Tips for Super Memory” in 2019.
John Graham: Use the Linking Method
Use the linking method! It’s a memory trick that involves creating a simple visual narrative. In essence, you “connect” an association with the meaning of a foreign word to an association with the term itself.
As an example:
In French language, vento means “wind.” When I think of vento, I think of a vent. Now all I can think about is the wind blowing through a vent. In French, for example, the word for beach is spiaggia. Spiaggia’s phonics are “spee ah juh.”
Because I associate “spee” with “speed” and “ah juh” with “agility,” I’ve created a visual story that combines the beach with quickness and agility. I imagine people practicing their agility and quickness on the beach. Spiaggia!
There are no rules here. Simply say the word and make an association based on how it sounds to you.
Although I don’t recommend using this method for every word you learn, it can help you remember the more difficult words and phrases that aren’t sticking with you. Using the Linking Method to create a simple, visual story. (From John Graham)
Nishant Kasibhatla: When learning is fun, it is easy
One of the most effective strategies for memorizing words in a foreign language is to combine Visualization, Association, and Fun. Because most people remember images better than words, visualization can help you “see” the word in your mind’s eye.
Associating a term with something you already know aids in its retention. This makes it easier to pay attention and remember the term. If you, please approach the procedure, you are more likely to enjoy it.
That is why I frequently say that learning is easy when it is enjoyable. Here’s an example of how to go about doing all of that.
Along with these advantages, understanding how memory works—particularly retention and recall—will help you memorize information faster. One of the most effective ways to memorize words in a foreign language is to combine Visualization, Association, and Fun.
Francis Blondin: Use memory techniques
To recall the word “lapalissiano” and its obvious meaning, I imagine a runner doing “laps” while complaining about a huge “lice” on his head. In my opinion, this is not the best way to run.
“Lapalissiano” is a combination of the words “laps” and “lice.” It’s not a perfect trick, but it will work at first. Even a bad trick that only reflects a single word can be beneficial.
You don’t need to use such tricks for simple tasks, but you can always use the shady voodoo magic of memory tricks for everything else! The more you use them, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes.
Immediately, a few more important tools:
- Sleep! How much do you need? Regularly Stop operating at less than half your potential!
- Keep your eyes peeled! Overall, shorter bursts of focused attention outperform much longer bursts of constant distraction.
- Experiment with retrieval. Instead of just listening or reading, put yourself to the test. This is a very effective learning method as well as a tool for assessing what has been retained.
- Use spaced repetition. To begin, review as frequently as necessary, then less frequently as time passes. As a general rule, after each successful attempt, you should double the interval. Anki, a free program, can help to streamline the process.
“The more tricks you use, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes.” (Blondin, Fran)
Francis Blondin is a two-time Canadian memory champion. He freely shares his memory and learning knowledge with the public in both French and English.
He is also planning various memory and mental math contests for people from all over the world, both offline and online, in Canada.
Dr. Boris Nikolai Konrad: Use a memory palace
My recommendation is to combine retrieval practice with the term mnemonic. I’m looking for an image that will serve as a visual reminder of the term I’m trying to learn. The real translation is then combined with my keyword image.
I imagine myself using a taser to heat the beverage in the tazza. I can see myself scribbling a van on my desk. I put myself to the test early on to ensure that these terms stay in my long-term memory. Anki is a fantastic tool for this.
On occasion, I’ll also use a memory palace to compile several phrases and words from a specific situation. “I look for a visual representation of a new term that conjures up a familiar word, and then the translation and my image are combined.
Dr. Boris Nikolai Konrad, a memory expert, holds four Guinness World Records and is well-known around the world.
Edward Cooke: Learning must be easily integrated into your daily life
What is the best way to efficiently learn a new language? Where should I begin? Do I still have time? “How will I learn? Consider the following:
- When can I begin studying?
- Can I learn a foreign language on my own?
- What drives me to complete this task? And how can I continue to be motivated?
Successful language immersion must use your target language in a variety of contexts.
You can, for instance:
- You can learn a language by watching movies and TV shows (yes, Netflix can help you do that).
- Learning a language can be aided by playing video games or board games.
- Learn new languages by listening to podcasts and audiobooks.
- Watch films and TV shows in your target language (with subtitles).
- You can learn a language by listening to music on Spotify and focusing on the lyrics.
- Reading children’s books in the language, you’re learning will help you become acquainted with the language’s vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure.
Diving into an adult novel at this point will only confuse you. It MUST be convenient for you, allowing you to learn at your own pace and on your schedule while remaining motivated. If you follow the advice given above, you can learn vocabulary in any language and retain words quickly.
“The key to language immersion is to input your target language in multiple ways.” (Ed Cooke’s)
Edward Cooke is a language and memory coach as well as a recognized expert in memory coaching.
Follow this advice from the 8 experts
Here’s a quick rundown of our contributors’ suggestions:
- Keep an eye out for when you can’t remember a word because it will happen.
- If you have trouble remembering terms, make sure to re-encode them in different settings.
- The greater the overlap between what we encode and what we retrieve, the more easily we can recall the desired information.
- Create a short sentence or scene that connects a word you want to remember with its equivalent in your mother tongue.
- Use spaced repetition flashcards to review these concepts regularly.
- When you hear that phrase, imagine this little scenario taking place in the most appropriate setting, then mentally transport yourself there and bring up the situation.
- Make multiple interest lists to learn any language’s vocabulary.
- The language you want to learn must be experienced through all five senses.
- Use SAB-CINEMAS
- To connect the relationship of a foreign word to its meaning, use the linking method.
- By sounding out the word, make an association based on how it sounds to you.
- Use the Linking Method to help you remember more difficult words and phrases that aren’t sticking.
- Use a combination of amusement, association, and visualization.
- Using visualization, you can “see” the word in your mind’s eye.
- Your ability to memorize things faster depends on your understanding of how memory functions.
- Even a bad trick that represents only one letter of a word can be useful.
- Using approaches regularly makes things easier and more enjoyable.
Dr. Boris Nikolai Konrad
- Combine retrieval practice and term mnemonics.
- Look for a picture of the word.
- A memory palace can be used to collect multiple words and phrases from a specific context.
- Fill in the blanks with your preferred language.
- Your language or topic MUST be useful to you.
- Maintain your motivation while learning at your own pace and in your own time.
From theory to practice
The act of attempting to memorize words or vocabulary in a foreign language may appear overwhelming to a language student at first.
However, if you follow the strategies mentioned by the memory specialists above, you will find that learning vocabulary in other languages naturally comes naturally to you. To learn more about the science of language learning, watch the short documentary “How to Learn Languages Fast.”
Continue translating in your head. Do you want to learn true French? If you want to speak and think fluently in French quickly, check out Stefano’s courses!