You often admire polyglots who can memorize impressive amounts of words in many different languages but you are convinced that it is impossible for you […]
You often admire polyglots who can memorize impressive amounts of words in several different languages but you are convinced that it is impossible for you because you do not have the capacity. Fatigue, lack of motivation, difficulty of the terms, your brain is, often, quickly saturated … For all these reasons, to appropriate certain techniques of memorizing fun and amusing allows to learn vocabulary without being discouraged and quickly.
First of all, it’s interesting to understand how memory really works . The brain is a succession of neuronal connections, that is, neurons are transmitting electrical and chemical signals, and each neuron can connect to tens of thousands of other neurons. However, if we do not use these neuronal connections, they weaken little by little. This is why, when you learn a new word in a foreign language, if you do not review it regularly, you always end up forgetting it .
Indeed, our brain is naturally not very good at retaining new information especially if they are numerous and contrary to our habits, it is therefore necessary to optimize this activity through learning techniques that are effective over time. .
Learn useful vocabulary!
To begin this learning, it is very important to use the frequency of words to learn vocabulary. Indeed, what is the use of learning words and turns phrases that are not, or more, used, if not to waste time and forget a few weeks later.
To avoid this, build a list of 500 relevant words and learn them a little every day. In the end, if you learn 10 words a day for 60 days, you will have already retained 600 words and assimilated a good part of the vocabulary “useful”. Remember that by learning the 20% of words that are used in 80% of situations you will be able to familiarize yourself with a foreign language faster than you imagined.
Space the vocabulary reviews
The best way to learn vocabulary effectively is to space the revisions gradually. You will quickly see that repeating the same word 10 times in a row is useless and counterproductive. It is better to proceed this way:
- We learn the word
- We repeat for the first time after 10 minutes
- Then after 8h, 24h …
- After 3 days, 10 days and 25 days.
This spaced repetition makes it possible to fix the vocabulary in the long-term memory.
Create links with effective mental images
The spaced repetition allows, most of the time, to learn vocabulary very quickly and without making any effort. But it happens that some words or phrases seem more difficult to memorize. For these cases, there are mnemonic means to burn information in our memory automatically. Often, it is useful to create mental images because we can make them with particular characteristics that are unique to our memories and imagination.
For a mental illustration to be particularly effective during your learning, it must have the following 4 characteristics :
- Unusual association
- Emotional implication
Apply these mental images
For example, if we want to remember the word “crux” which means “knot” in French but whose sound is reminiscent of “cross” , you can imagine a man making a knot around this cross to pull it easily with him .
It is also easier to memorize if we imagine an absurd situation. In this new example, if we want to remember the word “money” (“money” in French) we can imagine a plate and on this plate, a large sticker with the price. Imagine then that you cut the sticker into small pieces and you eat it.
Use memory cards to help you remember words
You can also use cards with the image on one side and the corresponding word on the other. The exercise then consists of visualizing the cards one by one and trying to retain them. You’ll find it easier to memorize words when associated with photos or images. By playing regularly you will manage to remember these words in English quickly and efficiently .
Remember that the image, whether mental or real, is just there to create an anchor.
By working regularly, it always ends up disappearing to make room for the word itself.