Some memory coaches encourage memorization and vocabulary as a way to learn a new language because you won’t need to look up the words and meanings so often. They want you to start thinking in that language. I want to give you a couple of tips on how to use your senses to help you memorize faster, and retain it longer. These tips will work if you want to improve your language skills for your own language, or are trying to learn a new language.

When learning a language in school you probably were taught the “phonebook” method, where you were told to memorize a list of words and their meaning. The idea that is you repeat the word often enough it will “stick” in your memory and you can move on to another word. This doesn’t prove to be effective, since by the time you have moved on to the next list you will have forgotten the previous one. Our brains are not used to learning in this way.

The most effective way to retain what you are learning is by associating the word with something you are familiar with – through your senses.

Many language-learning courses focus on imagery in the vocabulary learning process. You create a mental picture of the word you are trying to learn so when you see a picture or hear the word your mind pulls up that image. When we hear the word “dog” we automatically pull up a picture of a dog. When someone says the word “apple” we naturally picture an apple in our minds, and can smell the fragrance of baked apples. We are linking the word to one or more of our senses.

Flashcards are the most common example of imagery and association. Flashcards are a learning tool where you have a picture on one side of the card and the word on the other. You get a visual image along with the word. This is effective for teaching toddlers their colors and shapes as well as for adults learning new language.

Another tool allows you to build a visual bridge in order to associate the word with the image. This is called “language mnemonics.” This memory technique helps in learning a new language, since the bridge represents the link between the new word and your native language version of it. An example: In French, the word “pan” means bread. This is a simple association, since you can visualize a piece of French bread baking in a long pan. When you think of “bread” in French you will automatically think of bread in a pan, which links them together in your memory.

The one thing you need to remember when using mnemonics is that you want to make your image link is bright, colorful, and vivid. You may even want to make it funny and outrageous, since humor is one way that makes things easier to remember. You want to create a lasting impression in your memory that will not only help to build your vocabulary, but lock it into your long-term memory.

Make use of your senses and these interactive tools when learning a new language. Repeat the words often, because repetition helps to imprint the word in your memory. Make learning a memory game and you will find you are not only learning faster, but also having fun doing it.

From the desk of Ron White

 

Resources:

Articlesbase.com – How To Memorize Words Faster And Better, by Michael Gabrikow  http://www.articlesbase.com/education-articles/how-to-memorize-words-faster-and-better-187968.html

eHow Family — How to Memorize Fast and Remember More: http://www.ehow.com/how_4921171_memorize-fast-remember.html