Memorizing Vocabulary: The Impossible Task
3 Tips to Conquer the World of Words
Trouble memorizing vocabulary while learning a foreign language? Yes, you have finally learned the whole alphabet of a new language. Yes, you have managed to pronounce clearly and spell your very first words correctly in the other language. Yes, you can proudly ask another person what their name is and where they come from. Congratulations!
And here you are now, stuck between the words, “tree”, “sea” and “sun”. While these may be important to describe a paradise exotic island, they are not enough for you to start expressing yourself. How do you ascend to the next level of communication in this language? What happens with all these attractive, new, impossible-to-remember words?
▪Forget Copying and Dictation
Thousands of thousands of hard-working, willing students all over the world- including myself- have wasted countless minutes, hours and years of their lives aimlessly copying words and checking that through-this nightmare called-dictation, in a futile attempt to learn new words. Don’t. Just Don’t. Apart from gaining a small bump on your middle finger and the illusion of actually learning, at the end of the day you have no result.
▪Learn small phrases
Your brain is designed to learn things it finds useful. Words are useful only to express ideas, when combined in sentences. Unless you start discovering and forming small sentences familiar to you, your mind will simply reject random words. So, feel free to create your very own, even short, context sentences instead of trying to memorize the translation of separate words.
▪The Magic Post-It
No matter how strong your memory is, or how many times you have revised your new words, there are just some words that just don’t “stick” to your mind. Every student has suffered through this “What’s wrong with me? I know this word, I have studied it sooo many times, I just checked it out 5 minutes ago..Why do I not remember it? Welcome Alzheimer’s..” type of feeling. This is where this miraculous small yellow sticky note comes in..Write down your elusive word, in big clear letters and carry it with you all day (not translated, please!), in your wallet, bag or stick it on your computer screen. Your mind will be forced to keep seeing it, reproducing it and revising its meaning. In a few days, you will have overcome this word and you will be writing your next.