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Remembering vocabulary in any language can be a challenge. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how ‘smart’ you are, anyone can remember anything with the right technique. I don’t believe there is a ‘bad memory’ only someone who hasn’t found the best way for them to remember. We discussed a couple of these in our latest stream and phrase book walkthrough last night. https://mandarinmonkey.com/content
Lets start with some of the more straight forward ones -:
Write the words down in a notebook or on paper. You can either write them down once or many times. Just come back tomorrow and write them again. then come back in a couple more days and repeat the process. Try this with five words a day on a rotation. Revisit the words every other day. Eventually it will stick.
Read the words out-loud, often. Ok so sit down with your list of words, in both languages. Read them four or five times out loud. Then go and cook dinner or have a shower and without the paper, shout the list again and again while you do it.
Sing the words. You can also apply a similar technique to the one above but instead of shouting it and annoying your very elderly neighbors you could sing the words. Singing the words to one of your favourite tunes can help you remember.
Use the words. Find a language exchange partner, or someone who speaks your target language and use the new words as many times as you can in normal conversation.
Other techniques -:
Half english half language paper. So get one piece of A4 paper. Cut it in half horizontally. Then write down your target vocab on one half of the page. top to bottom. Then write the English on the other page. Place the english piece of paper beneath the Chinese/other language piece and guess the meaning of each of the words one by one. Revealing the answers as you say them out loud. Ever one you don’t remember or get wrong add a cross next to it. You then add those incorrect words to tomorrows list and rinse repeat until you have memorized them.
Funny Associations (I use this one): Find something funny about the target language. For example, 下雨 Xià yǔ (rain) in Chinese. This word is made up of two characters. Xia means down and yu means rain. BUT for me Yú also means fish (魚). I know its a different tone/character but the funny association of fish falling from the sky. ‘down fish’ is enough for me to remember the word for rain in Chinese. Another example would be the word for awkward 尷尬 Gāngà .
This is Gengar, which is a ghost pokemon from way back when. I don’t know why I remember this one in particular but it puts a funny image of the pokemon in my head when i think of 尷尬 Gāngà.
Post it notes: I personally have covered my house in yellow post it notes with vocab written on them. I would stick the word for fridge on the fridge, draw, cups, window, doors, cupboard, television etc. And whenever I used the item I would say the word out loud. Please don’t stick post its on your pets 🙂
Anki: Spaced repeatition software like Anki can also help you to rememer by showing you your target list of vocab in spaced intervals during study. https://apps.ankiweb.net/
Make your own flashcards: Make and organise your own flashcards. play with the sentence structures, replace the nouns and verbs and adjectives. repeat the sentences out loud everytime you reorganise or write them down.
The only way to remember is repetition. there is no such magic trick to say a word once and then remember it forever. You have to repeat the words as many times as it takes to stick. Hope the above helps in some form or another.
Have a great day whatever you are doing. BUT do learn at least one word.
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