All those who at least once tried to start learning languages always complain about the difficulties that arise when memorizing foreign words. Let's try to understand why memorizing words creates such problems and how to learn words correctly. There are many ways to memorize foreign words, but not all of them work.
In the modern world, people have become much less likely to use the resources of their own memory. We don’t need to remember dozens of phone numbers to strain our brains to understand how to get to any place, mobile devices come to the rescue.
But when you start learning English or some other foreign language, you still have to learn words. First of all, you need to understand how much English words you need to remember in order to communicate at the initial level of the English language.
When we see huge dictionaries that contain thousands of words, you may have a question, do we need to know so many words? The answer is no, statistics tell us that only 400 words cover 90% of spoken language. This amount of vocabulary is quite enough for you to understand.
Word Memorization Technique
So how do you learn the same English words so that they are deposited in our memory, forming the so-called active vocabulary? The secret is that we should memorize them in real English phrases, and not memorize them in a column.
This technique of memorization, much faster and better will help you not only to remember them, but to use these words in a conversation on an automatic level, without thinking or wasting time to remember them during a conversation.
When learning, we must use the context, that is, not just learn the words by building their column. We must learn for ourselves from the very beginning each word must be perceived in the context of a short sentence.
For example, if we need to learn the word money, we must study it in a number of combinations in which the word money is used.
- I made money
- You took my money
- We spent the money
- Time is money
In the correct method of memorizing, the most important thing is to use a number of practical exercises that can help in mastering new foreign words.
Try to write words and it is advisable to do this with a pen on paper, namely with your hand. After all, it is the psychomotor memory that we use less and less today that helps us learn new foreign words much faster. The most important plus of this technique is the learned words are stored in our long-term memory, forming a fireproof vocabulary.
Another way to memorize new words in the context of a related topic. That is, if we learn nouns, we should perceive every word as part of a certain sphere of objects, every word should refer to food, clothing, your work, and so on.
Technique for increasing vocabulary
Adjectives are best remembered in antonymic pairs, that is, good, bad, small, large, and so on. But verbs, it is important to remember in context. This will allow us to use all the tense forms so that we understand how a particular verb can be used in real speech.
With the correct memorization of words, it is very important to use our own imagination, we should not remember new words just as a set of some letters. For us, it should be some associations that will have their own color, smell, taste, etc.
The figurative memorization of English words has proven itself in the study of languages. For each person, the memory works differently, someone remembers words well by pronunciation, someone according to dictionary cards, but in any case, you should have a certain image for each word.
Example, if we remember the word lemon, we must imagine how acidic it is, that it is yellow. If we remember the word house, we need to visually imagine a house and the same applies to all other word associations. Words for memorization with this technique becomes voluminous and stored in memory for a long time.
1. Organize the words
Organized and logically designed material is better remembered. Get a notebook in which write out all the unfamiliar words that you meet. Create categories for yourself and arrange them according to topics, parts of speech, and complexity. As you wish. If a word fits in many categories, write it in all. Better to remember.
2. Remember the sound of the word
When writing out a word, say it out loud several times. Do not forget about transcription. Without transcription and understanding of pronunciation, in the best case, you will only have a visual image of the word: you will remember how it looks, distinguish it in the text, but when you hear it, you can simply not recognize it and not remember it.
3. Do not confuse the meaning of the word and the translation of the word
What's the difference? - you ask. Translation is the specific meaning of a word in a certain context, the best way to convey the meaning in Russian.
And the meanings of a word can be several tens! In addition, the same word can appear in different parts of speech. So writing the word work with the translation work, you will be guided by this, and you may be surprised that a word has more than 20 meanings as a verb, more than 10 as a noun, is an adjective and is part of a huge number of idioms and stable expressions. When writing out a word, be aware that you have become acquainted with only one meaning, there may be others. On our blog, you can learn how to deal with the ambiguity of English words.
4. Be selective
Do not try to grasp the immensity and remember at once all the words that are in the dictionary. Choose only those words that you really need. Think about how often this word is used in real life. If you come across a word in the text that you almost never use, an obsolete word, a narrowly scientific term, then you do not need to write it out and remember it. If the word comes to you in the future, then this is an occasion to think. Textbooks, for example, are constructed in such a way that after a word has appeared once, it will be repeated again, and you will notice that the word is familiar. In addition, it is better to learn the words "in portions." By dividing the material into parts that you can master at a time, you memorize more efficiently. The recommended number of units is 7 - 8, but no one forbids you to experiment with your memory.
5. Repeat what you have already learned.
Do you know what it is? This chart is called Forget curve. Psychologists have proven that 20 minutes after reading the material, 20% of the material is forgotten, after an hour - 50%, and after a month you will only have 20-30% of the material studied. The rest of the words will go into the category: "Something familiar / Somewhere I met it."
What to do in order not to forget so quickly, but it is better to remember and fix words in the memory? Psychologists recommend constant repetition, as often as possible. To achieve the effect, you must repeat at least 4 times:
Repeat should be meaningful, and not just look through, although even after looking through the list of words, you activate your memory.
6. Use your leading perceptual channel
As you know, there are three main channels of perception: visual (visual), audial (sound) and kinesthetic (tactile, tactile). If you understand how you perceive information, then it will be easier for you to learn. In the process of working with new material, observe yourself and try to determine: how is it easier for you to perceive the material (by ear, by recording, by looking at pictures, working with cards). Having defined your key channel of perception, you will no longer waste time memorizing in an ineffective way for you, you will be able to focus on the channel that you have developed best.
Try to use the learned immediately. Practice new words as often as possible, try to transfer them from a passive vocabulary to an active one. Find situations, think about how you can use these words in your communication, write examples aloud and to yourself, write them down and let the teacher check it out. It will be useful to tell someone about your successes, share your acquired knowledge. The main thing is to constantly replenish the vocabulary, but also not to forget about the repetition of what has already been learned.
I really hope that these tips will help you memorize English words more efficiently and without difficulty. Or maybe you have your own unique method of learning vocabulary? Share with us, and your advice will surely come in handy for someone else!
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