Episode 151

Unusual Ways to Remember Vocabulary That Describes Ideas


September 9th, 2019

27 mins 22 secs

Your Host

About this Episode

The German Retreat in Berlin

Today I answer a listener question from Hadassah about memorizing vocabulary that describes ideas, not objects

Here are a few handy tips in summary - listen to the show to hear my many examples and in-depth explanations.

  1. The post-it method. Write your words on post-its and stick them up around quirky places that do have a connection to the ideas you’re describing. The added creativity involved in connecting the abstract concept to the object will help you remember it as you spent more time contemplating the word and making it ’sticky'

  2. The Language Play Method In addition to associating the concept with an object, you can also use the linguistic characteristics of the word you’re trying to remember. This can be sound, spelling, etymology. Find what your word rhymes with, associate the sound of the word with its meaning, or research exactly where it comes from.

  3. Chunks of Language Instead of individual words, the idea is to study chunks of language, that could be short sentences or little phrases that you can use. So instead of “hungry” you’d learn “I’m so hungry, I want to eat” or instead of “where” you’d learn the whole phrase “where is the bathroom?”. For your question of abstracts, this can be helpful because you now have a full sentence to write down and something that you can sing to yourself.

  4. Find examples of the concept in music and art

The forgetting curve: humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material.

Thank you to Wesley for this episode introduction in Persian.

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