Guest Post: 6 Unexpected Techniques to Memorize New Phrases


Memorizing stuff is hard for lots of different people, and the weird thing is that it works different ways for different people. Some can remember strings of numbers, others can remember faces, and others can remember the intimate details of events. If you are unlucky, then you may have trouble memorizing new phrases, so here are a few techniques to help you. These techniques will help you learn new words in English, and will help you learn new words and phrases in another language.

1. Use Cognates

The truth is that if you know English, then you already know hundreds of words in other languages. The first thing you need to do when learning a language is to learn their cognates. The word “No” is very similar in many languages, as are many words. Take Japanese for example, for them the word “ritchi” means rich, Basu means bus, mashiin means machine. They may not be spelled very similar, but they sound almost the same (except a bit Japanesey) when they are spoken.

2. Create Associations and Link Them

For example, you may be learning Spanish numbers, so you could associate them with different items that you visualize. It goes uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco. You could imagine the game Uno, a dos computer, a tree and some cilantro in a sink. Put the image in your head, and it gives you cues to remember the real sequence of words (or at least it will help you remember the words themselves).

Creating an association can help you remember a lot of things. For example, when you meet people, think of the celebrity that has their name and associate that person with that celebrity. For example, if you meet a person called Lewis, then think of Lewis Black. Imagine that person giving an angry speech about how he was sold a phone that doesn’t allow him to make calls. Picture him doing a Lewis Black rant and the name Lewis will stick with you (ergo, you have remembered this new person’s name).

3. Make a Song Out Of It

Making a song out of a something you are learning is rarely difficult. In fact, sometimes the media does it for you. For example, in the song “Pretty Fly For A White Boy,” they sing “Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, cinco, cinco, seis.” Listen to the song, cut out the extra fives, and you have already learnt how to count to six. Pick a song that has or hasn’t got words in it, and add lyrics, but the lyrics are the words you wish to learn. You spend your day singing along to songs where you have learnt the words; you are simply adding your own words with this technique.

4. Use The First Letters

The first letters of the things you are supposed to remember will help you retain the information if you put them into another word. For example, when learning English, you may have heard the word FANBOYS to represent the first letters of the words that are supposed to have a comma in front of them (and but or nor for so yet). You can do similar things when learning languages. You simply take the first letter of each word and put it into another word that is easier for you to remember.

5. Turn It Into A Story

You can easily remember a sequences of events or a bunch of words if you put them into a story. The reason is because our minds are not like hard drives or shelves. We do not stack information in our head; we create connections in our mind to link one piece of information to the next. Put words into a story, and you already have your connection so that your mind may learn them more easily.

6. Teach It To Others

Hands down, one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to other people. For some reason you are more keen with regards to details, and somehow when you teach it to others it sticks in your mind all the harder. There are probably hundreds of good reasons why it sticks in your head, there are probably psychologists that can explain it, but all of that doesn’t matter. Teach it to others with speeches, videos and even by writing it in blogs.

Linda Craig
Prepared by Linda Craig, eager writer, language learner and editor for Assignmentmasters. She is an eager enthusiast in mastering her skills in Russian, German and beginner-level Mandarin Chinese. Memorizing Techniques presented in article are based on personal experience. If you are interested in talking to me, feel free to reach me by Twitter or Google+.

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