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Modified Iversen wordlist method

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zenmonkey
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 Message 1 of 28
13 May 2008 at 3:05am | IP Logged 
I'm a fan of Iversen's wordlist method - around the house there are many folded quarter pages full of my scribbles. Overall my retention rate is acceptable (to me :) ), over 50% one month afterwards; I recognize the target word when reading it but really do not use it actively. So, I was looking at improving this method with two objectives:

1) increase retention rate
2) move vocabulary from passive to active

What I have found to be useful to me, is to add a meaningful sentence after the exercise. Still on the quarter pages, I flip over the page and write out five sentences, each using one of the words. Sometimes my own, sometimes from the vocabulary book I am using. So far this has rendered the exercise more interesting and more useful in the second objective, we'll see if I have an increase in retention.

Any one else doing a modified list method?
Your thinking on this?

I am also creating electronic flash cards with these words, once I've learned them using Mnemosyne.

I'm not doing that with the whole sentences as it takes more time, but perhaps, in the end it is more effective?


Edited by zenmonkey on 13 May 2008 at 3:09am

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Iversen
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 Message 2 of 28
13 May 2008 at 4:18am | IP Logged 
To increase your retention rate it is enough to check your old lists once in a while and maybe write down the words that have slipped away in the meantime. You can do this the easy way by covering up the native language columns, but if you really want to learn those words you should do this once and then afterwards you might try to cover up the two target language columns to check that you also can translate from native to target language.

To make passive words active you need something more, and making up sentences sounds like a good idea. However the sheer number of words on even a few pages of word lists will make it a daunting task if you really intend to get through all the words (with my minuscule writing I can get something like 400 words on a sheet, - that makes for a lot of sentences!). So I would think it would be better to to the opposite task: jot down the words you need to look up when you want to say or write something and then include these words in your word lists.

Word lists can be done even with short idiomatic expressions if you just leave enough space on the page, but apart from proverbs I don't see the reason to learn whole sentences by heart.



Edited by Iversen on 13 May 2008 at 5:15am

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Captain Haddock
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 Message 3 of 28
13 May 2008 at 4:44am | IP Logged 
I don't like writing my own sentences unless I can get a native to check them. (Mind you, writing and getting your work corrected is a pretty good learning technique.)
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rggg
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 Message 4 of 28
13 May 2008 at 10:06am | IP Logged 
Hi!!!

I wouldn't call this a "method", but it really helped me a lot, I wrote special lists back when I was learning Italian, what I did was to have 3 columns (English, French, Italian) and then write the same word in all 3 languages.

I had different vocabulary lists and they were very specific:

   - Fruits, vegetables and food in general
   - Animals
   - Colors
   - Body parts and organs
   - Days of the week and months
   - Professions
   - Zodiac signs
   - Deadly sins
   - Tools in general
   - Furniture, appliances, etc.

Disadvantages: I don't think this is well suited for beginners since they might end   
      up mixing up words from different languages (specially if they're from the   
      same family)

      It might be boring for some people.

Advantages: Somehow my retention was enhanced, when I wanted to recall a word (let's
        say in French) and I couldn't remember it, the correspondent one in¬†English or
        Italian automatically came up and then the French one, and from there the
        French one stayed "printed" in my memory for future references.

        While learning new vocabulary, I was also reviewing vocabulary in all 3
        languages.

Nowadays, while I'm watching a TV show I change the subtitles to Portuguese and write down the new words I find, then I try to infer their meaning or just look them up in the dictionary, as a result I ended up with a big, big list of new vocabulary. I'm sure that for some people this might sound booooring :), but not for me, I just see a new word and it's like a compulsion .... I have to write it down, know its meaning, take an occasional look from now and then, and there you go, it sticks right into my memory.

Well, that's just my two cents, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, I wouldn't dare to call this a "method", it's something that helped me to speed up the learning and memorizing of vocabulary and it's something I just wanted to share.

Take care.





Edited by rggg on 25 June 2008 at 9:35am

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zenmonkey
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 Message 5 of 28
13 May 2008 at 12:55pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
To increase your retention rate it is enough to check your old lists once in a while and maybe write down the words that have slipped away in the meantime.


I've been doing that (especially rewriting down words) but for those words with unclear meaning, multiple meaning, etc. I found this less than perfect.

Iversen wrote:

To make passive words active you need something more, and making up sentences sounds like a good idea. However the sheer number of words on even a few pages of word lists will make it a daunting task if you really intend to get through all the words (with my minuscule writing I can get something like 400 words on a sheet, - that makes for a lot of sentences!). So I would think it would be better to to the opposite task: jot down the words you need to look up when you want to say or write something and then include these words in your word lists.

Word lists can be done even with short idiomatic expressions if you just leave enough space on the page, but apart from proverbs I don't see the reason to learn whole sentences by heart.


I completely agree that learning or memorizing full sentences makes no sense, but to be able to translate a sentence or an idea is what is helping me out. This isn't necessary with every word, but I'm only working on about 20-40 words a day and about half get 'structured'.

I like the idea of adding holes and writing down missed words, in my environment I am cheating as everyone speaks German and English, so when I miss a word and say it in English someone will provide me with the German word. But this will happen 3-7 times, writing it down and learning it afterwards will help out.

I only fit 160 words per page, that is enough! Otherwise I could not read my handwriting.
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zenmonkey
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 Message 6 of 28
13 May 2008 at 1:34pm | IP Logged 
rggg wrote:
then write the same word in all 3 languages.


Thanks rggg, been thinking about that and have decided not to do that for the time being because of a particular problem. French is my third language and while I am fluent, I find that I have a tendancy to pronounce German with a French accent, to use French as my transitional language rather than English. This had slowed me down considerably and I do not want to reinforce that. Last in, first out?

But perhaps I will revisit that idea.

I did think that this "method" might help, and even thought of doing it with my 4 languages, but decided to group English/German and Italian with French & Spanish.

Edited by zenmonkey on 13 May 2008 at 1:35pm

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William Camden
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 Message 7 of 28
15 May 2008 at 9:27am | IP Logged 
I like flash cards but sometimes little cards are not readily available, whereas pieces of paper are.

Lately, especially for Dutch, I have been taking bits of A4 paper, sometimes leaving them whole, sometimes cutting or tearing them up, and writing the Dutch on the left and the English meaning on the right, folding it over, reviewing one side or both whenever I feel like it. I take it this is the Iversen method described.
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Iversen
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 Message 8 of 28
19 May 2008 at 9:34am | IP Logged 
William Camden wrote:
... I have been taking bits of A4 paper, sometimes leaving them whole, sometimes cutting or tearing them up, and writing the Dutch on the left and the English meaning on the right, folding it over, reviewing one side or both whenever I feel like it. I take it this is the Iversen method described.


I don't see why you should tear up the paper unless your aim is to make flash cards. For repetition purposes it is much more practical to have a lot of words on each sheet, and to keep your sheets so that you can look through old sheets.

I find it natural that people experiment with different methods, but in a word list method you have to have a long list of words somewhere.


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