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Learn vocabulary by left hand writing

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 Message 1 of 29
22 August 2012 at 3:21am | IP Logged 
I recently saw this as a tip for memorizing lines in acting, and wonder if anyone has tried it for vocabulary.
Memorize-Your-Lines wrote:
Write it out; with the other hand. If you are right-handed, write out your lines with
your left hand, and vice versa. By using your less familiar hand, your brain has to think three times as hard about
what you are writing.

Edited by Wulfgar on 22 August 2012 at 3:23am

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 Message 2 of 29
22 August 2012 at 3:27am | IP Logged 
I've been writing kanji left-handed this month - I've restarted RTK1. I'm forgetting way fewer kanji than the other times I've tried RTK, but I'm not sure how much of this is due to prior exposure.

I've got no leech cards in the RTK anki deck so far, and am remembering most each time they come up in anki. Overall, it's working fairly well, but I'm glad to only be doing it for a relatively small group of items (the Kanji), rather than a decent amount of vocabulary for a language; that would really be tedious.
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 Message 3 of 29
22 August 2012 at 3:36am | IP Logged 
Seems like a good idea! If you practice too much though would you end up ambidextrous?
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 Message 4 of 29
22 August 2012 at 4:48am | IP Logged 
dcbaok wrote:
Seems like a good idea! If you practice too much though would you end up ambidextrous?

In a retail job I once had I used to write left-handed simply to give my dominant right hand a break. I got pretty good at it and was able to write legibly. The challenge for righties is to hold a pen they way most lefties do to enable one to smoothly move the left hand forward. Holding a pen the way most righties do while writing left-handed, which is what I usually did, seemed to make me have to stop and restart much more often.

Aside from that, the question of whether writing non-dominant hand is helpful also involves time efficiency and focus. If it becomes more an exercise in writing instead of focusing on vocabulary that one is writing, then perhaps its usefulness might be severely affected (though that it would for most take longer might actually help the process). However it is an interesting idea.

I would also say that for me, merely typing practice passages, whether my own or from a source, also seems to help cement vocabulary and grammar, though possibly only because I don't type as fast using a non-standard keyboard layout. I don't have a problem with a Spanish layout, but with a German one, where the y and z are inverted, I habitually make mistakes and have to correct.
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 Message 5 of 29
22 August 2012 at 4:53am | IP Logged 
These days most people don't even employ plain-vanilla writing, with their right hand. I've always believed that there's some additional memory (muscle memory?) that comes from writing the words down, but no one seems to get excited when I suggest writing vocabulary down in a notebook or on paper flashcards. Some things are seen as just too old-fashioned, I suppose.

Edited by frenkeld on 22 August 2012 at 6:51am

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 Message 6 of 29
22 August 2012 at 5:58am | IP Logged 
Wow, this is a really interesting idea. I've never heard of it before, but I am interested in trying it. I like writing words and sentences out by hand (with my dominant hand) anyways because it helps me remember them.

But I do think Peregrinus has a good point, too. I think I could fall into that - focusing on writing rather than the words themselves.
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 Message 7 of 29
22 August 2012 at 7:23am | IP Logged 
This reminds me of the study where they found that people who studied facts in harder to read fonts remembered them better suggesting the more difficult something is to learn, the harder we concentrate and so the better we remember: agewanted=all

Writing would also definitely bring in the muscle memory aspect (and from a non-dominant hand I imagine that this could even be more effective) and the visual reinforcement. If the whole the harder it is to understand the better you'll remember it thing is true I think students could benefit by studying their non-language classes in their TL to kill two birds with one stone and get better at both their TL and their other subjects at the same time.
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atama warui
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 Message 8 of 29
22 August 2012 at 12:29pm | IP Logged 
Still waiting for the wonder pill to come around.
So far nothing worked but hard work.

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