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Super-fast vocabulary learning techniques

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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AlexL
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 Message 153 of 255
09 October 2007 at 6:44pm | IP Logged 
I think that it makes sense that a majority of misunderstandings would come from misused vocabulary. Most native speakers expect at first that nonnative speakers will have bad grammar and can generally piece together a meaning from a group of words. However, from my experience, when an ESL student, for example, gives me a sentence with a misused word I will always assume that he knows what the word he used means and just can't quite figure out how to put it in a sentence, which leads to a misunderstanding on my part.
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leosmith
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 Message 154 of 255
26 October 2007 at 10:20am | IP Logged 
Linguamor wrote:
apparition wrote:

I have a bunch of dialogues/texts in Gujarati that have wordlists with definitions. I find that it's enormously helpful for me to read aloud the wordlists, then read the passage right after that. Then I do it again. I listen to the recording as well, in between attempts, to get the feel of the language. I don't have a translation, but having the words is enough to get the meaning, as long as the texts mainly stick to using the previous vocabulary (which mine do).

Then, when I'm away from the passage, I listen to the recording.


This is very similar to what I did when working with dialogs/texts in language learning materials.

The method I used:

I glanced over the vocabulary and any grammar notes.

I read the dialog or text, checking vocabulary when necessary.

I repeatedly read the dialog or text until I could understand it without checking words or grammar, and without thinking in any language except the target language.

I listened to the dialog or text until it became very familiar and I could understand it easily.


I worked with dialogs and texts without recordings the same way, reading them until they became very familiar and I could understand them easily.


What I would change:

I would begin listening to the dialog or text earlier.


Just wanted to add this to the collection.
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William Camden
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 Message 155 of 255
10 July 2008 at 9:51am | IP Logged 
frenkeld wrote:
Linguamor wrote:
I do know that most people can learn to understand 2000 words from comprehensible input a lot faster than they can memorize 2000 words from a wordlist.


I had an interesting reminder just this week how strange some people can be at memorization. In order to promote interest in math among schoolchilren, they had a "pi week" at my older daughter's school, which included a competition to memorize the most digits of pi, with the winner getting to stick a cream pie in the school principal's face in front of all the 6th graders. A rather strange idea, but my daughter told me she was going for it. I shrugged my shoulders and said it was about rote memorization, so why bother. She actually won, at 200 digits of pi, but the interesting part was to see it unfold. She came in one day, saying how she already knew 120, but Katie so-and-so knew 140, and she would like to have some margin against Katie. I said something in the uh-huh category and went back to reading this forum. She came out of her room fairly soon and said, OK, now I am at 160, do you think it will be enough? I don't think I said anything at that point. In the end she was reciting pi before the class and her teacher simply stopped her at the 200th digit.

So, you know, I have no idea what that kid could do with a 2000-word list of French words, if I could ever get her interested in looking at it - too bad her French teacher isn't interested in cream pies, or at least a good creme brulee.


Coming back to word lists, take something like "Teach Yourself Hindi", which is probably similar in format to some other TY courses. It has 18 lessons, with about an 80-word vocabulary list at the end of each one. Would it actually waste or save time to try to memorize those 80 words before each lesson? I have to say, now that I think of it, I am not so sure - at the very least, it would allow one to focus on the lesson itself and not have a lot of one's attention sapped by the vocabulary.

Again looking at something non-drastic, if one can get into some traditional textbook/workbook format, where you have short lessons with some amount of vocabulary in each lesson. Is it that inefficient to keep recording that vocabulary in a list and go over it once in a while?

Basically, once we accept that memorization doesn't do any intrinsic harm to your ability to master a given language, so long as it does not serve as a motivation-killer, one can start playing any number of games with vocabulary to find what works best. One still needs tons of input to develop a proper feel for the language, but that is not in dispute - vocabulary memorization will just be there to help those who like to do it that way.





Memorising pito 200 places... This post is over a year old, but I have only just read it and that is quite impressive.

There is a lot of interesting stuff in this thread generally.
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TheElvenLord
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 Message 156 of 255
10 July 2008 at 10:46am | IP Logged 
Frenkeld -

Could you please give an account on HOW she memorized it, was it just rote?

TEL
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TheElvenLord
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 Message 157 of 255
10 July 2008 at 12:44pm | IP Logged 
When learning vocabulary I use the following two quotes:

"Language learning is about excitement, not hard word"
"What you understand, you know; and what you know, you don't forget"

-Michel Thomas

I first off make sure I am not going into it with the wrong attitude.

Recently, with this technique, I have taken 3 looks at a 20 word word list, and remember everything on it.

I glaze my eyes over the word lists, recognising the word as meaning the same.

For example, I think, instead of "Moes means Table" i think "Moes is another word for Table"

After this, I deconstruct the word, finding prefixes, suffixes and component words.
For example, the verb "Oberi" (To work) comes from the boun "Ober" (Work) (+I = Infinitive verb suffix)

I then try and use the word in context a few times, making it significantly different as to not make it seem like substitution drills.

This does not take alot of work, I am learning alot of words with it, instead of approaching it with the School "memorization" and "a means b", simply just understand the word in question, accept it as another name for something, or word.

I based this on learning words in your native language. Even now, you learn new words, but you dont go home and rote memorize them!
You just accept them as another meaning, use the word in context and voila!

TEL
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JasonChoi
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 Message 158 of 255
10 July 2008 at 8:55pm | IP Logged 
TheElvenLord wrote:
I based this on learning words in your native language. Even now, you learn new words, but you dont go home and rote memorize them!
You just accept them as another meaning, use the word in context and voila!

TEL


This is very fascinating. What you described is much like playing (with words of course). What's interesting about this is that rote memorization is said to involve the left hemisphere of the brain. By playing with the words as you described, the right hemisphere of the brain is more active, and the neural networks in your brain supposedly become stronger when you learn the words in this way rather than memorizing words in isolation. I may be wrong on some of these details, but it makes sense for me to believe that playing with the words in context with things you already know work very effectively. It seems to be a much more natural way of learning as well :)

I'm gonna try using this!
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frenkeld
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 Message 159 of 255
10 July 2008 at 11:18pm | IP Logged 
TheElvenLord wrote:
Frenkeld -

Could you please give an account on HOW she memorized it, was it just rote?


I just asked, and she says she memorized the digits in groups of five. I told her my recollection was that she recited them in a voice that was modulated somehow. I am not sure she remembers clearly, but she thinks she may have been marking the groups of 5 by modulating the intonation. Otherwise, I guess it is just rote - there is not much context one can have for the digits of pi.


Edited by frenkeld on 10 July 2008 at 11:19pm

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TheElvenLord
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 Message 160 of 255
11 July 2008 at 2:51am | IP Logged 
Quote:
This is very fascinating. What you described is much like playing (with words of course). What's interesting about this is that rote memorization is said to involve the left hemisphere of the brain. By playing with the words as you described, the right hemisphere of the brain is more active, and the neural networks in your brain supposedly become stronger when you learn the words in this way rather than memorizing words in isolation. I may be wrong on some of these details, but it makes sense for me to believe that playing with the words in context with things you already know work very effectively. It seems to be a much more natural way of learning as well :)

I'm gonna try using this!


I never knew this!

Its good to see someone else using it :) -

As i said, why not learn new words the same as you do for your native language:

If I was to tell you that an Armarda is another word for fleet, you would have no problem remembering it.

And also, if I told you that another word for Boat is Skath, you would again have no problem remembering it.

Somehow, your brain automatically creates a label for the synonyms, or after a bit, for brand new concepts.



Easy, eh?

Now, Skath is not an English word. It is Cornish. But, I may or may not have tricked your mind into thinking it was a synonym, and therefore, you may or may not have found it tricky to remember the word.

If I told you though that the Cornish word for Brilliant is Bryntin, you won't be able to remember it, unless you know a mnemonic or a cognate for it.

@ Frenkeld

Thanks, I read somewhere that a similar technique is used with Muslims memorizing the bible and Jews memorizing the Torah. They take a sentence, say it, and the next sentence, and put them together, then the next sentence, like those 5 digits of pi are sentences.

TEL






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