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Super-fast vocabulary learning techniques

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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vb
Octoglot
Senior Member
Afghanistan
Joined 6258 days ago

112 posts - 135 votes 
Speaks: English, Romanian, French, Polish, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Swedish

 
 Message 193 of 255
27 August 2009 at 6:09pm | IP Logged 
I've spent the last four days attempting to memorise all the words in an English-Spanish vocabulary book. Starting with some knowledge of an estimated 30% of the c.5000 words, I can recall over 90% now. The technique I have been using is pure rote - spaced repetition with very small spaces (not on a PC btw) - and the whole experience has been somewhat hellish. Which is just how I like it. :-)


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William Camden
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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1936 posts - 2333 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 
 Message 194 of 255
27 August 2009 at 6:52pm | IP Logged 
vb wrote:
I've spent the last four days attempting to memorise all the words in an English-Spanish vocabulary book. Starting with some knowledge of an estimated 30% of the c.5000 words, I can recall over 90% now. The technique I have been using is pure rote - spaced repetition with very small spaces (not on a PC btw) - and the whole experience has been somewhat hellish. Which is just how I like it. :-)



Maybe one day, someone will write a book about masochism and language-learning.

Have you been starting with A and going alphabetically? Because that is the real way to experience numbing tedium and existential despair.
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CobaltDragon
Groupie
United States
cobaltdragon.co
Joined 5778 days ago

40 posts - 40 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Biblical Hebrew, Vietnamese

 
 Message 195 of 255
27 August 2009 at 7:14pm | IP Logged 
vb wrote:
I've spent the last four days attempting to memorise all the words in an English-Spanish vocabulary book. Starting with some knowledge of an estimated 30% of the c.5000 words, I can recall over 90% now. The technique I have been using is pure rote - spaced repetition with very small spaces (not on a PC btw) - and the whole experience has been somewhat hellish. Which is just how I like it. :-)



That seems like it would be quite unproductive for real world use - at least for me. I find that usually I need some context to a word before it will naturally become a part of my vocabulary - I may know the meaning, but it won't get used simply because it's stored in some dark recess of my mind. Do you find this type of thing actually improves your speech of the target language?
1 person has voted this message useful



vb
Octoglot
Senior Member
Afghanistan
Joined 6258 days ago

112 posts - 135 votes 
Speaks: English, Romanian, French, Polish, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Swedish

 
 Message 196 of 255
27 August 2009 at 8:16pm | IP Logged 
CobaltDragon wrote:
Do you find this type of thing actually improves your speech of the target language?


No idea, I haven't spoken the target language at all yet.

I think this approach is best suited to nouns - I tried it with German verbs and didn't really get anywhere.
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William Camden
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United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 
 Message 197 of 255
10 February 2010 at 4:22pm | IP Logged 
Nothing new to add, but this is a particularly good thread so I will give it a bump.
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unityandoutside
Diglot
Groupie
United States
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94 posts - 149 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Latin, Mandarin

 
 Message 198 of 255
11 February 2010 at 7:36am | IP Logged 
CobaltDragon wrote:

My tutor and I'm sure all native speakers think of these are completely different words. I, unfortunately, think of them as the same word with a different tone mark. I'm probably not explaining myself very well here, but that's the crux of the difference, I think. I get confused b/c in my mind they are almost the same, just different b/c of the tone mark. I guess with more time and more repitition I will begin to think of the words in the same manner a native speaker does - it's just frustrating in the mean time.

My experience with Mandarin has been that the only way to get the words to seem different to you is to learn to pronounce them well (as well as our pitiful western mouths can manage, anyway). Work on producing the tones until you can produce a reasonable version of each one in your own pronunciation, and when you're learning vocabulary, be sure that you pronounce the words clearly and with the correct tone, several times. Even exaggerate the tone. Once the muscular habits involved in producing the tones are thoroughly ingrained, and you can hear the difference in your own speech, the words should stand out more.

For the record, I've had great success with Iversen's method of vocabulary acquisition for Russian. For Mandarin, I use the notebook method described in my language profile, combined with working through a 1000 card set of premade berlitz flashcards. I also doodle in characters all over every piece of paper that comes near me. I also have found etymology to be helpful in Russian. In Chinese, for all the challenge that the characters present, they do provide etymological clues absent from the spoken version of the language that can be used as hooks for memorization. Not that Chinese wouldn't be a fair bit easier without them, but they are pretty useful in some respects, and they look really awesome. You gotta count your blessing, right?
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