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Super-fast vocabulary learning techniques

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lingoleng
Senior Member
Germany
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 Message 225 of 255
09 January 2012 at 3:03am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
lingoleng wrote:
... and, if Iversen happens to read this:
Latin!


I already have a number of non-pictorial dictionaries, so I'll not add one more right now. But I wonder whether a pictorial Latin dictionary would use pictures full of Roman soldiers in full armour or Medieval monks.


:-) The one mentioned in this thread uses modern pictures, which are used unchanged for English, Mandarin or Latin ... probably not such a bad idea in the era of globalisation. Or maybe it's cheaper, I don't know.

Orbis Pictus Latinus offers more authentic illustrations and Latin only definitions for all the lemmata. Ideal for immersionists and fans of monodics, sorry, monolingual dictionaries. Certainly not a must have, but I like it, too.
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
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Denmark
berejst.dk
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 Message 226 of 255
09 January 2012 at 10:16am | IP Logged 
This thread has during its very long history introduced my wordlists and moved on to Siometteikiru's LR technique, so let me in this tradition confuse matters by take a broader look at the idea behind pictoral dictionaries. I don't have the books mentioned in the preceding posts, but I own one old pictoral dictionary and have seen several others, and the idea has been used sporadically in several of my 'normal' dictionaries - mostly the monolingual ones which have secret, but unrealistic ambitions about becoming true encyclopedias.

So why use pictures in dictionaries? The use in monolingual dictionaries is logical because the alternative would be a verbose explanation in the same language. There re two cases: pictures with one motive and pictures that illustrate a 'semantic field'. For me there is no doubt that the latter can be useful. For example you can show an old ship with sails, and you can point to each sail and give its name. Even though you didn't know that those sails even had names you now learn both that they have names and what thoe names are. Such a picture has the same value for a learner as a tematical wordlist, and at least for those learners who remember pictures reasonably well they may be more effective than a list with twenty words with explanations -
and they are certainly more effective than a list of twenty words without explanations. But in the example you still don't know whether the terminology is general or restricted to ships of a given type or from a certain period.

Now move this idea to a bilingual dictionary and assume that you give the name for each sail in both languages (with a comment if the naming conventions in the two languages aren't parallel or if there are restrictions on period and type of setting). In this way you fuse just about every kind of memory hooks into one complex spurce, and that's just about everything a learner with a taste for images can wish for.

What about pictures of just one thing? This is a completely different story. If you don't know the thing on the picture it doesn't help you much. A multiword picture wouldn't help you either if you much if you didn't already know the general setting, but if you could see for instance five different kinds of Greek vases with a name for each one you would be able to distinguish them later. With just one vase you can see that it is some kind of pottery, oh yeah, but you don't have a clue whether the word attached to the picture is a general word for pottery or a specific word for for instance a big vase from Attica with two handles. In the bilingual case yoou can at least be lucky to know the name in your own language, and then you may be so extremely lucky that the foreign word covers the same set of uses - but you are just as likely to misinterpret the picture unless there also is an explanation. For abstract notions an explanation in words will normally be more effective (or maybe a film AND an explanation).

So in the monolingual case a picture with several concrete items can be useful, but it is a hit or miss operation to show pictures with just one item. In the bilingual case both are useful because you have a lifeline back to your base language in the form of a translation, but the multi-item picture is by definition more useful because it allows for comparisons, subdivision of semantical fields and for filling out lacunes in otherwise known semantical fields - even when these don't correspond exactly with the organisation of the semantical field in your base language.

With pictures that don't show concrete things the usefulness is more than questionable. The old adage - the one that claims that one picture say as much as 1000 words - may be caused by cases where the picture left you totally perplex, and even 1000 words of babble couldn't hide that. Which is one reason why systems like Rosetta Stoned fail - if you don't know exactly which element or interpretation you should look for in a picture then it has utterly and completely failed its task. And the more abstract the notion you want to illustrate is, the less likely it is that any picture can help you.

We have sometimes discused learner types, and one of the types that has been discussed is the 'visual' learner. In the few tests I have seen described the researchers believed that this could be tested by showing a learner a picture of something and saying a word (as an alternative to saying a word and giving an verbal explanation or a translation). But then we are back in the case with one word and one kind of Graecian Urn from above, which I characterized as less useful. It would be much better to test the effectiveness of visual clues by showing five Greek vases and the corresponding words, as opposed to five vases and five definitions in words. If you operate with one word one picture then it is in a totally different situation, namely the one where a learner uses an image as a memory hook. But then the learner should supply the image him/herself to make it work - and the funny thing then is that the image doesn't even have to be a picture of the thing you want to remember, which no researcher to my best knowledge has noticed. For instance you could remember the word "royaume" (Kingdom) in French by using a picture of Siegfried and Roy with their tigers as your trigger, just to give one example. The verbally oriented learner would prefer a reference to the English word "royal", maybe with an element that pointed to the element "-aume" ('royal rhum'?)     
   

Edited by Iversen on 03 February 2012 at 9:16am

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kiwiviktor81
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Australia
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 Message 227 of 255
14 January 2012 at 12:04pm | IP Logged 
For long term recall and integration into a body of previously learned words, mnemonics beat the snot out of anything I know. Mnemonic learning of Swedish was the subject of my Master's degree and the participants in the mnemonic condition thrashed the control group.

Numbers, very common words and words that have an obvious connection to your native language (comparar in Spanish vs. to compare in English) are probably better left to rote, but if you want to stuff 3,000 words into your head without falling victim to proactive interference, give mnemonics a try.

Edited by kiwiviktor81 on 14 January 2012 at 12:04pm

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Doitsujin
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Germany
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 Message 228 of 255
14 January 2012 at 12:59pm | IP Logged 
kiwiviktor81 wrote:
Mnemonic learning of Swedish was the subject of my Master's degree and the participants in the mnemonic condition thrashed the control group

Can you post a link to the .pdf of your Master's thesis?
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slucido
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 Message 229 of 255
14 January 2012 at 6:47pm | IP Logged 
Doitsujin wrote:
kiwiviktor81 wrote:
Mnemonic learning of Swedish was the subject of my Master's degree and the participants in the mnemonic condition thrashed the control group

Can you post a link to the .pdf of your Master's thesis?


Maybe something like this one:

THE EFFECT OF THE INTEGRATED KEYWORD METHOD ON VOCABULARY RETENTION AND MOTIVATION

http://www.keyword-method.de/own_docs/pdf/thesis.pdf


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Doitsujin
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 Message 230 of 255
14 January 2012 at 8:03pm | IP Logged 
slucido wrote:
Maybe something like this one:
THE EFFECT OF THE INTEGRATED KEYWORD METHOD ON VOCABULARY RETENTION AND MOTIVATION

Thanks for the link, but I already knew this thesis.
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Balliballi
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 Message 231 of 255
21 January 2012 at 10:16pm | IP Logged 
I think vocalizing the word helps one to remember the word. Your aural brain becomes involved in the memorization process. You can repeat the word out aloud many times: twenty times, thirty times ...

Additionally, writing a sentence with the word contained in it is helpful. I think it's better if you make your own sentences up.

The problem I have is that I don't spend enough time with each word. I tend to move too quickly from word to the next, before I've had time to really process the first word in my mind.

The thing that helps recall is seeing the word again and again. Reading is helpful for this. Also, watching and listening to media.

I am interested in NLP techniques for helping people to remember words.

I wonder if someone has knowledge of this area.

I think making a color association or giving oneself some physical stimulus like tapping, prodding or pinching or even sniffing some pleasant scent as a reinforcement may work.

Mnemonics helped me a lot. I can still remember the mnemonics I made up for certain words a few months ago. However, for some words that were hard to make mnemonics for, it wasn't worth the effort and time in retrospect. Some people are really good at making mnemonics. I am so-so.

Looking up words is the least enjoyable activity for me especially when it's hard to find the word because it only appears in the body of the definition of another word or there are many homophones.

Spaced review is helpful but not reviewing too much, just the previous day's words perhaps. I get confused when the review extends too far back.

I personally like to make my own word lists in a notebook or notepad. I write the word down and the definition next to it. Then I write a sentence using the word.

I then try and memorize a list of words I've made.

Reading texts that are very difficult for your current level may also be helpful. You will pick up many obscure words that you won't use in every day conversation, but it will be handy for later when you read high-level stuff and it also impresses people when you use these difficult words (lol). At first, you may have to use the dictionary for every second word and have difficulty comprehending the sentence, but in time, your comprehension will improve, you will have to look up words less and less, and you will actually start to enjoy the reading material. I remember I used this method to read Wuthering Heights when I was eleven years old.

My main problem is that I am too much of a perfectionist. I can't let go of things I don't understand and just move on from them. I can waste interminable minutes or hours on just one sentence I have trouble understanding. I should really forget about the problematic sentence, and study something else, but I can't. For me, it's like leaving an itch unscratched.

Making a word association with an image in one's mind is something I am going to explore. For example, if I am trying to learn the word "parcel", I will think of myself holding a parcel and standing in a queue in the post office. I will visualize the word "parcel" flashing in big letters over the parcel.

Taking this one step further, I will imagine I am in the same post office with the parcel in my hands and the clerk is asking me what I want to do. In the TL, I reply, "I want to send the parcel to my sister in –––––." A good dictionary that lists collocations for words can help you create a credible sentence in the TL. This method forces me to use the word to communicate something.

Then I will repeat the word several times. First I will say the word slowly, clearly sounding out each syllable, and then after this, I will say it faster and more naturally. I will write the word out in Romanization as this assists me with the sounding out of the word (I am learning Korean and I still think in Romanization when I sound out words though less than before). Then I will also think up a mnemonic for that word and spend a minute visualizing the mnemonic in my mind.

In this way, the visual and aural parts of my brain are actively used to learn things.

If I work out a way of using NLP techniques, my subconscious brain will also be involved in memorizing words.

Edited by Balliballi on 21 January 2012 at 10:28pm

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atama warui
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Japan
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 Message 232 of 255
22 January 2012 at 10:23pm | IP Logged 
Balliballi wrote:
My main problem is that I am too much of a perfectionist. I can't let go of things I don't understand and just move on from them. I can waste interminable minutes or hours on just one sentence I have trouble understanding. I should really forget about the problematic sentence, and study something else, but I can't. For me, it's like leaving an itch unscratched.

I can relate to that :) In my experience, sometimes it's better to let go. There might be something missing, so that specific piece of the puzzle just won't fit yet. It'll fall in place later, and you'll ask yourself why you didn't get it the first time.
I remember when I sat down and desperately tried to figure out the difference between について and のこと because I thought there was some kind of nuance of way-to-use I missed, when in reality, there's no such difference - they're completely unrelated grammar points. ^^


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