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Tips for remembering vocabulary


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Old September 03, 2008, 04:13 AM
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Hi, something that I've found usefull and also seems to help my students in class is to create a "mindmap" of asscociated words, this helps to strengthen your brains concept of how the words are related. If you google for MINDMAPS or WORDWEBS you will get an idea of this. You can draw them by hand but there is also software available to create them on the computer. Unfortunately I use Linux on my laptop so I can't advise on any Windows programs for this.
I hope this helps.
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Old September 03, 2008, 09:58 AM
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Don't apologize for using Linux. That's not unfortunate at all, IMO.

Mindmaps are a good idea, they help you associate related works.
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Old September 03, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Suniken you don't worry for the use Linux, for me Linux is the better software than Windows, if you know that thanks to Linux and Dos, Windows was created, I don't know driver well the Linux, but I'd like to learn use him, I'm Computation Engineer, and I'm glad that you use the Linux as first software, and referent to the Mindmap, I've thought that it's great idea, I'm not teacher but I think that to me, it could help me much in my learning above English, always there're methods in the world of the languages for it would be easier of learn without so much sacrifice, I think you must use that method in your learning also your pupils must use them.
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Old September 03, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Perhaps my use of "Unfortunately" was unfortunate, I used it that way just in case I had lots of questions from Windows users. But it appears there are quite a few mindmapping programs for windows too.
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Old September 05, 2008, 03:30 AM
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I have never been very good with my memory, but since moving to Spain in January I have struggled with the language. On the plus side, all my neighboroughs are Spanish and so I try to speak to them even it is just to say hello. Each day my confidence builds but my memory still fails me !!! Instead of words I am now using sentances, for various situations I find myself in and can picture the sentance and the situation in my head. It seems to be working a lot better than 'una palabra - una dia'. I am trying to concentrate on conversational spanish and pronunciation, hopefully the many verbs and verb endings will come later !!
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Old September 05, 2008, 06:00 AM
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There's a whole school of thought that believes that's the best way to learn a language. After all, that's how children learn to speak, but I like to know what each word means. I think using both methods gets most motivated adults on the track, but everbody works differently. Good luck in your learning experience. What an adventure it must be to be submerged in an environment where the language and culture are a little different!
Me ayuda si corrige mis errores. Gracias.
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Old October 02, 2008, 08:36 AM
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podcasts of news in spanish is a great way to learn, you put them on your ipod and away you go, plus you've always got them on hand.

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Old October 20, 2008, 12:21 PM
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I have been studing spanish a while now and what has made me move up a big step is going through the Practice makes perfect Spanish Verb Tenses book and doing the exercises. I found doing the sentences after each part I read made me remember more. It is a very interesting book and it also helps greatly with the subjunctive tense.
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Old October 30, 2008, 12:23 PM
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I agree with ramses that a software based "spaced repetition" program is the way to go. There are many options and alternatives when it comes to programs, but the basic idea is that the program keeps track of how well you remember each of your words or expressions individually, and then asks you about them when it's time. My experience was that I looked up words many times before I even tried to remember them. And then... I still couldn't come up with their proper meaning after a while.

So now, when I encounter a new word, I write it into the program, while I try to think of a creative way of remembering it. Lights, action.. and some memorable scene, please, while I say the word out loud. But even so, I'm glad that I'll be asked by the computer to explain (to myself) the meaning of the word when the time comes. If I fail, the program will bug me more on that word later. Since I'm on a roll, here's what it's asking me today (of 53 words total):

facha f <- I put the f there to tell myself that it is a female noun. Hmmm... now, what was that...

facade, face? Something like that, right? Let's see.

I had put in "a look, face", as the answer. Great. Now I'll grade myself "good" (not "bright", really). If I look at the statistics, I'll see that this word was last asked 164 days ago, and after I press "good", it will come again in 289 days. So this is a word that I know well, the program won't bother me with it for a long time. The next word is:

impugnar v <- yes, a verb.

well, I already have this in my brain, because I failed a few days ago and beat myself up about it. It's to challenge, impugn, defy, or something.. an argument, for example. Let's see.

to contest, challenge, impugn.

Fine. I'll give myself "good" again on that one. This is now going to be asked again in 7 days, because of my previous record, but the number of days will quickly rise if I don't fail again. Note that since I'm Norwegian, I didn't know about the English "impugn" either, so that's a bonus for me.

This system actually works, and especially when it comes to words that are not really in daily use. The words you already know will hardly come up, and the ones you struggle with will hit you again and again until you learn them.

Hope that this is helpful!

¡Muchas gracias por corregirme!

Last edited by Vikingo; October 30, 2008 at 12:29 PM. Reason: typo
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Old November 18, 2008, 03:31 PM
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I believe that the best method for learning vocabulary is to use it. In classroom settings it is very hard to allocate enough time for students to speak using a diverse vocabulary, but if you are dedicated to learning a language you can do it on your own time.

I like to write out sentences I say a lot in English, use an English to Spanish dictionary to find vocabulary that I do not know, and translate the sentence. After I have learned the new vocabulary I just say it aloud to myself during the day. You don't need another person to practice with to learn new vocabulary (although it helps to have one).

I think that focusing on obscure methods of memorization make the problem more complex than it should be. The human brain is an amazing piece of machinery; simple and natural practice often leads to the best results. I believe that this is why full immersion in a language is often the quickest way to learn it.

If you use vocabulary on a regular basis, your brain is not going to forget it.
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