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How to learn German fast part 6.5

How to learn German fast part 6.5

On memory and memorisation

There are many things about memory and memorisation that need to be dealt with before you progress in any language course, especially German. This will be a short and intense article on memory and on memorisation with respect to language.

As I have said, the way to memorise is actually this, in terms of the old school of thought:
repetition, recitation, revision, overlearning, and testing.

This method can help you literally grind terms into your long term memory by brute force, but here I will talk about how the memory works with respect to language learning and then on memorisation in particular with respect to language learning as well. For those of you with perfect memories or excellent knowledge of learning techniques, you may wish to skip this section.

As human beings, our memory with respect to language learning functions using sight, sounds and kinesthetic movement. These are all my opinions backed up by medical science, common sense and experiences. Note that we have five senses - sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing, and touching, smelling and tasting are not of use with respect to language learning for the purposes of this post, here on this blog.

Sight is for things like the written word, where we can see how the word looks like. It is also related to pictures and when we see pictures, we can get a mental image. This operates by sight. Sound is for our sense of hearing, when we hear a word and can understand what it means. In addition, when we speak we can hear ourselves and thus that also helps us with our language learning, because when we speak we can also hear ourselves while picturing images or words in our minds. Kinesthetic movement is not that important, but for some people, moving their hands and legs enables them to learn language faster and more efficiently.

Now, when we understand that sight and sound play an important role in our memories, we can now analyse why the old and traditional brute force memorisation method actually works:

reading something, we get to use the sight of the words to help us remember

reciting something, we get to hear the word, and if we are looking at the page, we see the word, and if we articulate the word crisply, it is a form of movement that enables us to move our lips in the correct position for the word

overlearning means that we see and hear the word more often than we should, and that makes it familiar and more easily memorised

and so on. That shows that there was some wisdom in the rules of brute memorisation after all, with respect to language learning.

Now I will suggest two more ways of memorisation that appeal to sight and sound and are not brute forces:

1. mental images

2. exaggerated sounds

The first method of memorisation with respect to language learning is to create a mental image of that object and then attach the word to it. If you have a good imagination, see the object in your mind and then attach the German word to it, or for that matter, attach any word to it, and you will find that the word and the image go hand in hand.

The second method is to exaggerate. Note that you can indeed have exaggerated images in the first method of memorisation, but in this second case, exaggerate the sound of a word, or a phrase. This works out well initially and will help you imitate language better in future when you meet native speakers.

For instance, ich bin hier.
EEEEECCH (screeching sound without the s), BIN, as in dustbin, and "HERE". You will remember this exaggerated sounding phrase for life.

Or ausgezeichnet (how the heck does a total beginner work this out, let's say?)

Break it down:
aus ge zeich net

Then apply the exaggeration:

and wunderbar! even a beginner cannot forget this word.

There are many other ways to learn a language and memorise the many words that you need to do. All the best, and stick to the programme; it'll work out fine.

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