Useful Tips

How to learn English words: 7 memorization tips that work


Learning a foreign language (especially new words) is hard painstaking work, impossible without boring hours of cramming, isn't it? Not really. “If you properly use the capabilities of your brain, learning can be a much faster and more exciting process,” said Inna Maksimenko, founder of copyright English courses.

Why do small children who master their mother tongue, as well as polyglot, easily mastering several languages ​​at once, not experience any special difficulties? Inna told us about the effective learning strategies these people use. Take advantage of their secrets, and you will also learn to memorize words much easier and faster.

Strategy 1. Use the power of emotions.

Tell me, what comes to mind when you mention the word honey (honey)? Only an English textbook or an English-Russian dictionary? But people who memorize English words most quickly and easily know how to associate them with something important for themselves.

For example, the same word honey can evoke the image of a beloved girl in memory (after all, that's what Americans call those they love). And if a new word occurs to you in an interesting story, then it will be associated with the emotions that you experience when reading the story. An interesting conversation in English will also help you quickly remember a new word.

Why it works: Any positive emotions activate our ability to learn. After all, they signal that this word refers to something significant for us.

Recommended: Learn English with the help of texts, films, books that interest you. Chat with people of interest to you. Then the experience of such training itself will become a positive emotional factor that will help to remember the words.

Strategy 2. "Embed" a new word in your experience.

"When young children learn their native language," says Inna Maksimenko, they begin to notice a new word in a variety of situations, environments, contexts. " For example, when he first heard the word “white”, a small child begins to repeat it when he sees white snow, white paper, white sugar.

And this is what helps him remember the word quickly and easily.

Why it works: Thus, the brain forms associations with various parts of the previous experience, a new word is associated with the fact that the child already knows well, becomes more familiar and familiar. And to reproduce it in memory, one no longer needs to strain, it is enough just to recall sugar or snow.

Recommended: Use the new word more often in various situations - try to use it by retelling the text, doing homework, practicing English with fellow students, with native speakers.

Strategy 3. Believe in your capabilities.

Tell me, do you have a good memory? Is it easy for you to remember English words? Whatever your opinion of your own abilities, sooner or later it will turn into reality. People who successfully learned English believed in their ability to do this.

Why it works: Self-beliefs often turn into self-justifying prophecies. Mentally repeating that languages ​​are difficult for you, you program your brain to resist learning. "Why memorize these words - your unconscious is sure - after all, nothing will work out anyway."

Recommended: If it seems to you that it is not possible for you to learn languages, try to understand where this belief came from. “It is confirmed by past experience,” you say, “and at school I grabbed three for the language, and at the institute I took the exam twice.” In fact, these events are not at all related to your abilities. The reason for the failure could be poor health, lack of time for preparation, or the fact that you did not need knowledge of the language at that time. Learn to share single failures and your abilities in general, and believe in your strength.

Strategy 4. Remembering forever.

"How long will English language skills remain after your courses?" - many listeners ask. "If I do not use the language, will I not forget it a year after graduation?" The answer to this question also largely depends on the beliefs and motivation of the person himself. People who are successful in learning languages ​​usually believe in their ability to quickly restore knowledge. “When I have such a need, I will quickly remember everything I need,” they say.

Why it works: Our beliefs form not only the ability to perceive information, but also the ability to store it. We can believe that we have a good, in principle, memory - only a little short. “It will fly into one ear and fly off into the other,” we say in such cases, and reality, as always, confirms our expectations.

Recommended: Form an image in your mind of a quick restoration of lost skills. Determine the period of time during which your skills will be restored. For example: "A week of working on the language will be enough for me to remember everything." “Two hours of talking with a foreigner is enough for me to start talking fluently and confidently again.”

How we remember information: types of memory and the Ebbinghaus curve

So, human memory is divided into two types:

  1. Short or operational
  2. Long term

The information entering the brain is first stored in RAM. Over time, depending on the frequency of use, this information becomes a long-term, multi-year memory. As far back as the end of the 19th century, the German psychologist German Ebbinghaus experimentally proved the well-known postulate of a direct kinship between teaching and repetition. During the experiment, Ebbinghaus determined exactly when to repeat new words in order to remember them for a long time, if not forever.

A sad fact: Hermann Ebbinghaus's most valuable discovery is almost never used today. School Analysts and DevelopersSkyeng hopes to change this situation: a mobile word learning application using the Ebbinghaus discovery is currently under development. The application is planned to be released soon - stay tuned for company news.

Many methods suggest learning 100 words per hour or 1000 words in 3 days - and this is possible. But the problem is that, having fallen into short-term memory, new words do not pass into long-term memory: easy come - easy go (which easily comes, easily leaves).

Strategy 5. Remember the goal.

Studies have shown that people with good reason to learn a language can learn it much faster than others. For example, one of the Moscow doctors managed to master English in just a month - knowing that this would allow him to go on an internship abroad. Students who are told that certain words will be required in the next lesson, according to statistics, remember them better than those who are not mentioned.

Why it works: Any undertaking is impossible without good reason, desire, motivation. Motivation gives strength. People who have begun to learn English because it is fashionable often drop out halfway. And if you have a goal, then your chances of successfully mastering the language are much greater.

Recommended: Remember why you are learning English. Perhaps you dream of going to study in the USA, or watching the famous musical "Cats" in the original version, want to get a promotion, or dream of giving lectures in English. Remembering the words, choose, first of all, those that you actively use in Russian.

Strategy 6. To study unconsciously.

A small child easily masters his native language in the process of playing, communicating, learning the world. A person who finds himself in the country of the language being studied quickly “absorbs” dozens and hundreds of new words, along with the features of pronunciation and grammar. But they do not sit above textbooks and do not memorize words on purpose!

Why it works: It's no secret that an ordinary person uses only a tiny fraction of the potential of his own brain. But people who successfully master any language, were able to use the hidden capabilities of their unconscious. It is known that the unconscious learns several times faster than consciousness. This happens in those moments when the consciousness is "loaded" with other activities. For example, while you are watching a movie or talking with a friend, you are focused on the topic of conversation. And at this time, your unconscious remembers new words.

Recommended: Learn English words in practice. For example, read an interesting story, watch movies, listen to audio materials, news and communicate more often with people in English. Then your consciousness will be occupied by the plot, and the unconscious will be able to easily learn new words and expressions. “In our courses,” says Inna Maksimenko, “we don’t learn words on purpose. And, nevertheless, they are easy to remember.”

I hope I convinced you that it’s easy to remember foreign words - it’s real. You just need to set a goal, believe in yourself and start working on the English language. And then, one day, the ability to easily communicate or lecture in the language will become a reality for you.

Word Cards

Ordinary cards from cardboard - a powerful tool for memorizing words. Cut out cards of convenient size from thick cardboard, write English words or phrases on one side, Russian on the other and repeat.

For greater efficiency, take sets of 15-30 cards and learn words in two directions - English-Russian and Russian-English - in four stages:

  1. Acquaintance with words. Browse through cards, uttering words aloud, trying to imagine the objects, actions, and even abstractions that they designate. Do not try to remember the words thoroughly, just get to know them, hook them on a memory hook. Some of the words will be remembered already at this stage, but unreliably.
  2. Repetition of English - Russian. Looking at the English side, remember the Russian translation. Sort through the deck until you can guess all the words (usually 2–4 entries). Be sure to shuffle the cards! Memorizing words with a list is ineffective in many respects due to the fact that words are remembered in a certain order. Cards do not have this flaw.
  3. Repetition of Russian - English. The same, but from Russian to English. This task is a little more difficult, but 2–4 runs are enough.
  4. Fastening. At this point, time the stopwatch. Drive the deck as fast as possible, achieving instant recognition of the word without hesitation. Do 2–4 rounds, trying to make the stopwatch show less time with each round. Remember to shuffle the cards. Words can be driven in both directions, or you can choose one in one (it is better in Russian-English, since it is more difficult). At this stage, you will achieve instant, without translation in your mind, recognition of the word.

It is not necessary to make cards from cardboard, there are convenient programs for creating electronic cards, for example Quizlet. Using this service, you can make voiced cards, add pictures to them, learn in different modes, including games.