It's easy to learn 100+ words a day with the correct approach Watch

Neil_K
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I just have to write this, because I feel the way most students go about learning vocabulary is really inefficient. They will literally write down lists and try and memorize words by rote, parrot fashion, trying to 'force' the words into their brain. This always fails and leads to frustration because you are not using any 'memory hooks' to learn the words easily and to remember them.

All you have to do to learn and REMEMBER any word is simple. 1) Read/listen to the pronunciation of the word you want to learn, then 2) Think of a word in English (or whatever you native language is) that sounds like this word, then 3) Make a 'mental association' visualisation in your mind linking the 2 words together.

I'll give you an example. The Spanish word for bread is 'Pan'. This obviously sounds like the word 'pan' in English. So now you could visualise in your head a large loaf of BREAD being boiled in a PAN. Exaggerate things, make the image colourful, bright, make the images into little absurd cartoons etc. This all helps you remember words easily!

So then whenever you wish to remember what BREAD is in Spanish, you would visualse the image and immediately think 'PAN'.

This is not a new technique by any means, but I still don't get why many language students don't use it and instead try and 'force' the vocab into their head.

After a while, you won't need the 'mental image' anymore; you'll just KNOW the words you've learned, and that is where you want to be at. But to initially learn a word, make the mental image in your head.

I can learn 100 words or more an hour in any language, AND retain them. In fact for the past few days, I have learned 100 words a day in Spanish and 100 words a day in Japanese.

Using this simple technique, you will effortlessly be able to remember all your vocabulary. You should be aiming to learn 100 or more words a day.

The nest step is to use flash cards to test yourself on the vocab you've learned. Download some free flash card software or Google vocab lists as flash cards in your target language. The flash cards will randomly mix up the vocab for you so you can test yourself on the words you've learned.

Once you've learned the 100 words that day, test yourself with flash cards, then come back the next day and test yourself again on those 100 words. Then if you do well, learn another 100 words and repeat this process every day.

For around 1 hour of learning and 30 minutes or less testing (so no more than 1 and a half hours a day, maybe less if you become efficient at this), you can EASILY learn 100+ words.

I did some research and if you can learn the 3000 most used words in any language, you will understand 80% of the language. And if you can learn the 5000 most common words in any language, you will be able to understand

(Proof of this claim: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com...any-words.html)

Therefore, if you commit to learning 100 words a day in your target language, within 50 days (i.e. less than 2 months), you will have 90% of the vocabulary you need.

And if you learn the grammatical structure of the language and start speaking it straight away and practice each day, you'll be on your way to mastery and fluency in the most efficient way.

Good luck.
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screenager2004
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I don't know, it's easy for simple words like "bread" and "car" - but when you need to learn words like "Carbon Dioxide" or "Greenhouse Gases" or "Mathematical Sociology" or "vegetarianism" - the method doesn't work so well... it's better to learn the words naturally like a child would rather than invent bizarro mental images!
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Neil_K
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(Original post by screenager2004)
I don't know, it's easy for simple words like "bread" and "car" - but when you need to learn words like "Carbon Dioxide" or "Greenhouse Gases" or "Mathematical Sociology" or "vegetarianism" - the method doesn't work so well... it's better to learn the words naturally like a child would rather than invent bizarro mental images!
This method works even better for more obscure words, and not just basic/easy to pronounce words. All you have to do is break the word up into syllables, and think of something each syllable sounds like in English, and then make the visualisation that way.

Trying to remember words WITHOUT making a mental images means you're not using your brain power to the fullest extent. We remember and recall things not just by sound by by using the power of visualisation as well.

And you state that mental images are 'bizarre', well the ore 'bizarre' you make the images in your mind, the better! Since we remember the bizarre/absurb things more because they stand out. I think children naturally use this approach (as children are naturally creative), it's just that as we move towards and into adulthood we fight these natural instincts.

It should only take you 10 or 20 seconds to remember each word with this approach once you've been using this technique for a while.

I guarantee you'll waste a lot of time trying to remember vocabulary and end up forgetting it if you don't use this approach...so the choice is yours.
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screenager2004
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Okay so take me through it... I want to learn a really simple word: cooking. It's ryouri. How can i break that down into english words?
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i.am.lost
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tl;dr

Are you trying to sell me something?
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Cicerao
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Was never a fan of the mental images except when I learnt hiragana. I don't find them that useful for vocabulary personally, although I agree that trying to memorise word lists is bound to fail. Good luck. x
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BackDoorEntry
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It works more with learning katakana and hiragana, because there are actually shapes to look at and play around with.

I just learn by writing down a conversation script, then speak what ever I need to to keep the convo in the right direction.
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littleshambles
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tbh i'm getting a bit annoyed with you making so many threads in this subforum so i am predisposed to telling you where to stick your advice. also googling it does not count as research.
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asparkyn
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(Original post by Cicerao)
Was never a fan of the mental images except when I learnt hiragana. I don't find them that useful for vocabulary personally, although I agree that trying to memorise word lists is bound to fail. Good luck. x
How did you do it with hiragana? I'm really curious! I've never really needed to use mental images before.

To the OP: As a matter of fact, I hate the mental imaging approach. It just seems vastly inefficient and a complete waste of time. It's all fair and good to associate pan in Spanish with a pan with English, but to do it mentally for millions of words .. it's just going to jumble all your languages up and that will do much more harm than good in the long run.

What's funny is that I never seem to have a problem with remembering words. Maybe you should try remembering words by pretending that you are actually fluent in the language (it massively worked for me with Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish). For example, I can look at a cake and immediately my brain immediately thinks cake (English), kue (Indonesian), kuih (Malay), Dàng?o (Mandarin), Ke?ki (Japanese), el pastel (Spanish), etc etc. It's not really all that hard, anyway.

What I find more difficult though, is not mixing up two similar-but-not-so-similar languages ie. Malay and Indonesian :facepalm: I don't know how many grimaces/confused looks/facepalms I've gotten saying tas instead of beg in Malaysia, or sepatu instead of kasut, mau instead of nak, kayak instead of macam etc etc.. It gets even worse when Malay slang gets thrown into the mix. I have to drop my saya (saye?) and kamu and use I and you/awak instead and whenever I try to speak it just sounds like I'm mocking them (I secretly am, but shh!). It's so frustrating that I just prefer to communicate in English instead. Bah. Then I go back to Indonesia and I start saying kerusi instead of kursi, kerana instead of karena and dapat instead of bisa and I get even more laughs still (though in Indonesia it doesn't happen very often since I don't really slip up, haha!). I'm telling you, all those things about Malay and Indonesian being mutually intelligible, it's a farce! :mad:

Why set a target though? I don't sit down and say 'YAYY I'M GONNA LEARN 123 WORDS TODAY OMGOMG'. I just learn what I can, and usually that's quite enough for me.
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Neil_K
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(Original post by screenager2004)
Okay so take me through it... I want to learn a really simple word: cooking. It's ryouri. How can i break that down into english words?
Ok, that's pretty simple to do! I just checked the pronunciation of this word at the following link http://www.forvo.com/word/osechi-ryori#ja

It's usually used in context, for example osechi-ryori.

So I'd break it up into 3 syllables, to me it sounds like r-your-ee (with the emphasis on the 'your', it's stretched out, and the 'r' is hardly prounounced, anyway since Japanese 'l' and 'r' are similar).

So it's r-YOUR-ee....the first thing I think of here is the phrase 'You're REally good at Japanese cooking'. Or perhaps 'You're EAting my Japanese cooking!' or 'You're even better at Japanese cooking than you are at speaking!' or perhaps 'Your Evening Japanese cooking is ready!'

So picture in your head your Japanese friend saying one of those phrases to you as you sit in their apartment in Tokyo....

So now whenever you think of the word 'cooking', you'll think of your Japanese friend saying one of those phrases, and it will immediately trigger the Japanese word for cooking!

Those are the first things I thought of, but come up with something of your own. If this sound bizaree or strange, it doesn't matter, as long as it helps you remember the word. You can make ANY word into a mental image/English phrase etc to enable you to remember it.

In the Michel Thomas Japanese course, they teach you the Japanese word for 'certainly', which is 'zehi' (not sure about the exact spelling)....and the way the teacher said to remember it is to think of the phrase 'zen certainly heals'. When you think of that phrase, it triggers back 'ze' and 'hi'.

Or the Japanese word for yesterday, which is 'kinou'. To remember, this think 'the key to tomorrow is to know yesterday'.

Or the Polish word for tomorrow is 'Jutro'....(pronounced 'yoot-row')....imagine you're staying at a friend's house and you ask her 'You throw me out tomorrow?'. That'll create an image that'll trigger the word instantly.

There is no right or wrong way to remember using this technique, just be creative and think of the English word/partial word/phrase that sounds like the foreign word/syllable you want to remember! And like I said this should only take a few seconds to think of something, it's not complex at all.
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ragnar_jonsson
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I do this with Chinese characters (and their component radicals).....It doesn't always work, let me tell you.
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Neil_K
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(Original post by littleshambles)
tbh i'm getting a bit annoyed with you making so many threads in this subforum so i am predisposed to telling you where to stick your advice.
Don't read my threads then...simple solution...I mean if I didn't like what was on BBC1 I'd change the channel to something I DID like - same principle here.

(Original post by littleshambles)
also googling it does not count as research.
Googling what doesn't count as research? If I want to find out how many words makes up 80 or 90% of a language, how else am I going to find that out besides Googling it?

And as for this memory technique itself, I didn't find it on Google...I've been using it myself for some time...with success.
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laryxle
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I find that for japanese, this technique works more for kanji than for vocab...when you are writing or reading japanese you will need to know the kanji not the hiragana (at a decent level of japanese) so even if you know that cooking is ryouri that won't really help you write it in kanji.

Thus, I find it better to make a story for the kanji that relates the meaning of the character to it. For example, for the first kanji in rekishi (history) you can make a story using the radicals; if you come to a CLIFF with TREES, you'd better STOP or else you'll be HISTORY, (with the characters for cliff, trees and stop all being the radicals in the kanji). I find this a better method than making stories for vocab.
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Abady.f
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I can't even learn 5 new words a day !
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Neil_K
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(Original post by asparkyn)
How did you do it with hiragana? I'm really curious! I've never really needed to use mental images before.
It's easy to memorise Hiragana, Katakana or in fact any obscure alphabet/writing system using this technique. All you have to do is think of an image/word that the letter reminds you of....for example in Japanese katakana the character for 'su' looks like a person running, so I think of a girl called sue who is running away. When I look at the character for 'su', I immediately think 'Sue, running', which triggers 'su'. After a while, you no longer need to mental image anymore and can looking at the characters and know their sound straight away.

Or the Russian letter for 'ch', looks to me like an upside down chair, so whenever it look at it I think 'chair', ah so it's 'ch'

You can learn ANY writing system, no matter how obscure it looks, in just a few hours with this technique! For more on this read this article:-

http://www.fluentin3months.com/phone...arned-quickly/

(Original post by asparkyn)
To the OP: As a matter of fact, I hate the mental imaging approach. It just seems vastly inefficient and a complete waste of time.
Inefficient? I've found it to be extremely efficient. What I find a 'waste of time' is trying to remember words 'parrot-fashion', only to forget them the next day because I didn't make any mental associations in my mind to remember them. I find it a waste of time to have to relearn stuff I could easy permanently remember with this technique.

If you class this method as 'inefficient', what do you class as efficient then?

(Original post by asparkyn)
It's all fair and good to associate pan in Spanish with a pan with English, but to do it mentally for millions of words .. it's just going to jumble all your languages up and that will do much more harm than good in the long run.
I've not found that at all. The only way you're going to jumble all the words in your head is if you try to learn parrot-fashion or without any memory hooks (which both don't work).

(Original post by asparkyn)
What's funny is that I never seem to have a problem with remembering words. Maybe you should try remembering words by pretending that you are actually fluent in the language (it massively worked for me with Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish). For example, I can look at a cake and immediately my brain immediately thinks cake (English), kue (Indonesian), kuih (Malay), Dàng?o (Mandarin), Ke?ki (Japanese), el pastel (Spanish), etc etc. It's not really all that hard, anyway.
It's true that some words just 'stick' in your mind and you don't need a memory association for them. But if you want to remember a large amount of vocabulary quickly and efficiently AND remember it, there's no way to do that without using memory association.

(Original post by asparkyn)
What I find more difficult though, is not mixing up two similar-but-not-so-similar languages ie. Malay and Indonesian :facepalm: I don't know how many grimaces/confused looks/facepalms I've gotten saying tas instead of beg in Malaysia, or sepatu instead of kasut, mau instead of nak, kayak instead of macam etc etc.. It gets even worse when Malay slang gets thrown into the mix. I have to drop my saya (saye?) and kamu and use I and you/awak instead and whenever I try to speak it just sounds like I'm mocking them (I secretly am, but shh!). It's so frustrating that I just prefer to communicate in English instead. Bah. Then I go back to Indonesia and I start saying kerusi instead of kursi, kerana instead of karena and dapat instead of bisa and I get even more laughs still (though in Indonesia it doesn't happen very often since I don't really slip up, haha!). I'm telling you, all those things about Malay and Indonesian being mutually intelligible, it's a farce! :mad:
I've found that if I try and learn vocabulary from 2 similar languages, it's easy to get mixed up....so that is why for now I am learning very different languages. I would not want to learn Spanish and Portuguese at the same time....though grammar and structure wise they are similar.

(Original post by asparkyn)
Why set a target though? I don't sit down and say 'YAYY I'M GONNA LEARN 123 WORDS TODAY OMGOMG'. I just learn what I can, and usually that's quite enough for me.
Why not set targets? If you have no targets/goals, how can you expect to get anywhere?

I'm all about learning languages in the fastest, easiest and most efficient manner possible, and for ME that means I have to set myself targets.
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Neil_K
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(Original post by laryxle)
I find that for japanese, this technique works more for kanji than for vocab...when you are writing or reading japanese you will need to know the kanji not the hiragana (at a decent level of japanese) so even if you know that cooking is ryouri that won't really help you write it in kanji.
Sure, this technique can be applied to Kanji too...as I said, ANY writing system in the world. And for ANY word in ANY language, you still need to remember how it sounds when you are speaking, so this technique comes in for remembering a word's sound too. When you're speaking Japanese, you don't visualise the Kanji in your mind in order to recall a word - you have to recall how the word sounds PHONETICALLY. So this technique comes into it's own for this too.
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ragnar_jonsson
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Example:



(the character to the left)

kuai (fourth tone) - quickly

the first radical is the heart radical, so when you move quickly your heart is beating faster, and the other characters looks similar to 'ren' (person) with their hair in the air as if they were running. Thus 'quick'!

(I think I've become slightly delusional from doing this with Chinese, but it really works!)
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Neil_K
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(Original post by ragnar_jonsson)
Example:



(the character to the left)

kuai (fourth tone) - quickly

the first radical is the heart radical, so when you move quickly your heart is beating faster, and the other characters looks similar to 'ren' (person) with their hair in the air as if they were running. Thus 'quick'!

(I think I've become slightly delusional from doing this with Chinese, but it really works!)
Yeah, good example....looks like you've got this technique nailed! Thanks, for this example, +rep for you.
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asparkyn
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(Original post by Neil_K)
It's easy to memorise Hiragana, Katakana or in fact any obscure alphabet/writing system using this technique. All you have to do is think of an image/word that the letter reminds you of....for example in Japanese katakana the character for 'su' looks like a person running, so I think of a girl called sue who is running away. When I look at the character for 'su', I immediately think 'Sue, running', which triggers 'su'. After a while, you no longer need to mental image anymore and can looking at the characters and know their sound straight away.
That's my point exactly. It is much faster to learn the characters by living and breathing the language. I pretend that I am a native speaker of the language, and no matter what a ridiculous statement this is, it does work. When I learned hiragana/katakana I was not looking at an 'obscure' language at all, because I pretend that I am already familiar with the language. No native speaker will look at the katakana for su and think 'Oh look, that looks like a girl called Sue running therefore it must be written this way.' It might work if you're a visual learner, but for me it takes so much time staring at a character and trying to think up of a mental association for it. Hence, the inefficiency.

What I do is that I don't associate any words with my native languages, because all it will serve to do is highlight all the differences between the languages you're learning, which is not a wise thing to do, if you ask me.

I never said anything about learning words/characters using a parrot-fashion, did I? And yes, I have read all of Benny's articles, and while I admire the guy very much, I do disagree with his teachings sometimes.

(Original post by Neil_K)
I've found that if I try and learn vocabulary from 2 similar languages, it's easy to get mixed up....so that is why for now I am learning very different languages. I would not want to learn Spanish and Portuguese at the same time....though grammar and structure wise they are similar.
This is true, but it's tempting to take the risk and learn two similar languages at the same time to avoid added trouble with learning languages from other family trees. I don't buy it though. Notice how all the other languages I have some knowledge of are not remotely similar to each other? In my case, I am living in Malaysia, so I have no choice but to learn the language, no matter how ugly I think it is.

(Original post by Neil_K)
Why not set targets? If you have no targets/goals, how can you expect to get anywhere?
You misunderstand me. I do believe in setting targets, but the targets are usually always big ones. I plan on speaking over six languages before I turn 30, and that is a target, no? What I am personally not a fan of, however, is setting mini-targets like that. I don't strive to learn XXX words a day ... I always learn in my own time, and understand in my own time, with my eyes set on the bigger goal down the road.
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asparkyn
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(Original post by ragnar_jonsson)
Example:



(the character to the left)

kuai (fourth tone) - quickly

the first radical is the heart radical, so when you move quickly your heart is beating faster, and the other characters looks similar to 'ren' (person) with their hair in the air as if they were running. Thus 'quick'!

(I think I've become slightly delusional from doing this with Chinese, but it really works!)
Haha, I look at the character and immediately I think 'kuai'. I'm starting to think that lots of people here are more creative than me It's not so much the mental association that helps me remember characters but rather, just the general shape of it. It's following the same logic as how English natives can look at 'itneresting' and immediately think 'interesting', even though the spelling is wrong. My method works by reading in context, and recognising the character, not by associating the word with a particular activity.

Each to their own, I guess
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