Learning a new language is fun, but the amount of memorization it requires can be overwhelming or just plain frustrating. Unfortunately, memorization is necessary to reach fluency, or even to just manage basic conversations.
Seeing results is one of the best ways to ensure that you keep going with your studies. While there is no way to spare you from having to memorize a wealth of words, there some things that you can do to make the process a little less painful and a bit more efficient.
By the end of this article, you should be able to use two things about the language to help you more quickly memorize the words you need to know.
Stressing Syllables to Stimulate the Mind
There currently isn’t an explanation for why this works, but it is clear that stressing syllables is a way that can make memorization much easier for a number of people. The human mind like to focus on sounds when it is stressed. It will put more importance on the word, and is more likely to move what you learned from temporary to permanent memory based on the mere fact that your mind was more interested in the word.
When learning new words, take the time to find out where to place the stress, then say the word out loud. Focus on the part that you are emphasizing. You can largely ignore the rest of the word because it is part of that stressed sound, so your brain will automatically incorporate it the vast majority of the time.
The Beauty of Mnemonics
Mnemonics are not a new concept, but they are something that we forget to use when they should be one of our go to tools for memorization. Use mnemonics to learn a series of words or a group of similar words. You can make a short story based on those 10 words you have to learn by the end of the week to meet your goal. Odds are very good that you will be able to learn the words in just a day or two instead.
Funny or strange stories create an image in your mind that makes recall of the words easy. It makes it much easier for your mind to easily fill the gap between the way a new word sounds and what it means. At some point, you won’t even need the mnemonic or story to recall just what the word means because it will be part of your comfort zone.
Your mnemonics need to be based on syllable stresses. This is both easier to remember and puts emphasis the pronunciation. When you focus on the stressed syllable, it become a lot easier to create a mnemonic that you will remember. It is also a lot more memorable when you hear the word pronounced. As soon as you hear a native speaker pronounce the word, your mind will tune in to the stressed syllable and will interpret the rest of the words based on what you recognized.
Basing the stories on the stressed syllable also makes it easier to remember what your story was. If you spend more time trying to remember the story instead of focusing on learning the words, you are not going to progress very quickly in your learning.
The best thing about mnemonics based on stressed syllables is that you will able to pronounce things correctly, meaning you will sound more like a native speaker than someone who focusses on the entire word.
Take the time to learn where each of your new words is stressed every single time, even if you do not make a mnemonic device from it. You want to learn the right pronunciation instead of having to relearn the word later.