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How to memorize words in English: effective and non-boring methods

How to memorize words in English: effective and non-boring methods

We share recommendations that will help you memorize new vocabulary forever and successfully apply it in speech.

Almost everyone who learns English faces the problem of memorizing vocabulary. The problem is not only in memorizing new words, but also in recalling previously learned words. This can be especially acute when you need to reproduce an oral or written speech yourself — suddenly it turns out that all the words have slipped your mind and it is impossible to find the right word.

In order to remember words for a long time, you need to store them in your long-term memory. Unlike short-term memory, which is used for here-and-now situations, long-term memory is capable of holding huge amounts of information that is stored in it for countless amounts of time.

Today we want to present you with proven methods and techniques for memorizing foreign words that are aimed specifically at activating long-term memory.

Creating flashcards

This is probably the most traditional and familiar method for many people to memorize new vocabulary: write the word on one side and its translation on the other. Despite the fact that this technique is not a novelty, it still does not lose its relevance and effectiveness. Today, however, electronic cards have also been added to the classic paper cards.

Electronic cards have a number of advantages over paper cards. First, they are faster and easier to create. Also, many applications for learning words with cards already store a database of ready-made lists of words on various topics — you can simply add them to your own. Created cards can be immediately provided with a picture or additional explanation, and the ability to listen to the pronunciation of the word is automatically built into the application. Secondly, it is worth noting the convenience of storage — all the words are in one device. Thirdly, in addition to the cards, special applications also offer playful ways to memorize words.

However, many people still remain loyal to simple paper cards, and the effectiveness of using them is also valid. When we write words by hand, the process engages other parts of the brain, which better facilitates the creation of new neural connections.

If you still decide to resort to the help of modern technology, then such applications as Quizlet, Memrise, Anki will help you.

Making up a story

This is another effective way to memorize words that taps into your creativity. Let's say you have ten words to learn — just make up a story in which all of them are used. The harder level is to build a story using the words exactly in the order in which they are given. It is not at all important that the story be logical and structured. Sometimes, the more absurd and funny, the better, because then the process of memorization will be supported by emotions.

For example, we have five words: garlic, success, currency. We make up a story like this: Tom worked hard on a garlic farm. Finally he achieved great success and his boss paid him a salary. Tom was glad to receive his salary in foreign currency and left this job.

Memorizing words in context

To ensure that a single word does not get lost in the sea of others and that we memorize its meaning accurately, it is worth learning it in context. That is, literally next to the new word, write out the whole sentence in which you encountered it. You can also look up examples of its use in English-English dictionaries, and in the end, you can come up with at least one sentence on your own.

For example, write out the word advertisement. Place a sentence next to it: I saw an advertisement for the new restaurant that opened in town.

Using mnemonic techniques

Mnemotechnique is a very powerful tool for memorizing words, even though it may seem tricky at first glance. This method works on memorizing words through association. In doing so, it involves many different variations. It can involve associating an English word with consonant words from your native language or other foreign words.

Or we need to remember the word tyre, it sounds almost like the word tired. Put it together: you can be tired if you need to pump a tire.

Illustrations can also be used in this technique. For example, to memorize the expression I can't bear it, you can draw or find a picture of a bear carrying something heavy.

Creating Mindmaps

Mindmaps are among the associative methods for memorizing words. In the center we place a word, a concept, or a general idea. For example, we write the word medicine. And then from this word we draw lines and write other related words, for example, doctors, drugs, disease, from which even narrower concepts can follow. In this way, a very broad and structured network of words can be obtained, with the possibility of repeating familiar words and learning new ones. In addition, this vocabulary can also be accompanied by pictures and illustrations to build stronger associations with the terms.

Using the Aivazovsky method

We all know the great artist Ivan Aivazovsky and his attention to detail when working on his paintings. By the way, he painted most of them from memory. It is this peculiarity of the artist that can be adopted for learning English. So, the task of this method is as follows: you need to consider some place, landscape or object for a few minutes, then close your eyes and try to describe what you see in the smallest detail in English. Alternatively, you can simply choose pictures on the Internet on a particular subject and describe them.

Repeat as often as possible

One of the most important rules for memorizing new vocabulary and moving it into your long-term memory is systematic repetition. It is recommended to repeat the studied material with the following frequency: 1) immediately after learning or writing it down; 2) after 20-30 minutes; 3) after a day; 4) after two or three weeks.

Choosing the right method

As we have found out, there are a huge number of different techniques for memorizing new vocabulary in English. However, what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it is recommended to try different techniques and stop at those that are suitable for you. After all, each of us has different preferences, memory and thinking skills.

Putting it into practice

Still, there is one method that works for everyone without exception. It is necessary to put what you have learned into practice. It is best to immediately reinforce new words in speech when communicating with friends or in class during speaking practice. You can also use new vocabulary in writing, such as going to English-language content on social networks and leaving a comment or even writing an extended review on an English-language website. Don't forget the English expression "Use it or lose it".

Learn English with professionals

To learn as much new vocabulary as possible, practice it and use it effectively, you need to take language learning seriously. Sometimes learning English on your own can be difficult. It is best to seek out professional tutors to help you learn in a systematic way.
At ILAC English Language School in Canada, teachers will help you not only to expand your vocabulary and memorize all the necessary vocabulary, but also to develop other language skills. The school employs native speaking teachers who teach students using the most up-to-date methods and materials. Sign up for classes at ILAC to make your journey into the world of English fun and productive.

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