How to memorize foreign words?

Learning a foreign language is an exciting process. In modern realities, knowledge of other languages ​​is a professional necessity for many. Someone without knowledge of the language feels uncomfortable in a foreign resort, someone yearns to communicate with foreigners in social networks, someone closely cooperates with representatives of foreign companies. But everyone is equally faced with the same problem — how to remember more foreign words faster.

Traditional Methods

Experts advise memorizing foreign words using various methods.

But before deciding which memory technique is right for you, you need to determine what your personal memory mechanisms are. It is easier for some to see once than to hear a hundred times, while for others it is the other way around.

In other words, for some, associative memorization prevails, others can memorize quickly only figuratively, and others can memorize tactilely. After you have identified yourself in one or another group, choose the method by which you better remember foreign phrases.

Memorization mechanisms are as follows.

  • Mechanical. A new word must be written down in a notebook as many times as necessary so that it is firmly fixed in memory. This method is suitable even for Japanese and Chinese characters, not to mention English words.
  • Yartsev method. This method bears the name of the author of several foreign language textbooks. His idea is this — the notebook sheet should be divided into several columns. There you should write down the word, its translation, as well as synonyms, antonyms, examples in speech. From time to time, the scientist recommends simply browsing this page, without memorizing anything. The effectiveness is explained by the fact that you do not dwell on the thought of learning words at any cost by a certain date, but read thoughtfully and carefully.
  • Visual. A method for those who prefer a creative approach to the issue. You should cut a bunch of small pieces of paper (you can buy a whole block of multi-colored small leaves at the stationery store). On one side we write the phrase, on the other — the translation. We sort through the cards in a circle, put aside those words that have already been remembered, but sometimes return them to the “deck” to repeat the material covered.
  • Double visualization. Another way for those who remember what they see better than what they hear. Fold a piece of paper in half. Write the foreign word on one side and the translation on the other. First, use an unfolded piece of paper, then unfold it only if you need to help yourself or check yourself.
  • Associative. Paste the name of the refrigerator in the language you need on a piece of paper, hang another piece on a mirror with a word denoting an object in a foreign language, and so on.
  • Auditory. Turn on the recording with new words performed by the announcer and repeat after him. Usually such records come with a foreign language textbook, but if not, they are easy to find separately on the Internet.

Optimization methods

There are several ways to optimize the process.

  • Group words according to meaning. For example, you need to learn the word «warmth». Write down «cold», and also «hot» and «cool». This will make it easier to remember them.
  • Group words according to grammatical features. For example, first nouns are feminine, then masculine. Verbs can be grouped according to the type of endings. Linked words are always easier to remember.
  • Group words into sentences. Even if they carry the most delusional meaning. Break the 50 words you want to learn into 10 such sentences.
  • Group the same root words. It also helps me remember new words faster than usual.

Spaced repetitions

This rule works not only when you are learning a foreign language. It is recommended to apply to all new knowledge. As for a foreign language, here it works like this. You have mastered a chain of ten words. Repeat it after ten minutes, then after an hour, then after 12 hours, after a day, after three, a week, two, a month, two, and so on. This will ensure the training of long-term linguistic memory.


A very common method of learning new words. Its meaning is that for each word you need to come up with an image that will be so vivid that you simply cannot forget it.

For example, in Turkish, “glass” sounds like a “mess”, and there is no need for special imagination. In Turkey, they even joke about this topic — «It’s a mess all around.» So, how do you say «glass» in Turkish? You see, super-memory is not needed at all for this.

Practical Tips

You can always come up with your own way of learning a language that suits you, and, perhaps, later you will become the author of a unique technique.

Just do not forget to write down your thoughts in a notebook, preferably in the same one where you make a list of new words that you want to learn. This will help you quickly identify the right technique.

Watch films in a foreign language, listen to radio and songs, read the press and books in that language. If possible, communicate with native speakers.

For how easy it is to memorize English words, see the video.

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