(Note - This article was published on the English Harmony Forum)
As technology advanced and civilizations were allowed to record and externalize information, the art of memory lost its power. Many people complain that they have bad memory, forgetting that this amazing feature of the human brain can be trained. And the training is critical for language learners who need to memorize plenty of information regarding the grammar, syntax, or vocabulary of the language they’re learning.
Here are 5 smart memory improvement tips to help you in learning a new language!
1. Take advantage of mnemonics
The word “mnemonics” derives from Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory. A mnemonic is basically any device that helps to memorize a piece of information – for example, a verse or a formula.
Memory isn’t about repeating a fact until it’s rammed into your brain. It relies on imagination.
Learning and memory are both creative processes. When memorizing new pieces of information, you form connections between disparate acts to create something new. Make sure that the image you create stands out, that’s how you’ll remember it for the years to come.
2. Learn from context
Context is key to language learning, especially to memorizing words and phrases. Context allows to understand phrases we didn’t know before, but also to memorize new information more effectively.
It’s not easy to remember isolated facts. Context helps us to chunk new information in a meaningful way.
Next time you’re learning new vocabulary, don’t rely on single words, but combine them into chunks. Recognize new information in these contextual chunks, and build a story around your words. You’ll instantly see a difference in your ability to remember these new expressions.
3. Connect knowledge with emotions
Nothing helps to memorize new information like emotions. Research shows that emotions can double the amount of information you can remember.
By relating facts to emotions and imagination you’ll remember them easily. It pays to be genuinely interested in what you’re learning. Be excited and passionate about the new language. When facing new vocabulary, names, or concepts, try to reflect on how pleasant they seem to you.
Put your skills into action and talk to people in this language. Browsing boring grammar books will only make your brain reject the new information.
4. Make analogies and associations
Memory is closely connected to the way in which you learn. It’s less about what takes place in the time between you learn a new fact and when you try to recall it.
That’s why learning the right way the first time round can make a huge difference in how much you’ll be able to recall later.
To boost your memory, you need to make connections between old and new ideas. When learning a new word or concept, connect it to other words and information from your imagination and experience. Analogy and metaphor are both excellent to connect new and old knowledge.
Use your past learning to create pathways towards memorizing new information.
5. Visualize new knowledge
Next time you encounter a new word or phrase, try to visualize it and associate it with your imagery rather than simply translating it to your native language in hope that you’ll remember its meaning.
Create your memory palace. This is called the method of loci, and it was invented over 2000 years ago. Your memory palace should be a place you know and can easily visualize. Then populate that imagined space with information you’d like to remember.
Use these 5 memory improvement techniques to boost your language skills and memorize new information like never before.