So I’ve been reading how Dominic O’Brien learns foreign language words in his book “How to develop a perfect memory”
He provides an example:
The German word is “teller”, the English definition is “plate”.
German “teller” -> English “plate”
The Key image comes from foreign Word: a bank teller
The Location comes from the definition: restaurant (since you can find many plates there)
Now he places the key image into the location, and the key image is also interacting with the definition, so the bank teller is counting piles of money on a very large plate.
My native language is English already, however, I would love to apply this approach towards memorizing an English dictionary, like Websters for example.
If any of you have seen the video of Ed Cooke interviewing Dr. Yip Swee Chooi, you’ll know what I mean.
I think I get the reasoning behind Dominic generating location from the definition, it’s so you can work from the definition back to the foreign word, and also group sets of words based on meanings, grammar, etc.
But what about Yip’s approach, in his case, he has a location (filled with individual loci) that corresponds to each single page of the dictionary. And, as far as I can tell, his approach is more like a traditional memory palace, in that it is ordered. Frankly, I’m shocked that he has so many memory palaces, and has well-defined orders for them.
I think the longest memory palace I’ve got features about 100 loci… (sigh), which (unless I tried to encode multiple words into a single loci, which I hesitate to do) would only net me a measly 100 words.
Another problem I have with Dominic’s approach is that, for a great deal of definitions, I can’t seem to generate or find a location that is vivid enough. Let me give you an example, the word “queenfish”, which is defined as: A blue and silver fish which lives in the shallow waters off the coast of California.
Now naturally, the definition being that it is a kind of fish, I could easily pick a location for this particular fish, an aquarium, the ocean, etc. However, even though I have been to an aquarium before, I don’t really have any strong visual recollections of it. So when I put the key image into the aquarium, it’s really an aquarium in the abstract sense of the word, which I’m pretty sure is a no-no. And this is going to sound absurd, but the closest thing I have to a visual image of an aquarium is a random episode of the Simpsons where Homer Simpsons is fighting with a friend of Barts at a SeaWorld type amusement park.
And what happens when I encounter other fish words in the dictionary, I’m afraid of putting them in the same aquarium(or Simpsons episode aquarium).
As silly as it may sound, I have a ton of rich imagery from cartoons, fantasy movies, which could fit the bill for being locations, heck, I’ve seen so many episodes of the Simpsons, that I could probably conjure up an associative visual image for almost any potential definition. However, I’m a little apprehensive of making use of virtual locations, not to mention multiple different virtual locations(like one from Lord of the Rings, one from Simpsons, etc etc)
I know that Dominic places all his foreign words in a single city, but this just seems impossible for me. I live in an extremely urban environment, where, unfortunately, many of the buildings are highly uniform in their construction, making finding distinct markers somewhat difficult.
So what do you guys think? Any pointers about memorizing words and definitions? Any ideas about this? Again, this is for a standard English dictionary, no foreign languages/no translations involved.