As I mentioned in an earlier post I’m an Australian currently in Tbilisi Georgia, and my only language is English. Instead of trying to learn a few get-by words and phrases in Georgian I decided to use Russian instead. Russian is widely spoken here and has a global presence as well, whereas Georgian is little used outside the Caucasus region.
Anyway, after mastering the Cyrillic alphabet purely out of curiosity, I’m toying with the idea of trying to take my Russian further than just a few words and phrases. And of course mnemonics, in the form of Memory Palaces, has to play a big part in building a vocabulary.
Although I’m no mnemonics expert (having discovered the art quite late in life), I do understand the basics of Memory Palaces and have used them with success in the past.
In one of his language books Anthony Metivier recommends using the Russian word as the keyword that is parked at each location. I thought about this quite a bit and my conclusion is that I don’t particularly like it.
I speak and think in English and it will be a Russian word that I will be trying to come up with for an English word that is in my mind. Yet doing things that way the actual English word may not exist in the MP, but just be represented by a mind picture. And even if the word itself is there, I believe it will be much harder to locate then if it were a keyword.
Seems to me that it would be much simpler and more usable for the English word to be the keyword, and the associated mind picture should provide the pronunciation and meaning. The spelling in Russian characters is omitted but I don’t see that as being very important for basic conversation. And anyway I can read Russian, even if I may not know the meaning of what I’m reading, which is where learning vocab comes i.
Of course I could be missing something, so I would very much appreciate any thoughts on the matter, particularly (but not exclusively) from people who have used Memory Palaces to learn a language.