Many(and I mean it) useful tips you need to learn massive vocabulary with Mnemonics

Ray

I would not say up to 100 words a day. I really never tried to beat that result. I remember the very first time when I start to use mnemonics with english vocabulary: it was at my work (salesman at cash register, small shop). It took me about 3 hours to learn 100 words during doing my duties. So I was pretty distracted. If I had whole day…;]
Anyway I did this. I remember this words to this day and I might surprise u - I never used any kind of Palace. So from this came my question about palace method. I was doing hooks between meanings, I didn’t pin up them to any specific well known mind structure or palace. Believe me, meaning was triggering instantly. So if u ask how many words do I have at my palace, the answer is 0. IF u ask me how many words I know in english: for sure more than 10k, maybe close to 15k. Its hard to say, I read books without a problem.

Maybe its not popular what I say: its not so hard to memorize. The hard part is to organize all these language studies. To organize repetitions, to organize notes etc.

That’s why I find Paulo method really interesting and far more usefull a specially learning phrasal verbs. But first…I must completely understand this, ha ha ha.
I have in my plans to learn spanish. Im willing to use Paulo method. I will share my experience if u wish so.

best regards

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Personally, I believe foreign languages can be learned with many different methods
Part of it depends on a person’s experiences and preferences

I would use pure linking between English word and foreign word for conversational purposes if I didn’t have to cram too much in a short period of time

I would use a memory palace if I had a limited amount of time and a huge amount of data, especially if it wasn’t for purely conversation usage

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I have still some questions after reading the posts.

Until now I have not much experience using mnemonics. At the moment I am learning Spanish on an intermediate level and use the keyword method to improve my vocabulary. My mother tongue is German and I work with a thematically organized frequency dictionary (about 4000 entries)

One day I hope to be able to read more complex novels in the foreign language. You see, I am more interested in passive comprehension skills than in active small-talk/ everyday communication abilities.

Paolos’ Palace Method is here described as more powerful than simple keyword-links for the memorization of huge databases.
What is exactly the difference between this Palace method and the more common keyword-technique? Can anyone explain it with concrete examples for beginners?
How does he proceed? I think, he also uses similarity-associations to create visual mental images and lets interact this imaginary scene at a methodically connected well-known space.

Using only the keyword-linkage, you also usually try to refer in your mental image-creations to situations of everyday life associated to the pragmatic context of the word meaning. Therefore I still find it more difficult to find imaginary representatives visualizing abstract semantic content than to associate similiarities to the foreign word in your mother tongue or the already acquired vocabulary.
Isn’t it more confusing, when you start to learn in alphabetic order? For example all the abstract adjective and adverbial stuff beginning with de(s)-, en- or in-. Is it really easier to memorize it all at the same time related to one virtual/mental room/space. And how does language learning profit especially from the additional spatial connection? Or doesn’t the Memory Palace Method work with the visual transformations of mnemonic agents?

Especially acquiring abstract linguistic information (applying keyword method) needs in the beginning much time and practice. Is the Palace Method really a (less time consuming) way to improve this learning strategy?

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I arranged a little bit my ideas because I am not sure if I could express my questions clearly enough in English (a language I am not so familiar with).

Therefore I render more precisely the question of my first posting on some examples. My intention is to verify if I understand Paolo’s methodical approach aright.

Usually, using the keyword link, you can add typical situational context as background for your mnemonic image. For example you imagine yourself, when memorizing the food vocabulary, in a supermarket or you situate all the vizualizations of the medical terms in a doctor’s office/hospital.
This works much faster with concrete nouns. Sometimes, I represent the more abstract content (for example adjectives) by a person or object I associate to its meaning. For very small expressions I try to visualize myself in a dialogue: e. g. in the case of the german außerdem (esp. además) a conversation with a seller in a bakery where they often ask: Und außerdem?

I know the Memory palace method only in theory as a tool for memorizing conjugation lists in the correct order. E.g. you choose as fourth station (for the first person plural) on your mental journey the desk in your room. Then this desk interacts in your mental imagery with the similarity associated to the verb ending.
The spanish -emos remembers me thermos, then my image hook incorporates an action (corresponding to the verb meaning), in which somehow a thermos jug plays a role. This vivid scene is then finally situated at the desk-locus.

If I understood Paolo’s method aright, he learns each word in an analogous manner. He arranges the alphabetically similar beginning words in groups corresponding to the number of loci on his journey/walk. Additionnally he stores the common key link image connected to a location point, he regularly passes.
Am I right? Or does he abstain from creating a key mnemonic image and encodes the linguistic information in another way before relating it to the memory parcours? Is the traditional visualizing process of the keyword method an unnecessary detour (if you memorize an extensive vocabulary corpus)?

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Hi,

How can you organise alphabetically the words in the loci?

How many loci do you use for every group, for example, the ab-af words?

Do you have to know in advance how many words are to be put in this group?

Thanks

Personal experimentation will answer most of these questions, Vitikindo.

But one thing you can do is just start with a list of ten words that begin with “ab.” Build a Memory Palace journey with ten stations. They could be entire rooms (good for beginners) or just one room with ten stations inside (bed, shelf, lamp, etc.)

Once you’ve got the hang of that, then you can decide just how many words you want to tackle and build a Memory Palace in accordance.

Keep in mind that the point of alphabetization is that it’s an additional aid to recall. That way, when you’re revisiting the Memory Palace journeys to ease the words into long term memory in that fun way only mnemonics can provide, in case the journey itself and the associative-imagery present any problems, the alphabetization itself will act as a guide. It’s almost impossible not to know at least one very huge aspect of the word that comes next! :slight_smile:

And that alone can trigger the entire word (both sound and meaning) without the imagery. Though it is the building of the imagery that helps your mind learn the sound and the meaning in the first place because you’re tapping into creative centers that most language learners don’t use.

Tonnes more resources for you on this matter. Get in touch.

But don’t let thinking and reading about it (activity) get in the way of taking action (accomplishment).

In the words of the Corporation Nike:

Just do it.

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I have tested and really like this technique. I started with a list of about 1500 words in my target language and quite fast I had memorized a about a hundred of the words and then I ran in to a wall.

So for me it was enough to attach an actor + movie/tv series to a letter. For example I have Jessica Alba (Dark Angel) attached to the letter A. I then started to attach words to her/scenes grouped by the first two letters in the word (AB, AC etc) but now I realized my memory palace is breaking down and I’m just at AN.

My issue seems to be that attaching 24 places (A-Z) to one person/movie/tv series is too much. Going up too about 10-15 works fine but then I start to lose track. Anyone else with the same issue and how did you solve it?

To give a full example of what I have right now for one word : aborder = to reach / arrive at

Jessica Alba (A) -> Her abs (AB) -> She tenses them as she arriving at a border she will try to cross
I then make a small journey of the rest of the words in alphabetical order connected to the first word so (aborder -> abords -> abstenir -> abuser)

Right now however I don’t remember “where” I placed J so I have no starting point for all words beginning with AK. Any ideas on how to brake the alphabet down and connect it to a person in more manageable chunks?

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One question, how you are placing an abstract word like ’ accuse of ’ to your memory palace ?

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Turn it into something you can visualize. A courtroom, the witness suddenly stands up and points at a specific person: “THEY DID IT!”. Or use a similar sounding word, or one that reminds you of this one. I can’t think of an example, since I would automatically use the first image, it just makes so much sense.

Bateman

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For abstract words, I put all words of a certain category in one place. Going on Bateman’s story, that’s naturally a very memorable mnemonic, but how do you ensure that this story doesn’t signify “court” or even “accusation” rather than the verb “accuse”? Simple: Have one general area for verbs and a different area for nouns. That way, placing this story in the verb area, it simply couldn’t be anything other than “accuse”.

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Incidentally, many people don’t realize it, but the most frequently used (and most essential) words in Western languages ARE abstract words. So it’s imperative to be proactive and figure out how to deal with these abstract words from the very beginning, ideally giving them their own category so that your mnemonics help you instead of confusing you.

Just going on nouns, you simply can’t survive without the words for “all”, “time”, “much”, “life”, “work”, “reason”, “problem”, and so on, none of which are physical or visual. Although creating mnemonics for visual and physical objects is entertaining, you have to get over the hurdle of abstract words very early on if you genuinely want to conquer a language.

So again, the solution is to designate a certain memory palace area for your abstract nouns. That way, even though your mnemonics are visual/physical, you remember that in each of these cases they actually represent something abstract because of where they’re placed.

My own solution is to take a house and place all my time-related nouns in one room, action-related nouns in another room, amount-related or part-related nouns (“all”, “part”, “little bit”, “end”, etc.) in another room, and so on. Of course, physical objects then get their own space as well, but obviously those are easy.

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This guy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4N_vG_wo7c has learned 1000 words in 5 hours using linkword method, it means that he has learned new language in 5 hours on communicative level. Ask yourself how much potential is in this technique. It’s interesing, this dude took part in mnemonics camp (it lasted 10 days) and ordinary score after this camp is 1word/1minute forever, he mastered this technique to memorize permanently 1000 words in around 5 hours(1word/20sec?)… These camps organize Marek Szurawski http://www.eccehomo21.pl/index.php?id=6 (sorry no english translations) but I heard that few times he made English edition for foreigners :>. I have my seat but this camp starts during Polish holiday in February so I am waiting. I can describe it later.

Edit, as you can see on this link to yt it’s cat with ax, word “kat” means in polish executioner. It’s linkword for english word cat for polish learners. (Imagine cat who is executioner, in polish works, in english no)

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Very good video. He puts it in such a straightforward fashion, explains it very well. Everybody already has this ability.

He practically made me buy a product that he wasn’t selling; and I know everything about memory techniques.

Bateman

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…that is impressive (though I’m sure there are dozens of people on this forum who can do the same), but I have to argue that memorizing 1000 words does not correlate to “learning a new language on communicative level”. Vocabulary isn’t what you want to start with if you’re learning a new language. Sentence structure and grammar are more important for initial learning. There are other hacks and mnemonics that will help with that, and then vocabulary will build your language from that foundation.

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You are right. To be able to repeat, its just the first step of whole learning process.

Very useful and interesting information - thanks !

That’s really impressive, but there’s one (major) thing I don’t understand: If you see a word in german, how do you know in which location it is ? I understand how each location is associated with the meaning of the word, but how do you remember the word in german?

Tekeur, the answer to your question is to build your Memory Palaces with rigor. Then use them to rehearse the words into long term memory through recall and seal the deal by reading, writing and speaking the words (and ideally phrases) while reading the language every day.

Do this and you won’t need to know which location it’s in because the Memory Palace will have outmoded itself. It’s like training wheels on a bike. The bike is the info and now you know how to ride it without the assistance of location. Even if you still can call up location (which is often the case), you won’t need it. That’s the goal.

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Hi Paulo,

I’m brand new to this forum, and I want to use this technique to memorize Arabic vocabulary. I think it will be very helpful because every word in Arabic is made up of a 3-letter root (very few are 2 and 4 letter roots). By placing this root in a different pattern or structure you can form different words that are related to each other.

I just want to clear something up before I start using this technique. Do you literally go through a dictionary or “vocabulary book” page by page in alphabetical order storing words of related roots in your memory palaces?

Thanks,

Zane

I am not sure I understand how it works. I am trying to learn Russian vocabulary. I am beginning. I am using keywords and when it’s abstract it doesn’t work that well.

From what I understood I should build a memory palace with rooms ordered alphabetically, with the first two letters. Considering that there are 33 letters it would at least be 200 rooms. Is that right? then I should put in each room words beginnning with the two letters, and use the keyword system to remember them. Is that it?

some russian words are very long and diffcult to link to english or french sounds (actually I am using french, english, portuguese and spanish sounds). I have a huge difficulty to remember abstract words (if, already, in that case, …). am not sure I understand the method