Memorizing foreign vocabulary

Hi, I have been looking for how to memorize foreign words for a long time and I found some things, but I am more interested on how real mnemonists do it. I mean the technique to relate foreign words to a sound in your own language is a bit useful but if you want to memorize a book verbatim or a lot of vocabulary you would need a way of enconding images where the image always gives you the same word and it wouldn’t rely on just tip of the tongue effect, like for memorizing cards or numbers where each group of numbers equals a character.
So does anyone know a technique or system for words (verbatim or foreign vocabulary) that goes beyond the tip of the tongue effect ?


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Hi, thanks for your answer. I have just seen a mind show video from the nelson dellis channel about Katie Kermode and at a certain point Nelson said that you cannot make a system for words so does it mean that you have to encode each word only with your imagination (not like numbers where each number = always the same image) or does he mean that you have to memorize them one at a time.

I don’t think I’ve seen that video. Are you trying to memorize individual vocabulary words or verbatim text? For individual vocabulary words, you can create an image for each word.

Memorizing verbatim text is more difficult and I don’t think many people try to create an image and location for every word. If you click through to the #verbatim-text tag, there are some discussions about it.

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I don’t remember exactly what was said in the video. But you can definitely make imagery for every foreign language word you want to learn. Then place it in whatever location comes to mind when you think of the word. For instance, if I’m trying to learn the Finnish word for “apple”, I could make up an image or story linking “apple” and the word “omena”, then mentally place that in my fruit bowl (because that’s where I put apples). If you are learning multiple languages you can use something connected with that language/country in your story.


I found that continuous accumulation of vocab does not help with language learning. You need to understand how the words relate with each other in a sentence, and that is best learnt by practice. If you want to practice, even memorising 20 word/sentences is good enough, to be mixing and interchanging.