Why use a memory palace for vocabulary?


#1

Hi, so I’ve been trying to understand why using a memory palace could benefit vocabulary learning but there’s something I don’t get. So to store a word into your memory place you need to store both the word itself and it’s meaning, if my understanding is right. But that means you need to link 3 things together, one of which is completely unrelated to both the word and meaning. How is that more efficient than directly linking the word to the meaning?
Also, it always occured to me that memory palaces were useful to memorize lists of things: like numbers, or a story, something that has an order. If you encounter a word that you’ve stored in a memory palace, do you actually need to go through all your location until you find the location that has the word you’re looking for?

So as you can see I’m really confused as to why a memory pallace would be prefered over a simple word-meaning linking method. One of the main disadvantage of the “linking” method is that sometimes your memory doesn’t get triggered when seeing the word, but won’t the same thing happen with memory pallaces since you’re also using a linking method to store words?
I’m looking forward to have a better understanding of that method, because I really like the idea of memory pallaces!


#2

I am using the same argument here: http://mt.artofmemory.com/forums/flash-card-or-memory-palace#comment-24506
I do think the palace is less efficient.

If one is learning a new language, one would typically memorize about 2-3,000 words.
In those cases, only linking 2 things together is way more efficient than 3.
It will save one a lot of time!

The main advantage of the palace is the ability to serialize words and the ability to do a mental walk through on idle time.

So here is an - in my view - optimal use of both techniques.
Link all words using just the link method.
Use the palace only for the difficult words.


#3
I am using the same argument here: http://mt.artofmemory.com/forums/flash-card-or-memory-palace#comment-24506 I do think the palace is less efficient.

Thanks for replying, so I’m not the only one doubting the efficiency of palaces :).

It would be nice to also hear what people using palaces think, and I’d really like an answer to this:

If you encounter a word that you've stored in a memory palace, do you actually need to go through all your location until you find the location that has the word you're looking for?

#4

palaces can be useful for languages in a number of ways. here is one approach: use a mexican restaurant palace for things you might say in a restaurant. use a cab palace for things you might say in that setting. same for hotel lobby, etc. you don’t always have to number the items. but, if you do need to, the palace method is even more valuable.

I memorized the geography, country names and capitals of Europe using a palace and did not number anything.


#5
palaces can be useful for languages in a number of ways. here is one approach: use a mexican restaurant palace for things you might say in a restaurant. use a cab palace for things you might say in that setting. same for hotel lobby, etc.

That’s nice when you want to translate from your native language to the language you’re saying, but it’s not very efficient the other way is it? If you see a random word you won’t know in which palace to go, although context may help.

you don't always have to number the items. but, if you do need to, the palace method is even more valuable.

Yes but the main reason I created this topic is to discuss the point of using a memory palace for things that have no order and thus are not numbered, which is the case for vocabulary.


#6

I would like to open this question again.

Why is using memory palace for learn new vocabulary in foreign language more effective than create link between two words (mature language - foreign)?

At first glance it seems like second option is easier and fastier.

What do you think?

Thanks!


#7

It depends also on what languages you already know and which ones you’re trying to learn. If you speak French and you want to learn Italian or Spanish a memory palace is overkill. Same is true for Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish or Slavic languages… so basically, same language families.

If your only language is English (source) and you want to learn German (target) you have to remember concepts that don’t exist in your source language: “the” will be either “der” (masculine), “die” (female), or “das” (neuter). With a memory palace you can have an all male palace, all female, etc. to know that “the spoon” is male, “the fork” is female, and “the knife” is neuter.

Similarly, if you are trying to learn a tonal language like Chinese and your source language doesn’t have that concept you can use memory palaces in a similar way:


#8

Thanks for response!

So, you think that one “should” use memory palace for learning foreign language just if the language is not from same language family?

Thanks!


#9

Well, what’s your L1 and what language do you want to learn?