How come I can’t remember new vocabulary?
Why we study but still struggle to remember new words
Though I credit forced memorization for getting me through high school French, these days, I can’t remember much vocabulary beyond je m’appelle Monika and quel temps fait-il? I’m sure many can relate. You study a new language for years, but still struggle to find the words. It’s normal that over time, we tend to forget what we’ve learned. But knowing why this happens can be the key to more effective learning and ultimately, help you remember more vocabulary.
Forgetting happens as soon as learning begins…
Learning new words presents a serious challenge for students. But why does this happen? Before you blame yourself for “not being good at learning languages” or complain that you don’t have time to study, check out this video which explains how memory works and what you can do to retain more foreign words. By understanding how the forgetting curve works, you can use the quick tips in your own study plan, and master new vocabulary once and for all.
Quick tips to remember new vocabulary
- Peer learning: Find a study partner on Lang-8, and and retell what you have been learning in your own words. You can put into practice your newly acquired vocabulary, and have a native speaker correct your writing.
- Use the spacing effect: Cramming a lot of new vocabulary into the same study session may not be the best way to remember those foreign words. Instead, look for spaced repetition learning apps like Anki, Mnemosyne, or Tinycards.
- Look for quizzes and practice tests: Plenty of free options online that let you test your skills. You can also try out free English grammar and vocabulary test.
- Take breaks: Similar memories get mixed! If you want to remember more of the new words and phrases you learn in a foreign language, try taking more study breaks or learning something unrelated.
- Use images to remember new vocabulary: Picture dictionaries are not just for kids! Pictures are a proven tool that can facilitate learning new vocabulary. Memrise is an excellent study aid developed by memory masters. This clever app uses images to help you form vivid, sensory memories, and will help you form new memories more effectively.
Mastering grammar rules and trying to remember new vocabulary can take a long time. However, there are some simple and effective techniques to help you study better, remember more words, and speed up the learning process. Try these easy memory tips today and watch how fast you improve!