The most time-consuming part of learning a foreign language is memorizing vocabulary. If you want to understand native speakers you must know thousands of words. Some words come to mind immediately but there are many words for which memorizing is very hard.
Many language learners use a special method for memorizing such words. This is the mnemonic technique, which consists of creating images in your mind associated with the word you want to remember and the other words from your native language. I read that the mnemonic technique can be even seven times more effective than traditional methods of memorizing words.
An example of the usage of the mnemonic technique may be remembering the English word “silly”. There is a similar word in Polish, “silny”, which means “strong”. So you can try to remember word “silly” by imagining a strong man with big muscles, with a very “silly” expression on his face. The sillier the face and the stronger the man, the better the chance of remembering the word. You can use face of Arnold Schwarzenneger to make your image more expressive.
But this technique doesn’t work for me. I tried to imagine many “silly faces” and other pictures, but after a short period I had the same problems with memorizing these words. I forgot my images even if they were very bizarre. The problem emerged when I tried to create many images at the same time. I noticed that many times I remembered that I used the mnemonic technique for a specific word, but I didn’t remember which one. Maybe my imagination is not sufficient for mnemonics.
I think that this technique is easier to use for native English speakers, because the English language contains many very short words, sometimes consisting of even just one syllable, so you can find them in longer words in the language you’re learning. Sometimes I’d use these short and well known English words to memorize other more complex English words, but the same problem appeared. I forgot all the images I created.
Do you have any better experiences with the mnemonic technique?