Memory Palace technique

Hello Steve and the lingq community. I am trying to learn the Swedish and French languages but suffer from procrastination and distraction do you have anti procrastination tips for me?

I bought a how to learn language book by a memorization guru named Anthony Metivier. Have you heard of this author? He devised a learn vocabulary technique that emphasizes the memory palace method of association with vivid action and a pre -walking route.

It sounds complicated but many language learns swear by this method. If its possible can you give me your opinion on the memory palace technique of vocabulary memorizing. Do you think it works and is it worth the time investment to learn and develop and perfect.

best, Eric

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About the distraction and procrastination. Sometimes it happens to me, but I just change the content, in other words, I search for something more interesting and keep doing it and then I go back to what I was doing.
I’ve heard before about the memory palace, the first time was on a Tv show called “Sherlock Holmes”, and I searched to see how it works and so on. Maybe it would be helpful for language learning, but honestly I don’t think it’s necessary. It all depends if you are interested in learning those techniques and it wouldn’t be harmful at all. I mean, everything you learn just adds up to your life and own way of learning something like languages.

I’m not sure how well the loci method, specifically, matches with vocabulary building—it’s more designed for something that has to be in the correct order, which you recall by mentally walking a predetermined path from one location to the next. (But it sounds good for, say, memorizing numbers or months or some other sequence.)

But I definitely use other mnemonic techniques for each vocab word I focus upon, linking some nonsensical image concocted from the pronunciation with something approximating the meaning. Just to get me in the neighborhood. And after that I rely on encountering it again repeatedly as I review, to zero me in on the actual, non-approximate meaning.

I absolutely find that the words that I neglect to process in this way are much more difficult to recall later. “Oh, I can remember this one easy!” Nope! Turns out that I can’t! :slight_smile:

Learning abstract vocabulary out of context won’t help you.

Also…if you were really motivated to learn those language you wouldn’t be asking this question.

Question yourself - do you really want to learn French and Swedish?

When you were learning to speak your native language, did you use flashcards or some other memorization technique?

I find that flashcards help me gain core recognition capability with the new vocab words, which then gain familiarity through LingQ or other places I encounter them.

Especially at the beginning I find it very useful to focus deliberately on familiarizing myself with each new element of the language, not only in context but in isolation too. Multi-track is key for me.

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For me, memorization techniques do not work for foreign languages. I see two main reasons. First, many of these techniques work by creating artificial associations to relate unrelated facts. However if we hear, read and use new vocabulary in context, we get natural associations, so artificial ones are not necessary. Related to this is the second reason, namely the effort and time needed for information retrieval using the techniques. Probably this can be reduced with practice, but I doubt that using such detours can lead to anything worthy of the name “fluency”.

So I guess they can be used as crutches in the beginning, but I don’t see them as helpful in the long run. It would be interesting to hear from anybody who has used them successfully.

Sure, I used paper flashcards along with Harry Lorayne-style mnemonic techniques as a cornerstone of my study back when I learned Japanese in the late 1980s and 1990s. Along with any number of other methods that reinforced what I learned from them.

Flashcards work well to get the vocabulary initially embedded in your mind, after which you weave it into your skill in the language through more exposure and usage. The mnemonics are temporary; they naturally drop away as you form a web of real-life associations.

That learning in context is critical too, and LingQ helps with that by allowing us to constantly swim around in texts that are essentially a bit above our current level, by reminding us of the words that we do know but might not have realized that we know in the middle of a difficult text. Super useful.

You can learn in any way that works for you, and jump from one to another as you like, and as long as your ability to smoothly use the language is improving, it’s all good.

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For me, I find that watching the number of known words grow is motivation for me. I have also found that personally I learn terribly with flashcards or intentional memorization, and learning words in context is better for me. That might work for you, you should try it.

Steve Kaufmann also doesn’t like intentional memorization, but learning through context. And just look at his profile! This may sound like a fallacy, but what I am trying to say is if it worked for him it could also work for you.

Why is there always someone who tries to convince us adults should learn like babies? This has been largely debunked, yet these guys keep coming at us.

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I don’t see anybody saying that.

I see your point. Learning like babies works. However as adults it is difficult to re-create the baby experience for ourselves since we would need doting/adoring caregivers (eg. parents, grandparents) we would need to be 100% dependent on other people to physically feed, us, dress us, put us to sleep, bathe us, change our diapers, etc. So although learning like a baby works, adults cannot become babies again because even well paid parent-actors, native in the target language we want to learn, cannot be paid to love us. And for us to un-learn and un-experience all that we have learned and experienced before “becoming babies again” is next to impossible! So truly recreating our lives as babies is virtually impossible.

So, let’s learn like adults who have learned things and experienced things. Let’s accept ourselves for who and what we are and use all that we are to get all that we want to achieve.

I suspect that there is “always someone who tries to convince us adults” to learn like babies because they have not actually thought out what they are saying. They don’t realize that what they are suggesting is impossible to implement unless of course someone was to leave their adult body and be born again in the body of a developing fetus which develops into a newborn baby. Which is okay, but being born again into the desired language might not be a conscious executable decision adults can make.

See t_harangi’s first post. You know - the one I replied to when I made my statement.

+Wulfgar Completely agreed! As an argument, it really sucks

Yes, my initial response was a bit facetious to say the least :slight_smile: I don’t actually suggest you should learn like a baby. But I do see parallels between contextual exposure learning and native language acquisition. They’re not the same, but have some similar characteristics.

Mainly, I just don’t like memorization techniques in general.

I’ve had many people tell me they could “never learn a new language, because they’re bad at memorizing stuff.” And I think that’s totally wrong on so many levels. The reason why so many people think that is because so much of language instruction is memorization based, especially in academic settings.

I think the more language instruction could move away from memorization and flashcards, the more people would actually learn new languages.

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I agree with you. I don’t like raw memorization in general for language learning (though a bit may help time and again and some people do like it) and I agree it feels more “natural” to expose oneself to real contents. It also works better for me and we learn usage examples, structures and the general skill of making sense of contents in the language at the same time. Plus it’s more entertaining

My question was directed to Steve Kaufman and I am interested in his opinion of my question. Does he read and respond to this forum?

Yes, he often does. You wrote “hello, Steve and the lingq community” so I guess that’s why other members felt free to reply.
There’s a special forum to put questions directly to him. Did you post your question in that one? I can’t check it from here.
Doing so increases the chance of getting a reply by him

Can you tell me how to send my question directly to Steve Kaufman exclusive forum address.
thanks you.