Vocab phenomenon ... do you have this problem too?


I noticed having some sort of weird problem. Well, this problem exists for quite some time now, it’s not new, and I experienced it frequently enough to not even especially notice it anymore, but…

I’m having problems memorizing even very “every day like” stuff, like 積む (to load)、隠す(to hide) and so on, and I can’t find out why.
They aren’t really different from other words I’m learning - words are, afterall, just words, right? Some sounds put in order, to transport a message.
I got like 100 such “facepalm” words already. Some I can beat into submission, some not. 市役所(shiyakusho, city hall) was only possible by imagining old farts rocking “ski action inside the city hall”. holy s***…

Thus, I wonder how comes that you can memorize some words easily, some words only by brute force.
On the contrary, i heard 非難する (hinan suru, to blame) once and never forgot it.

I have the same problem in Chinese:

图书馆 túshūguǎn library
照顾 zhàogu look after; care for

stick easily in my mind, …

but …

解决 jiějué solve
决定 juédìng decide
关于 guānyú with regard to; concerning
几乎 jīhū almost; nearly

won’t stick, and must be repeated endlessly.

I don’t know why.

I wonder if it’s known what causes this effect.
And if it was, would it be possible to somehow avoid it?

Apparently, some people are able to pick up tons of vocab words on a daily basis… I’ve read about people learning like… 100 words a day and wonder if they’re cheating themselves, or if I’d do something wrong.

I think this is true for most people. Some words just wont allow themselves to be learned.

I have learned a lot of Czech words since I started in August. It may not be the 24,000 words that my stats at LingQ tell me, but it is a lot. I have read 250,000 words, just on LingQ, and have created almost 20,000 LingQs.

When I import newspaper articles there are few new words, and I am able to read them quite easily. Of course novels and such are more difficult. Czech is very inflected so there are a lot of free words the way we count them at LingQ. But on the LingQ count that would be around 100 words a day.

I learn most of my words incidentally. I only flash card occasionally, as a diversion, and to help me notice things.

Certainly some words will not stick, even the most basic and simple words. When I come across a yellow word that just won’t stick in my mind, highlighted in yellow, I just look it up and continue reading. It really does not bother me.

This doesn’t work for me at all. I’ve been reading TONS of Japanese every day, not only on LingQ, but on Facebook, Gizmodo, various websites or Lang-8, Visual Novels, J subtitles on ドラマ… just reading creates some kind of deja-vu sometimes, but I can bang my head against the wall when trying to remember a specific term I think I need to express something, it just won’t come out.
Or I read something and want to bite myself, because I “had this a thousand times already”.

What’s the matter here, am I a bit dense?

Why do you let that worry you. Think of the many words you have leaned. Better still think of the enjoyment of all the reading you have done. The process is its own reward. Don’t be so hung up about nailing down all these words. They will come eventually, or they may not and then you look them up again, ignore them or if speaking, say it some other way.

Kaze, you have been a member for over a year, and you do not create LingQs. Why not trust the system? Create some LingQs. I am convinced that seeing those yellow highlights is key to helping me remember words. I have never learned as many words in a short time as I have done with Czech on LingQ.

I plan to start Turkish in April and that will be a true test since that language is not related to any I know.

Your knowledge in Japanese will give you a headstart I think. There are cognates and grammatical similarities.

I don’t use the system for one reason only: It’s limited to 100 LingQs, which I can easily fill within 2-3 hours of reading. Yes, I could sign up and pay, but Bankeinzug is not supported, I chose to not have a credit card, and Paypal is kind of bothersome (they also don’t use Bankeinzug for some obscure reason it seems). This is also the reason I’ve not become paying member at JapanesePod101, which would also be a great resource.

I do however think the system in itself is tremendously useful in MANY ways. From getting an overview on what you really know, to clues by colour coded keywords, and so on.