Memory Techniques for Language learning

When it comes to learning a new language like Arabic, you can’t get around having to memorise new vocab. I’ve been reading my mate Tansel Ali’s book called How to Learn Almost Anything in 48 Hours. Tansel is an absolute genius, he’s a three-time Australian Memory Champion who memorised Sydney’s Yellow Pages in 24 days. He has been telling me about using memory techniques for language learning for ages, but it’s only now that I’m actively trying to incorporate some of his techniques in the way that we learn Arabic and teach it.

One of the interesting points that really stuck out for me is the importance of harnessing the power of your imagination and story telling when you’re trying to memorise new words and phrases. For example, say you’re trying to remember the Arabic word for garlic / thoom/ ثوم. Now use your senses to remember it, use smell, touch, taste and sound. Use colour and exaggerate image in your mind to make it more memorable. Picture your German friend Thomas who pronounces his name as thoom-as for some reason, eating a giant pink coloured garlic in front of you the size of a watermelon. As he’s talking, he’s breathing on you so much that you can not only small the pungent aroma, you can almost taste it. OK that was a pretty gross example, but I reckon you’ll probably remember thoom/ ثوم is garlic in Arabic.

You can also try adding movement and association to the image. If you’re trying to remember the Arabic word for mulberries / toot/ توت think of a steam train going TOOOT TOOOT moving backwards through your house with mulberries flying out the top staining all the walls and carpet.

These techniques take like 30 seconds but it’s guaranteed to help you remember new words and phrases. If you come up with different ways of remembering words, drop me an email, I’d love to hear what you come up with.

If you want to learn more about memory techniques and training, check out Tansel’s website

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