Ron White the US National Memory Champion teaches keys to memory.  In this article we will get into how your senses can be used to help you learn language – either a foreign language or to improve your vocabulary.

Many memory centers encourage memorization and vocabulary as a way to learn a new language. They believe this will help you to start “thinking” in that language because you won’t have to keep looking up words and meanings. I want to give you a couple of tips to help you not only memorize faster, but retain it longer.

In school you were probably told to memorize a list of words and their meaning. This is often called the “phonebook” method. They told you to repeat the word a few times in order for it to “stick” and then move on to another word. This is an inefficient way to go about it, since by the time you move on to the next set of lists you will have forgotten the first one.

Our brains are not used to learning this way. The most effective way to retain what you are learning is by associating the word with something you are familiar with through your senses.

Many learning courses, and most of the lessons found online, focus on imagery in the vocabulary learning process. When we see a picture, or hear a description, we associate the image in our minds with the word. When we see a horse we think of the word horse, when we smell cinnamon we not only smell with the fragrance, you link it to the word. The most common example of imagery and association would be through the use of flashcards. Flashcards are a learning tool where the picture and the words are together – so you get a visual image along with the word. Educational games can be purchased that also teach through imagery.

Another tool, called language mnemonics, allows you to build a visual bridge in order to associate the word with the image. In learning new languages, that bridge will help you place the new word with words in your native tongue. An example: In French, the word “pan” means bread. This is a simple association, since you can visualize a piece of French bread baking in a long pan. When you think of “bread” in French you will automatically think of bread in a pan, which links them together in your memory.

The one thing you need to remember when using mnemonics is that you want to make your image link as colorful, vivid, and maybe even stupidly silly as possible. You are creating a deeper impression in your memory, that not only helps build your vocabulary, but lock it into your memory storage space for a longer period of time. You also will find you are learning quicker, and more, because you are having fun doing it.

By not just robotically learning, and allowing yourself to have fun and let the words flow naturally, you will not only enjoy learning language skills you will retain them. Make the use of interactive tools, repeat the words often, and make learning a memory game, not just something you feel you need to do.


Resources: – How To Memorize Words Faster And Better, by Michael Gabrikow –

eHow Family – How to Memorize Fast and Remember More: