Learning Foreign Words, Made Fun and Easy

July 19, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. mnemonic (n.) [ni-mon-ik] – a device or technique used to help someone in remembering something.
Example: I use mnemonic formulas to help me study for my exam.

2. stick in the mind (idiom) [stik] [in] [unstressed before a consonant thuh] [mahynd] – to remain constantly in one’s mind (usually a feeling or thought)
Example: The horror movie scene was stuck in my mind for hours.
3. doable (adj.) [doo-uh-buhl] – something that can be done
Example: Learning a foreign language is challenging, but I believe it is doable.  

4. fire up (v.) [fahyuhr] [uhp] – to start something (as in imagination or emotion)
Example: My interest in foreign films fired up my interest in learning new languages.

5. enrich (v.) [en-rich] – to improve or enhance the quality or value of something
Example: Her exposure to art enriched her creativity.

Read the text below.

Featured on the website called Memrise is a program developed by scientists to aid in learning vocabulary of a foreign language.

According to Greg Detre, one of the site creators, Memrise helps beginners learn words using mnemonic. Mnemonic devices associate pictures and patterns with words to help students recall the words easily.

One good example is the Mandarin word for man. The software transforms the Chinese character for the word man into a cartoon version of the word. By making the process creative and imaginative, learners are most likely to remember foreign words. 

The software also provides learners with regular tests. These tests make the words stick in the mind by constantly reminding students to use them. The tests are also designed to strengthen the students’ confidence by giving challenging but doable tasks.

Furthermore, the website allows learners to view each other’s own word pictures, promoting a sense of community. Seeing other people’s learning progress also fires up their competitiveness.

Although Memrise alone may not be enough to teach a student a new language, Detre believes it is the most effective way to learn foreign words. He pointed out that enriching one's vocabulary speeds up the learning process.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         Do you think introducing images can make learning easier?
·       Some people understand concepts easily when they see images, and some learn better when the concept is being explained to them in words. Which learning method do you prefer and why?

Discussion B

·         Do you enjoy learning English? Why or why not?
·         What are the benefits of learning another language?

July 19, 2011