Mnemonic memory training is a memory system that allows you to store information in and recall it from your long-term memory, and, in the case of learning a new language, your speech center. Mnemonics gives you a way to organize information, store it, and recall it. The better information is organized and stored, the easier you will be able to recall it when it is needed and the longer it will stay in your head. If you do mnemonics correctly, you concentrate and focus on information you want to remember in a way that will almost guarantee you will never forget it.
Some twenty-five years after going through my first mnemonic memory course, I still recall vocabulary words in French and I do not speak French at all. In the course, as an exercise, we learned some French words using the Substitute Word System—a mnemonic device—and I still can remember them. Now that is Memory Training. This is what mnemonics does for you: it creates a way for a simple, effective, and efficient storage and retrieval system. In other words, mnemonics provides you a way to find the information in your head. It is essentially like a search engine on the Internet in your head.
Some offer criticism of mnemonics. They say mnemonic training does not teach you to understand the information you are trying to remember. I find this a nonsense objection. Why would you be trying to remember something you do not understand? The very fact that you want to recall something means, in some way or other, you have a need to recall it and it implies there is at least some understanding of the material you are trying to remember.
Another criticism is mnemonic training is time-consuming. The truth is that it is indeed time consuming—all memory work is. But would you rather engage in something that will guarantee you will be able to remember the information or engage in some rote memory exercise that will almost guarantee you will NOT recall the information? I find I can store more than twenty NEW Spanish vocabulary words per day and ALWAYS remember them. I know some who can do ten times that amount.
Example of How I do it:
1) despejado—clear as in a clear sky
Imagine a clear sky—a totally beautiful day—spades suddenly materialize in the sky and begin falling like deadly arrows. This causes you to have to hide under a huge mound of dough until the danger passes.
2) el dependiente—the clerk
Imagine “L” tells a restaurant check out clerk that he depends on begin able to come in each day for a spot of tea.
3) el paño—the cloth
Imagine “L” walks up to a giant pan that is playing with a yoyo and tells him that his yoyo looks dirty and offer the pan a cloth to clean it.
4) el carbón—the coal
Imagine “L” rigs a car bomb. When he sets it off, it explodes a geyser of coal out of the top of the car.
5) el destinatario—the addressee
Imagine “L” is dusting a tire while eating some cheerios when a dress he is wearing falls to his knees
6) dirigirse—to address
Imagine a deer is a sales clerk in a dress shop, and is reading until she hears a customer say, “I want you to add this dress to my bill.
7) intranquilo—worried or anxious
Imagine being stuck in a trunk with a magic quill. You draw an O around the lock with the quill. The O turns into a worm that reads your anxious mind. It crawls into the lock of the trunk and opens the lock releasing you.
8) firme—firm or adamant
Imagine someone asking, “Do you fear me?” To which you reply, “I adamantly do not fear you. ”
9) el barbero—the barber
Imagine going to get you hair cut at the barbershop and “L” is the barber.
10) excusarse—to apologize
Imagine that to excuse yourself from the table you have to go around the table and say an apology to everyone at the table.
11) los activos—the assets
Imagine that in Los Angeles that the favorite activity is to kick someone’s ass before taking their assets.
12) la almendra—the almond
Imagine an almond mending a dress.
13) la almeja—the clam
Imagine Al Gore, every month of May, has to hide clams like Easter Eggs. Picture this visualizing a picture of Al Gore, a calendar page of the month of May, pictures of a clams all over the month of May, and then of Al Gore hiding them like Easter Eggs.
14) la ventaja—the advantage
Imagine a vent traveling to Lake Tahoe to paint an ad on the side of a van of the Taj Mahal.
15) la anestesia—the anesthesia
Imagine seeing a nest on a table. You walk over to the nest to see in it. You find an egg that begins to hatch releasing a green anesthesia gas knocking you out.
16) aprobar—to approve
Imagine sending a robotic flying probe in a bar to zap a criminal that have been proven guilty in a court of law.
17) tasar—to asses
Imagine taking a taser and shocking an jackass until he sits.
18) el albaricoque—the apricot
Imagine “L” walks into a bar to see Al Gore sitting at a bar sharing coke and some cake with a giant blonde-woman apricot.
19) la enmienda—the amendment
Imagine finding in a mint a tiny sliver of paper. When you pull it out it pops open and unfurls into the U. S. Constitutional amendments.
20) enmendar—to amend
Imagine in the men’s bathroom, a there is another door in a stall that opens up to reveal a bunch of men trying to mend the cuffs of their trousers and darn their socks.
21) la viruela—the chicken pox
Imagine walking into a bar and seeing a beer swilling whale with a chicken filled box. There are feathers all over the floor and the chickens in the box are clucking loudly.
22) la chequera—the checkbook
Imagine a check reading a book.
23) el garbanzo—the chickpea
Imagine “L” opening a garage door to discover a band sewing costumes with The Chick Pea embroidered on the backs of the costumes.
24) el dominio—the command, the dominion
Imagine “L” walks up to a domino setup and shouts at the first domino, “I have the command over all of you because this is my dominion—now fall!”
Learning a New Language Has Never Been Easier