Most of us will know that learning vocabulary takes time, as there are countless words to learn when learning a new language. Recently I’ve been asking myself, how can I make vocabulary learning an easier process for myself. What methods can I use to help reinforce the new words that I’m learning. One thing I’ve found useful is using colours? Why colours? When learning words it’s often useful to associate the word with something that helps you remember it, this is known as mnemonics.
Since I was young I realised that I was a visual learner, no idea why, but I just find it a hell of a lot easier to remember something once I’ve seen it. Sadly, my auditive memory is shocking, if something tells me like a list, I’ll forget most of it unless I go and write it down. So, I thought how can I remedy this and use the strength of my visual memory when learning new words. I decided to use colours, but why colours? Well because it’s another que that my brain can use to aid it in the process of recalling a word. I find it especially useful to use when I’m learning nouns in a language that uses different genders like in French or German.
Like a lot of learners I sometimes have a lot of trouble remembering whether a particular word is either masculine, feminine or neuter. So to help me remember them I add colours, everyone is different, some associate different colours to different things. If most of us happened to walk into a baby clothing store and we saw some clothing in blue or baby blue most of us would associate that colour with clothing for a baby boy, and most of us would associate pink with clothing for a baby girl.
Anyway, here are the ones that I find work for me:
blue – masculine noun
red – feminine noun
brown – neuter noun
orange – preposition
green – adjective
purple – adverb
black – verb
Each time I learn a new word I write it down in my notebook in one of above mentioned colours, so when I’m looking back on them I can instantly get the information I want. I feel that it makes the memory stronger and it gives your brain another cue with which to remember. You can think of it like having a set of folders in your brain, one for each colour, and when learning a word like the pound for example, you look it up in let’s say French and find out it’s feminine. Fantastic! So I go to my notebook, grab my red pen and write la livre and that’s like mentally putting it in the red folder of my brain. When I’m recalling I retrieve these words from their respective folders and I’ve found that I’m far less likely to get the genders wrong.
So give this a go, especially if you find yourself mixing noun genders every five seconds. Perhaps you’ll find it useful, perhaps not, but I definitely think that it’s worth giving it a go!