Language Learning Tip #25

(Continued from Tip #24)


“I’m trying the boxes and vocab cards but I have a few questions.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if I keep forgetting so many words each time that my first stack is more that 20 cards?

A: Do just 20 cards and do not add more words. Remember that these are words that you chose as words you want to put in your long-term memory; complete the task before trying to add new words.

Q: What if the cards in box #3 are more than 20?

A: Go through all of them. And all of box #2 as well. Each day you should drill more than 20 words eventually, but you should not add more than 20 words.

Q: What do I do with all the words I have retired into box #4?

A: You choose. If you want to add a box #5 for permanently retired words, you could drill words from box #4 after a week or a month or whatever. The system is expandable.

Q: I can imagine that I will forget so many words that I will not be adding many new words to the system. What should I do?

A: If this is the case, you need to work on mnemonic devices that will help you to really get the words stuck in your brain. Take a little more time over the words from your first stack imagining ways to remember that specific word, and of course, make sure you are saying the words out loud!

Q: Do I need to keep my word cards in some kind of order?

A: No. In fact, it is good if they are not in any kind of order other than being in the right box.

Q: Isn’t the memorizing work only half done? What about looking at definitions and trying to recall the Arabic? Don’t I need the words in my active memory?

A: I am not sure you should use this tool to try to do everything. Actually there is a lot more vocabulary work to be done. You need to practice using the words correctly to finish the job. However, if you wanted to add another box for words you can produce in Arabic, you could. But you wouldn’t want to send the forgotten words all the way back to your first stack! There is also the challenge of using the words in a grammatically correct way. In addition, there are many other related forms of words, and plurals, and collocations, and how the words are used in expressions. No, the vocabulary work has not finished once you send a word to box #4, but you have laid a foundation. Maybe that’s enough for one learning tool.


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