Metaphor, Story, Visualization

In learning German for example, when you are a native speaker of Spanish (like my case), almost none of the words will sound familiar to you. However, you have to look closer to the derived German words that come from Latin, just like Spanish. Which then, if you also happen to have contact with English or French, you will notice that some of the vocabulary relates to it automatically in your head.

For example:

Book – Buch

Tasse – Taza

Coffre – Koffer

Vergessen – forget (V in German sounds like the English F)

Notwithstanding, the above mentioned words have first of all:

  • Similar phonetics
  • Same meaning

Germans have the word: “Eselsbrücken” or Dunkey’s bridges, which are either words which sound similar to one word that you already knew, so the only thing you have to do is remember the new meaning of the “alike” word that you already know. Or, tricks in which you remember some kind of word or expression by creating a metaphor, story or visualization.

One example:

Bühne = scenario

In my head: buuu neee – as an expression meaning that the artists doesn’t deserve a “buuu” so I say “neee”, to deny it.

Everyone has their own Eselsbrücken word material, just look inside your thoughts when you hear a new word and make associations.

Another Eselsbrücken metaphor, story or visualization might be:

To create a story around the word you want to learn (where or when would you use this word? use your imagination to create a short story in your head), or just take the already given story, out from where you first listened or read it, so you create a like between a context and the word. This shares some similarities with mnemonics.

For example:

Aufhören = stop, cease (mostly of doing something)

In my mind I imagine it sounds like “listen up”, so I visualize an elementary school classroom teacher saying (in order to recover the attention and quiet from the group): hör auf! And the children turn to see her and just keep quiet and pay attention.

Of course as I said: each one must make their own associations.

Nonetheless, what to do with words that do not relate at all with one another? You will find the answer in the Memorizing tab.

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