When we seek advice on learning foreign languages, tips we are offered are often identical – get a tutor, read more books, travel, communicate with language carriers, and so on. As helpful as they are, these tricks are widely known, and reading more about them rarely helps us overcome a barrier while starting a new language.
Thankfully, there are more creative solutions that can help you study more effectively, and uncover your true potential. Today we will discuss innate features of the psyche which can be used for more effective and swift language learning. These techniques will greatly facilitate your study, helping you tackle a foreign language with new tricks up your sleeve.
5 Effects of Psychology to Help You Study Languages
- Highlighter effect.
This psychological phenomenon lies in the fact that we typically better remember an object that stands out against other identical objects. For example, your eye will be immediately drawn to creative bright packaging, and you’re more likely to recall it better than a plain basic one. Curiously, this method is actively used by the media – sometimes insignificant events are purposefully inflated to draw our attention from some more important topic that needs to be hushed up. As one may guess, this technique is very effective.
How to use
- Underline or highlight phrases you want to learn. Some linguists advice writing down new vocabulary or words that you have trouble remembering with a colored pen or typing them in bright colors. Our brain will distinguish and note highlighted information easier.
- Speak or hum the words you have trouble with – this way you will make your mind’s focus on these words. When you try to learn in a new way, your memory will learn the material faster.
- Study in an unfamiliar place. Psychologists insist that material is assimilated better in an unfamiliar environment, even if it’s just a different room in your apartment. Better yet, study in nature: according to studies, observing nature increases attention, memory, and concentration.
- Draw your subject. This method is especially suitable for beginners who need to master basic vocabulary. Write the word you are learning and draw a corresponding picture beside it.
So, the point is trying something that stands out from your routine and breaking up the monotony.
- Authorship effect.
This effect suggests that a person remembers self-created material better. For example, if you write a paper, you will remember it better than the text of someone else’s authorship, because in the process of creating an essay your brain was actively working and all information associated with this event was “filed into” your memory.
How to use
This effect can be used when learning new words or grammar. Let’s say you must learn 10 new words. You can make up a story with them, which will help remember them well. This exercise would be most officiant if a story is not completely fictional but rather somewhat relevant to your life.
- Movement effect.
Movement activates the brain, and we begin memorizing information more actively. Many people find studying easier when they walk around the room, bike around, or go for a walk in the park. It has a scientific explanation – movement improves blood circulation, as a result, the brain receives more oxygen, and therefore a process of memorization goes faster. This is just one among many ways of learning languages that are backed by science.
How to use
Try walking around the room or doing some other simple physical activity as you learn.
- The law of beginning and end.
According to this law, when studying any material, people remember the first and last blocks of information more vividly. Each subsequent block of information makes us struggle to recall the previous one. For example, if you are reading a monotonous text you will likely remember its beginning and end better than the middle.
How to use
You can separate blocks of information that you learn so that they don’t go one after the other. For example, learn 10 new words in the morning, as soon as you wake up, so that they become your first new information for the day. It is also effective to study something before bedtime, as the last block of information received on that day will be efficiently stored in memory.
- Association method/mnemonics.
You’ve probably heard of this learning method – it relies on creating associations for new words you are learning. Mnemonics are very efficient, even when you need to remember large volumes of information swiftly. It is among the most effective methods to learn a language fast.
How to use
Mnemonics work in different ways. Firstly, you can try to associate words in your native language with foreign words. Secondly, you can try visual associations – simply pair a word with an image you associate with it.
There’s also a curious technique called a memory palace. It’s quite complex, but here is a simple way to try it. Pick 10 words that you need to learn, walk around a familiar room and mentally attach each word to a certain object in your room. Then walk around the room and try to remember where each word resides. After doing that, close your eyes, imagine the room in your mind, and try to remember all the words – they should be well fixed in your memory.
Now that you learned how to use resources of your own body and mind to your advantage, learning languages should seem less of a chore. We hope that these simple tricks will help you improve and diversify your language learning methods, leading to a new and more creative learning routine. However, you cannot learn a foreign language with psychological tricks alone – you will also need your dedication and perseverance. Yet, we do not doubt that you will prove equal to the challenge!