You may have heard of memory tricks anyone can learn, that, with practice, let you perform amazing feats like memorizing phone books or long lists of random words. Has anyone used them in their language learning?
Yes, I have used them, and I have found them effective. In general, the one I use the most is making up a small scenario or story based on the sound of the word.
Example: bengoshi, which is Japanese for lawyer. I imagine a man in a suit walking up to me, shaking my hand, saying, "Ben Goshi, attorney-at-law!"
I've never forgotten what bengoshi means despite never having a practical use for knowing it, and rarely practicing it.
While learning Spanish I visualized a house with different rooms. In specific I focused on two different rooms in the house - the sun room and the basement.
In the sun room I would put all the feminine nouns that I was learning; in the basement I would store all of the masculine nouns.
You would think that the rooms would fill up quickly, but they were more like the Room of Requirement - as big as I needed them to be! : ))