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Memorization tips?

Does anybody have methods for how to memorize words better? I'm really trying to better my German understanding and even get ahead of my class, and when I talk to my actual friends in Germany I have such a hard time understanding them. Whenever I try to remember new words whether it be from class, on DuoLingo lessons or just talking to friends i always forget any new vocabulary almost immediately.

It's not from lack of practice either, when its a language I use on a daily basis. I'm also learning Danish and don't seem to have this same problem. Anybody have the solution? I've tried everything from repeating it over and over, making flashcards, and just writing them down in a notebook, no success. Memorization tips appreciated as I'm sure I can't be the only one facing this problem!

September 8, 2017



Just try to use simple phrases in the house until you get the hang of it.


I do this with Spanish and I find it very effective. I have to use the words and come up with my own sentences, either through writing sentences down or saying them to myself when at home. For example, today right before I start working on a reading assignment, I told myself "necesito leer mi libro de contabilidad" (I need to read my Accounting book). I realized that I had to apply the vocabulary I learned into some sort of context before I was able to use them in an actual conversation.


With me, I use Tiny Cards a lot, especially with German and its long words. After I do a lesson on Duolingo, I do its accompanying lesson on Tiny Cards over and over again till I almost memorized the words. Then I redo the lesson on Duolingo to work out the grammar.

After I feel okay, I go to the next lesson! Hope that helps and I wish you the best Alphawolfwarner! :-)


Are there already other courses on tinycards? Or do I have to make my own? I know its alot like quizlet which I've previously used in school and I don't mind making my own, but pre-fabricated courses would be of huge assistance. Also, thank you! I'm an apprentice to the polyglot world :)


There sure are! What's nice is the decks for the different languages (I have French, German, and Spanish) are closely related to the course. For instance, if you do the Basics 1 course in German, there is a Basics 1 deck in the German course that has exactly the words you learn in Duolingo!

Because anyone can make their own deck, be sure the German course you find is from Duolingo, and you're set!


I found it, thank you so much! :D


Don't just memorize, come up with mnemonic devices for as many words as you can. For example, flower=blume (according to google translate). You can just mutter to yourself that "flowers bloom" and it will be really easy next time you come across the word ("blume, something blumes, flowers!"). It even works for unrelated words (shelf=regal, just think that "shelves are regal" or something). I do this and have to rely on the association for a while, but over time that fades and I'm just left with knowing the word without needing the mnemonic device anymore.


I use Memrise as a flashcards app for cramming to complement Duolingo.


Hello, you should use a Spaced repetition software like Anki or use Memrise, it helps a lot when it comes to learning new vocabulary. Also a thing I like to do when I learn new words is imagining a story that looks totally weird. Let say you want to learn the words for tomato, to roll and big, you can say "A big tomato is rolling on the floor" but what about "A big tomato is rolling behind me" and you imagine yourself running away from it like it was a Tomb Raider/ Crash Bandicoot level.

Good luck !


Like when you want to eat, need to wash your hands, etc


You're not alone, alphawolfwarner! I have the same problem. When I first started learning the language, Spanish, I found learning the new words were easily remembered, but the more deeper I get into the lessons my brain doesn't asorb the new words as quickly. It gets discouraging at times, but I keep plugging along. One of my problems is I keep pushing myself to the point I end up getting frustrated after thinking I have absorbed the new word and only to find out, when I come across it again, within minutes, I have totally forgotten it!! Back to the drawing board, LOL


try to practice one skill more than once or twice- if you do that you'll know the words better. Also try strenghtening more.


Normally your brain is in something called a beta state, they key to effective memorization in any subject especially language learning is training your brain to become completely focused, putting you in Alpha state, and meditating over what you learn.


I am not that young anymore and my memory, excellent in my younger years, has to struggle more to keep things. But one trick I used when at the university still makes wonder : I study the new, difficult thing or words I want to remember... in my bed, just before falling asleep (or in the day, just before taking a nap).

I also use flash cards, mental images, similarities with words from another language, and "procedural reconstruction".

Procedural memory is the ability to memorize the steps or procedure to reach a goal and not the goal itself. For example, I could say : this word has 7 letters of which 4 consonnants and 3 voyels, since it's an adjective, it must end with a "i" etc. That may sound crazy but it's sometimes easier for my memory to remember the whole process than the word itself. After a while, I don't need the procedure anymore.

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