1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. Short term memory - remarkabl…


Short term memory - remarkable growth -then total confusion.

For the first few days this year I have been totally absorbed in French and my Fluency % shows it. Then Wham my aging brain forgets most of my French and in stead thinks of anything know about any language aunque versuche mucho! All I can do is start over more carefully this time. Goal for this month a solid 25%. any comments on short term memory?

January 6, 2018



Just stick with it. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Language learning has highs, lows, and plateaus. Try to enjoy the journey, bumps and all, and not focus too much on any end goal.


I find that immersion, using a variety of resources, along with constant repetition, work best for my own aging brain. It sounds as though you are already doing something similar. Hang in there, be patient, and I'm sure you will reach your goal. Best wishes!


It takes time to move information from short-term memory into long-term memory. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-short-term-memory-to-long-term/ Things that you have just learned have to be repeated and reinforced over time in order to be resistant to competing distractions or other disrupting factors.

Even children with very young brains ask the same question dozens of times, listen to the same stories over and over, and have the same words and experiences repeated in order process it all and acquire the new skills/knowledge. That is just how we are wired to learn.

Give it a few months of repeating the basics while slowly adding more and more information. I think you will find that at some point the words will start to come to you without you needing to "think" about it.

Daily practice, repetition, and time. You'll get there!


It may help to immerse yourself in the language more. You said you were totally absorbed, but is that only here on duoLingo? If so, you can start watching French movies, reading articles in French or listening to French music. Try talking to yourself in French as you go about your day. If your brain is receiving constant French stimulation, it should be easier to retain.


Yes, that's what I do, JOAT2B, movies and TV with French audio on Netflix, Alexa on Netflix, and a couple of hours of the 8 hour.Relax and Learn French. Thanks for the advice to me and good for some others, too, likely.


I'm afraid I'm out of suggestions then. I don't personally struggle with short-term memory issues so I am not really familiar enough with it to come up with a good work-around. :( Like Lrtward said, just stick with it. You can do it. :)


carptoon, don't despair. That's par for the course. I think we learn and forget in starts and stops and plateaus. When I was growing up and learning a language, it only took me hearing a word twice to remember it. Now it feels like when I am pouring what I learn into my brain, it is like filling a bucket with a hole in it, so in order to learn a new word and remember it, I may need pour in a lot more; to learn a new word I need to hear it 6 or 8 times.

Once I accepted that, I was fine with it.

Result: I have learned to speak spanish fluently, starting from no knowledge at all, in the past three years. Classes, practice, books, films, comic books, travel, duolingo, singing, writing poetry, all in spanish, is what has given me a varied and intense way of learning.

Keep learning, and eventually more and more language will be yours for keeps.


i feel totally the same!


I too have that "aging brain". I agree that immersion is best, but who has the time?? I've taken to going back and reviewing a few lessons every day before moving on. This gets me back in the mental state of learning and helps review what I've done so far. Takes just a little time and helps all that stuff get put into long term memory. And practice, practice, practice is what it takes to get good at anything


Your problem was already quietly solved behind the scenes by Duolingo. The spacing effect, testing effect and lag effect are memory basis that determines the effectiveness of presented information becoming long-term memory. Without getting into the complex details (although they are interesting), a 'spaced repetition system' is designed to predict when your going to forget things to maximize learning efficiency through these effects. Duolingo is built around such a system so it's made to help with your issue even when you're forgetting information (as it adjusts).

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.