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Fluent Forever

How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It

By Gabriel Wyner
  • Read in 15 minutes
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner
Synopsis

Fluent Forever unlocks the secrets of how to get the most out of your memory, so you can learn languages faster than you ever thought possible. It teaches you how your memory works and the precise techniques you can use to remember more words, more accurately, in a way that’s efficient and fun.

Key idea 1 of 9

Images and personal connections make remembering easier for the brain.

If you’ve ever tried to pick up a new language, then you are probably familiar with the infuriating feeling of learning a new word, only to forget it moments later! Luckily, there are some ways to get these new words to stick, and one of them is by creating connections in the brain.

Making connections is central to remembering, but some connections are more effective than others.

Connecting a word to a personal experience is most effective, as this activates numerous areas all over your brain.

The brain processes words on four different levels: Structure, Sound, Concept and Personal Connection.

In one 1970s psychology experiment, students were asked questions based on these levels, such as, “How many capital letters are there in the word ‘bear’?” (Structure); “Does ‘apple’ rhyme with ‘snapple’?” (Sound); and “Is tool another word for ‘instrument’?” (Concept). They then took an unexpected memory test to see which of the words they could recall. It turned out that the students were six times more likely to remember the word if the question called for a personal connection, like “Do you like pizza?” than if the question concerned the structure of the word.

So, say you want to learn the Spanish word for cat (gato). If you can connect the word to a memory you have of a cat, you’ll be 50 percent more likely to remember it. This is also because our visual memory is an effective tool for remembering language.

In a memory experiment in 1960, college students were presented with 612 magazine ads and then shown a new collection of 612 images, and were asked to pick out the original images. The students were able to pick out the original images with 98.5 percent accuracy.

Evidently, anchoring an image to a word, even if it’s an unrelated image, makes the word easier to remember.

So the next time you meet someone named Edward, take a visual cue from the famous Johnny Depp movie and remember his name by imagining him with scissors for hands.

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