What helps you to remember things? When I say ‘things’, I´m referring to what helps you remember words and phrases from another language. Leaving notes around the house, putting words to a favourite or familiar song, or maybe forming mnemonics; these are all popular ways to commit information to your memory.


When my friend´s kids first started to learn a new language, she stuck Post-it notes all around the house on everyday objects. Each time they needed to use an object, she´d ask them to say the word for it in the foreign language first. As they saw the notes every day, they also became familiar with the spelling of the new words very quickly.


It´s a common idea, and a very successful one at that, to put sentences of the new language you´re learning towards the verses of a favourite song. The more you sing the verses, the more the foreign sentences stick in your mind as would the original sentences, without you even realising it. And as you enjoy the song, it doesn´t feel like such an effort to learn the foreign language.


Using a mnemonic device is a memory aid used by most people. One way to create a mnemonic is by taking the first letter of each word you are trying to remember and construct a memorable phrase. The most common example of this is the mnemonic used to remember the colours of the rainbow, ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’. Each of the initial letters corresponds with a colour: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Well, that one´s always worked for me, at least.

Memory aids

So what method do you prefer to use when you´re trying to remember something? Do you enjoy word association or maybe reciting the foreign sentences as though they were lines in a play? Share your favourite memory aids with your fellow students!