Grammar - memory techniques

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#1 18 August, 2011 - 08:02
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Grammar - memory techniques


I'm just curious if anyone has any special technique when learning languagegrammar? I am trying to learn French and using the Dominic method to learn words helps a lot but I haven't been successful yet to use it for grammar. The problem I think is that the information is to abstract... to give an example of what I am trying to learn right now is :

In French a noun has a genus and the most common endings look like this :
M = -age, -ail, -eau, -ent, -ier, -isme
F = -esse, -ette, -ie, -ion, -té, -ure

A masculine noun can be transformed to a feminine one like this:

most ones -> add -e
words that ends with -n -> replace with -nne
words that ends with -t -> replace with -tte
words that ends with -eur -> replace with -euse

How would you work with something like this?

18 August, 2011 - 12:34
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One idea:

You could make two locations: one for masculine, one for feminine.

Some quick images, based on the written form:
age - Japanese fried tofu
ail - pint of warm ale
eau - water
ent - Ent
ier - brigadier
isme - pick an "ism" or picture self in Arabic language class: "ma ismik?" ("What is your name?")... or "ice-milk"...

Other location:
esse - finesse (fin > shark fin > shark skillfully making a soup and then diving in with fin surfacing)
ette - Smurfette
ie - Internet Explorer
ion - water ionizer
- tea
ure - urine

When you have a word that ends in -ette, you see Smurfette, and she is in the feminine area of your memory palace. The two separate locations could separate the gender of the endings.

For the noun transformations, I might try to learn one example word from each group.

I started a writeup of what I learned from the Esperanto experiment. I'll post that soon, but I think it helps to learn the mnemonics both directions.

Example:
The Table of Correlatives in Esperanto is regular: kiu, kio, kia, kie, kiel, kial, kiam, kiom, kies. I listen for the ending, like -e, which is the number 7 (boomerang) in my mnemonic system for sounds.

It's a weird mnemonic (boomerangs on wallpaper > coffee shop > Amsterdam > mokum aleph > mokum > place), but the sound of the suffix triggers it. Then the "k" sound is "question". So "kie" means "which place", or "where".

If I want to say something about "place, I can follow the association in the other direction. I find the suffix for "place" (place > mokum > mokum aleph > wallpaper of coffee shop in Amsterdam > boomerang > 7 > -e). Then attach a "ti", "ki" or other prefix based on some other associations.

The French mnemonic "ie" as Internet Explorer might only work for written words and be good for things like studying for multiple choice tests, but if you want the mnemonic to work for speech comprehension, it might be better to encode the sound. I definitely haven't perfected language mnemonics, but that has just been my experience so far.

18 August, 2011 - 12:59
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Joined: 2 years 7 months ago

Are you just looking for the transformations, or for determining if the noun is masculine or feminine?

If just the transformations, then my reply would just be: try making one mnemonic image from each type of noun. :)

I don't know how to pronounce French, but from the written forms, maybe something like this:
européen > européenne -- European peeing (on Eiffel Tower), European eating penne.

Something like that...

19 August, 2011 - 01:04
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Thank you for the feedback. When I started out I started to just learn the words, create a mental image and associate colors with it. The colors with symbolize the genus where I just used the common blue for masculine and pink for feminine a bit like to mentioned in the second post.

But I think trying to memorize the general rules (the grammar) would speed my language learning up until they are such a part of my knowledge that they come naturally. Thanks for all the tips in the first post which game a great deal to work from and I am looking forward to your writeup on the Esperantoexperiment :-)

19 August, 2011 - 01:24
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Joined: 2 years 7 months ago

A quick summary of the experiment is that memory techniques are great for written tests on language topics. But I don't think one can just memorize a lot of grammar and vocabulary and then speak or understand a language. My brain couldn't process the memorized information at conversation speeds.

Memorization did help with not having to look some things up in a dictionary, especially the words that aren't related to English, like kiam, tio, tie, kiel, , tre, and aĉeti, as well as "false friends" like atendi and elekti.

It would help to memorize patterns of the language (example words and sentences) in addition to just things like suffixes.

Example:
In Esperanto, the suffix -eg- makes something larger, and -et- makes something smaller. Instead of memorizing only the suffixes, I memorized:
domo = house
domego = mansion [giant egg]
dometo = cottage [small ET]

5 December, 2016 - 07:51
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Joined: 10 months 3 weeks ago

Learning some poetry in the target language can help a lot with this. Ideally you'd find (or write) a poem (or song, etc) that contains examples of all the grammatical forms you need to memorize. Memorize the poem, and you can then mentally recite it to figure out the correct form for some word. Ideally the rhythm and rhyme will reinforce the exact forms of the words (because anything else would break the flow of the poem).

[my experience: I've not used this method *solely* for a particular bit of grammar. I've instead learned some poetry quite early in the study of a language, then used it as a way to mentally look up any bit of grammar]

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