Mnemonics... useless.. methivier... you are wrong

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#1 2 July, 2016 - 11:11
Joined: 1 year 4 months ago

Mnemonics... useless.. methivier... you are wrong

Ok it's a little provocation...:) but i'have your attention now..or am i wrong?
First sorry for my mother tongue is not this so...if I will make mistakes...please be patient

I've searched all over the internet to get some hints on language learning...and now? I have found a very big problem (at least for me of course)

Let me explain...I pick up the book, (an intermediate one for istance, the beginner are not good for this kind of mnemot.)
open it and pick up a random lesson... learn the words, use mnemonics for memorizing them and now?

If i use the memory palace with the Methivier magnetic memory Tecn. I put the words in alphabetical order and now?
if I want to say I would like to eat a piece of ...(maybe i want to say the word MEAT in my language is CARNE).. with his method the word meat will be under the M session of my memory palace but then? to find the word i need to remember that it begin with an M... Yes of course if I find the word Meat i can go on my M room in my memory palace and find it...but...if i need to use the word? how can i do?

Another example with dominic o brian method... i have the city filled with a lot of vocabulary but... if i need to use the word meat it's ok i know it's in the supermarket...i can go straight to the word but if I find meat how can i remember?

I hope that I've explained myself well.... the problem is the opposite... with the first method i can recall word if i see them (or hear them ) but if i have to use them? with the second i can use them but how can i recall them when i read or hear meat (et similia).

I really would like to have a method to learn a foreign languages... for now I've found that picking up lesson learn the words and then see them in context are the best way to go can be better no? how? please help meeeeeee :)

10 July, 2016 - 11:08
Joined: 3 years 4 months ago

I think you are overcomplicating simple things. When you are learning a language you need a fast way to introduce new words to your memory and to review them later in an organised manner. And this is the main purpose of mnemonics. After you manage to temporarily memorise all these words you just need to use them in practice - reading, speaking, writing and listening to a foreign language. At this moment you only need to keep reviewing the more difficult words, because you will permanently learn all easy and popular ones from practice.

4 August, 2016 - 11:26
Joined: 1 year 3 months ago

Nice title :-)

OK, let's start with Metivier's memory palace. Yes, he does organize them by first letter... so for English vocabulary, you would have about 26 places and all the A words would go in the A palace, B words in the B palace, etc.

Clearly, the organization of the palace isn't designed to help you find words when you need them! What this organization is good for is reviewing the words. Every so often, you take a stroll though your palaces to review all the words you know.

If you want to be able to think of carne and remember the word for it in another language, then you should use carne in your mnemonic device. So if you want to remember that the English word is 'meat' you could picture a big piece of carne drinking all of your tea and you get upset and say, "Mi té!" (if your native language is Spanish) which sounds sort of like 'meat' if you chop off the last letter.

Or if you're using Metivier's method and you have some character that walks through the M palace (Mickey Mouse?) then it's Mickey who sees carne drinking all his tea. And this all happens is a specific room or location of the M palace.

Then when you're thinking of carne, you don't think, "OK, it's in the M palace, right?". You think, "OK, what is carne doing?.... oh yeah, drinking all of the tea!.. Mi té... meat!"

When you hear the word 'meat' and you need to go backwards, then you do essentially the same thing... you ask yourself, "what was the mnemonic device for meat?... oh yeah, Mi té!... and who was drinking the tea?... Carne!"

But realistically, your goal is not to use these mnemonics to speak and understand... your goal is to use them to make learning the words easier. The more you review the mnemonic devices, the less you'll need them. Eventually, the foreign words will pop into your mind instead of the mnemonics.... Mnemonics just make getting to that point faster and easier.

5 August, 2016 - 04:33
Joined: 4 years 6 months ago

I hope the title of this post was intended as a joke.

Even so, whenever I skim past it, it seems to me rather disrespectful toward Mr. Metivier.

5 August, 2016 - 10:55
Joined: 1 year 3 months ago


Calling someone wrong isn't disrespectful. I'm sure Anthony has thick enough skin to deal with that.

5 August, 2016 - 11:32
Joined: 4 years 6 months ago

You are correct. Calling someone wrong is not necessarily disrespectful.

That said, when we disagree, we make choices about how we present our views. In the end, I probably could have chosen a better word.

Like uncouth.

12 August, 2016 - 07:55
Joined: 2 years 12 months ago

That in my opinion is even worse :D

11 September, 2016 - 00:59
Joined: 1 year 4 months ago

forgive me if i was rude, wasn't my intention.... thanks for the reply

11 September, 2016 - 06:35
Joined: 2 years 6 months ago

The past year I have been where you seem to be, asking myself "will I be able to do it?"

In the end, most of the times the answer appeared to be yes, though only after I spend time into trying it and fitting it a bit to my need through trial and error. There is no useless method and there is no wrong method. There are different methods that can be more or less fit to you personal and there are people who say they can't do things before even trying.

Let me first break one myth, mnemonics is no magic pill. It is no god-like method. It is no mental NZT-48 (if you watched 'Limitless'). If you want it to work, you have to make it work. There are things that work and things that don't work, but it all requires you to put effort in the preparations and it all requires you to actually do it and see how it works.

That being said, there is a difference in learning a language and using a language. The systems are for learning a language. to use a language you still require some practice. In a conversation you don't have time to search for every word you need. Languages might differ in this slightly, but on average people speak around 2, sometimes 3 words per second in a casual conversation. Try using a memory palace to translate that back and forth... not gonna be pretty. Basically, all the system does to my experience, is give you a mental dictionary. It can always happen that you don't remember a word, the memory palace is very handy then. And once you've gotten a bit used to the images in your palace, you can also find them very easily, but most of the language should be used without the palace.

As I always say, it is fine to disagree. But also be able to point out what should be changed and how to make it better. It is incredibly easy to not try (or try once or twice) and just shout that it doesn't work while expecting others to come to your bidding with a better method. Mnemonics doesn't work like that. You grab a system, you go out trying, you tweak it to your needs, you try more, you decide to stay with it or attempt another system. Should you try another, go back to step one. Should you stay with the same, tweak it more and try it more until you are satisfied. In the end, what you end up with is your own system that uses an existing system as a base.

It is fine to disagree, be my guest. You are entitled to your opinion. But if everything we use isn't to your liking, don't expect us to give you something magical. The systems we use are better than nothing, and we have yet to find anything better than what we have, which is why we use what we use. If there were better things, we'd use those, wouldn't we?

11 September, 2016 - 06:54
Joined: 1 year 4 months ago

I think that you misunderstood me... I use mnemonics, i love memory game (like memorizing deck of cards, historical dates etc...) and I know for sure that it's very different from learning a language of course. In the end if i want to memorize i dunno the discovery of the america by colombo it's something that i can have in a memory palace... it is normal if to recall that information i spend 10 seconds searching in my mind... not the same if i'm speaking and i want to know how can i say meat...i don't have 10 seconds x word... What I want to know it's simply this...I spend 2 month learning 6000 words in japanese for example (100 x day) with mnemonics then i start to read, listen and when i will be used to it i will start to use my passive vocabulary in an active way...or it's better to sit down take unit 1, with 15-20 words and learn this words then listen read write with the exercise that i will find in that unit then go to unit 2.... (always keep in mind that if i want to follow the Methivier method i cannot do this way because he prefer to memorize using alphabet so in this way i will have 20 random words then another 20 then another 20 few days later all this words not in alphabetical order, maybe more like thematic list)

18 September, 2016 - 01:01
Joined: 1 year 2 months ago

You seem to be thinking of memory palaces as some sort of hard drive stored in your mind. That how you use them is when you need a word you set your mind on scan and wait for it to run through a few dozen categorized words to find the one you want.

I am not an authority on Metivier because I have just started using his system but generally there is no searching for a word when you need it. The whole point of it is to have previously searched systematically with a procedure that lays it into your memory better than processes like spaced repetition (think Anki with type to answer format) or Duolingo.

In German, nouns are gendered, so for English speakers it is often difficult to remember the correct gender. Since articles are gendered as well, the best method is to remember the appropriate article and its gender when learning the noun. Still, it can be a trial.

Where I live there are hundreds of small, uninhabited islands most of which present a sheer cliff face to the water. That means they are dangerous to navigate around when visibility is limited. Even in good conditions it is advisable to avoid getting too close to them if it isn't your destination. Basically, be wary of them.

In German, island is a feminine word. This runs counter to how I see islands because of my personal experience. The word for island in German is Insel. It is feminine. The feminine form of _the_ is die. So it is -die Insel.- How to remember the gender isn't what it seems like it should be (for me) using a memory palace?

First I create a palace location. Second I create an association that has meaning for me. When I was nine, some friends and myself rowed out about a mile to one of these deserted islands that actually had a thirty foot beach to land on. My friends climbed up the rocks to explore the island. I said I wanted to cool off in the extremely, cold water and would catch up to them. After a couple of minutes of swimming I realized that I was in a current that was sweeping me away from the island. If I was swept very much farther, out past the last point of land, it was obvious I would not survive in the cold water that far away from any other land. That is the first part of the image.

The second part is a film clip of the results of a long term influx of deer into a small town not too far away from where I live. The deer had become territorial and were threatening people and pets. The news showed a male deer on the sidewalk in front of a house using his antlers to pin a border collie dog to the ground. The dog looked exactly like my childhood pet dog that was killed in front of our house by a car. It was clear from the dogs yelping and signs of discomfort, he was pinned and very uncomfortable but not being gored to death, it was a strong image but not unbearably so.

So how to get the images to reflect the connection of the feminine article die to the sound of the noun Insel at the same time as conveying the meaning of the word. Simple. I already use the image of a deer to represent the feminine article die (the) There I am desperately swimming toward the beach to save my life and while struggling to reach it, I see my childhood pet pinned by a deer covered in tinsel. Deer (die), covered in tinsel (Insel), scene on a specific beach (island). Die Insel = island

Believe me when I tell you I don't have to scan my memory to remember if Insel is feminine. If I stop dealing with German tomorrow and ten years from someone asks me what the gender of the German for island is, I will instantly remember the deer pinning down my dog on the make it or die beach, and that makes it feminine.

It took me about thirty seconds to work up an image that carries the sound, gender and meaning of the German word for island and I don't have to search for it when I need it. It took about ten seconds to properly locate it in a memory palace so I can keep it available for use in my instantly available memory.

Now the question you might ask is if it is so powerful why bother with the location in the memory palace? The location is necessary because the two images are powerful especially when connected. But I added the tinsel image to reproduce the sound of Insel. And that is not powerful. I might forget that detail. So I put the whole works in a special location and every once in while run through all the locations to refresh the important but not so evocative details of any particular image association.

I also put them in an excel file so if I do lose an important detail because of leaving it too long or the image is too weak I have it on file somewhere. If the image is too weak, then I improve it.

If you have to search for a word very often when you need them, then your images aren't strong enough or you aren't reviewing them enough.

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