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How to remember the words. 如何记单词

To “get by” in a language it takes a vocabulary of about 120 basic words. Anne Merritt explains how to learn them.
若想把一门外语说得“凑合得过去”,至少需要掌握120个基本单词。语言学家Anne Merritt 向我们解释该如何学习这些单词。

When trying to learn a foreign language, most of us have the same complaint: “I’m just not good at memorising.” Learning new vocabulary can be daunting, especially for busy adults whose minds are already occupied with work, family, and other responsibilities.
我们中的绝大部分人,对于学习一门新语言都有相同的抱怨:“我记性不好。”的确,学习新词汇是挺让人望而生畏的,尤其对于那些已经被工作、家庭和其他责任占领了全部心思的成年人来说。

A comfort? Linguists say that to “get by” in a language, such as directing a taxi or asking for a phone number, it takes a vocabulary of about 120 basic words. It’s a manageable goal, and a firm foundation for beginners. Here are eight tips for getting there:
令人安慰的消息来了:语言学家表示,想把一门语言说得勉强能凑合着用,比如能基本满足跟出租车司机指路、问别人要电话号码这样的事,只需要掌握120个基本词汇就行。这是个可以达到的目标,同时对于初学者而言,也是坚实的基础。若想达到以下目标,我们提供了8个小贴士:

1. Set realistic goals
确定比较现实的目标

Forget the long vocabulary study sheets, or reading the dictionary. Experts say that learners are capable or retaining 10-20 words per study hour. If you do 15 minutes of self-study per day, set a weekly vocabulary goal of 20-25 words and phrases. That’s only six weeks until the 120-word “survival kit” is learned and memorised.
把词汇书、厚字典先扔到一边儿去吧。专家认为,每人每小时能够掌握10-20个单词。如果你每天都学习15分钟,那么可以把每周计划单词量设置为20-25个生词及词组。这样一来,只需要6个礼拜,你就能学会并牢记住那120个“生存必备单词”啦。

2. Cluster
使用分组记忆法

Those one-word-a-day language learning apps may feel convenient, but thematically, they’re all over the place, delivering a chain of unrelated words: envelope, tired, January, receive, onion. Focus on a single theme each week. The mind naturally clusters connected words together, so learning, say, types of weather in one lesson, and parts of the body the next, works in tune with your brain’s natural system for classifying information.
有些“一日一词”之类的语言学习类应用可能看着挺方便,但实际上呢,他们杂乱无章地把一堆毫无联系的词汇摆到你面前,比如:信封、疲惫、一月、接受、洋葱等等。不如一周只学习一个主题。这样就可以把相关的词汇连起来,一起记忆。比如,第一节课,你可以只学习与“天气”有关的单词;下一次课呢,学习“身体部位”……如此这般,你的大脑会自然而然地将信息分类。

3. Avoid opposites
不要用“反义词法”来记忆

It might seem logical to study opposites together: hot/cold, expensive/cheap. It isn't. A learning hiccup called 'cross association' can occur, when you learn two words so closely together you end up mixing them up. If a Spanish student learns 'always' (siempre) and 'never' (nunca) together, they might later draw on one word when they mean to use the other. Instead, study the more common word first (eg: deep) and, once it’s retained, learn its opposite (shallow).
看上去,似乎记忆反义词是挺不错的学习方法:冷/热、昂贵/便宜。其实不然,它会导致“联想混淆”,让你把两个总是一起记忆的单词混到一块儿去了。假如一个西班牙学生学英语,把”always永远”(西语:siempre)和”never从不”(西语:nunca)放在一起记忆,他很可能会在对话中使用与其本意相反的那个词。我们应该先学习常用的词汇,比如“deep”(深);等掌握了它,再学反义词“shallow”(浅)。

4. Dissect new words
剖析生词

When encountering a new word, take a look at its structure. Many words consist of prefixes and suffixes, and an understanding of these parts of speech is advantageous. The French word désagréable, for example, contains the negating prefix dés- and the adjective-forming suffix –able. Studying these affixes can help you to understand conjugation and structure, and make educated guesses when encountering new vocabulary.
看到一个生词,就该先琢磨它的结构。很多词汇都有前缀/后缀,一旦掌握了这些前后缀,对辨识词义的帮助极大。比如法语词汇“désagréable”中含有否定义的前缀“dés-”和表形容词属性的后缀“-able”。学会这些缀词能帮你理解词形、结构,以及正确推测出生词的含义。

5. Read, read, read
要阅读,阅读,再阅读
Reading helps you revisit learned vocabulary, and see those words in new sentences and contexts. One excellent source of foreign language exposure is through graded readers, which are designed specifically for language learners. Another good source is advertisements or menus, which tend to use short, colloquial text.
因为阅读能使你重逢学过的单词,并用全新的句子和语境展现出来。分阶读本是很棒的选择,因为它们专为语言学习者设计。广告和菜单也很不错,因为它们都使用了简短而通俗的词句。

6. Visualise
可视化

One mnemonic learning trick for new vocabulary is the Keyword Method. Drawing on a similar-sounding word in your native language, visualise a picture or scene to go with the new vocabulary. For example, on a trip to Moscow, I remembered the Russian formal hello, “Zdravstvujtye” (Здравствуйте) with the mental image of a stressed vulture. These visualisations are often abstract, ridiculous, and embarrassing to admit, but they work, especially for longer words.
生词的记忆方法中,有一个叫“关键词记忆法”。把你的母语中发音相近的单词写下来,然后想象其代表的形象,从而记忆生词。举个例子,我去莫斯科旅行的时候,学会了俄罗斯语的“你好”-“Zdravstvujtye” (Здравствуйте),因为英语中的“vulture”(秃鹰)跟它发音很像,我只需把重音放在后面就可以了。这些可视化的记忆方法通常很抽象、也很无厘头,甚至有点让人羞于承认,但确实很有效果,尤其对于冗长的生词来说。

7. Focus on phrases
注重短语学习

Linguist Michael Lewis encourages language learning in lexical chunks, rather than on a word-by-word basis. A good portion of daily communication involves predictable common phrases: “turn left,” “just a minute,” “nice to meet you.” When studying a new language, memorise these phrases and you'll have a ready arsenal of dialogue, without the stress of having to build and conjugate your sentences from scratch.
语言学家Michael Lewis 鼓励学生们用词块学语言,而不是一个词儿一个词儿地学。日常对话中,有极大一部分都是常用短语,比如“向左转”、“等一下”、“很高兴见到你”。学新语言也要牢记常用短语,很快你便能组建自己的对话短语库来,这样和人交流的时候便无需磕磕巴巴、一个词一个词地拼凑了。

8. Review often
经常复习

In a vocabulary class, yesterday’s vocabulary is more important than today’s. The goal is to transfer the short-term knowledge of new vocabulary into your long-term memory. Review is essential – in the first few days or weeks after learning new vocabulary, recycle those words and you'll entrench them in your memory. A good language textbook or online program will be organised in a way that reviews and applies learned vocabulary in later lessons.
学习词汇需注意,今天的生词永远没有复习昨天已学会的旧词来得重要。我们的目标是:将生词灌输到你的长期记忆中。学会新词的头几天头几周,多多复习,以牢固记忆。你可以选择一本好的教材或是一个在线学习网站,以有组织地回顾、应用之前学会的东西。


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