Eyes on the Prize
I’m so excited – I managed to win a month’s worth of VIP time to one of my favorite language learning websites. So now that I have access to some more robust study tools, I have a much better handle on the size of my meager vocabulary, and new ways to help make my lessons more easily remembered. My current study strategy has been to expose myself to the same word in multiple places. Not just hearing and seeing it, but hearing it spoken by multiple natives or seeing it written in different mediums and context. I find that I remember the words better that way because each subsequent encounter “rubs off on me”, and I can later recall the circumstances that I previously encountered the word.
Like “Wüste”. I remember that one because one of my audio lessons was talking about “Service Wüste”.
… or Pferd, which I remember by the horse picture on my flashcard
… then there’s “Spiegel” and “Augen” which always makes me think of one of my favorite lines in a song I like that talks about “A look in the mirror at the blue of my eyes”
… Not to mention Süßer, because I always think back to one of my new favorite things: Süßersenf.
Lately I’ve adopted a new study trick. The hardest part for me still is conversation. When I try to think of something to say, I get stumped. So to relax a little, I’ve tried some visual improvisation. Throughout my day when I’m walking around, I will look at the things around me and try to remember what they are called in Deutsch. It’s very random and incoherent, but it gets me to try saying the words and thinking of them from scratch. My eyes might dart from one thing to the next and I just ramble the words… like on a drive home from work it might look something like:
Auto… Dass ist mein Auto. Mein auto ist schwarz. Ich fahre an der Straße. Jetzt gehe Ich zuhause. Das Licht ist rot. Ich halte auf dem rot Licht. Ich hasse an dem rot Licht warten. Kinder. Kinder gehen an der Straße. Wild Turkey? Wie sagt man “wild turkey”. Ich weiß nicht. Wild Turkey gehen an der Straße.
When I run into a word I don’t know, I don’t stress it and I move on to other words. Then when I get back to my computer or get a moment with my phone, I look it up and try to add it to my vocabulary.
So far it seems to be helping. Just today I sent a text to my husband that I made a reservation at the restaurant. It felt nice to write things from memory. Of course… it’s also hilarious to watch my husband’s confusion since he doesn’t speak any Deutsch hehehe.