Hello my fellow English language fanatics! 😉
I’ve been publishing videos and articles on this blog for years on end, and if you’ve been following my website for some time you’ll know that my main focus is spoken English development because I write for those foreigners who are struggling to speak fluently while being quite good at other aspects of their English.
One of the main aspects of oral fluency development is phraseology acquisition – or if put in simple terms – building your vocabulary of English word combinations and phrases (why am I not talking about individual English words? Read THIS article to find out why!).
Spaced repetition is by far the most effective way of learning those phrases, and it’s based on the following simple principles:
- You repeat a phrase a number of times until it sticks with you and you can repeat it automatically;
- You review that phrase later on that day, then the following day, and then in a few days’ time.
Simple as that! 😉
That’s what I’ve been doing to build my own English phraseology, and that’s what all my customers are doing when improving their English with help of the English Harmony System.
One closely related subject that I haven’t touched upon on my blog, however, is different memorization techniques that you might use to memorize your English phraseology even faster and more efficiently, and that’s exactly what I’m going to look at in this article!
SIDENOTE: please bear in mind that I’m not going to look at individual English word memorization techniques in this article because by far the best way to acquire new English vocab is by learning it in the CONTEXT which essentially means memorizing entire phrases and sentences is pretty much the only way forward!
Start from the End and Stack the Words Up!
This cool phraseology memorization technique was brought to my attention by Aaron from PhraseMix.com, and HERE you can read the article on his website where he describes how the technique works.
Stacking upon words from the end of a phrase doesn’t really clash with the traditional old-school spaced repetition method – no matter what way you memorize the English phrase or sentence, you still have to repeat it a good few number of times until it gets imprinted into your mind.
What this method does, however, is – it makes it easier to memorize a longer sentence which otherwise would probably require a number of failed attempts before you could memorize the entire sentence EXACTLY the way it’s worded.
Let’s take, for example, the following American English phrase:
Now, if you read the sentence from the start and memorize it that way, it might take you a bit longer than if you utilize this “start from the end” technique:
- Learn the bit ALL OVER IT first;
- Then add the word WRITTEN to it and repeat it: WRITTEN ALL OVER IT;
- Add the next word WRONG and repeat the longer sentence again: WRONG WRITTEN ALL OVER IT;
- Finally add the last two words onto it and repeat the entire sentence – IT HAS WRONG WRITTEN ALL OVER IT.
I don’t really know what it is, but memorizing an English phrase from the end works, so we should definitely thank Aaron for writing about it on his website!
Put the Phrase into a Song and Sing It!
I was so excited about the previous English phrase memorization technique that I e-mailed all my mailing list subscribers telling them to try it out.
I got a lot of positive feedback confirming the efficiency of the “start from the end” technique, and I also got responses from some people saying it doesn’t really work for them.
Fair enough – each to their own, as they say! 🙂
But here’s what one of my English Harmony System’s customers – Andres from Chile – had to say in connection with memorizing English phrases:
Robby, I would like to share with you my own method for memorizing English phrases. I call it “music memo”. It consists of going over a particular English sentence slowly and using a melody of one of my favorite songs. I repeat it just two or three times and after that I repeat it at a normal speed without mistakes and hesitation. Even works over your program!
Now, that was something new to me! 😀
Well, not that I hadn’t thought about something remotely similar in the past – at one stage I even considered creating an English fluency improving program based on singing along popular songs and learning the respective song lyrics.
It’s just that this particular approach of putting a totally DIFFERENT English phrase (something that’s not part of the original song lyrics!) into a song you like is a whole new ballgame!
It puts a totally different spin on the old “sing-along and learn song lyrics” English learning method, and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Andres for bringing this method to my attention – and who knows, maybe you’ll also find his method very useful when learning new English phraseology?
English Vocabulary and Phraseology Memorization ISN’T the Same!
Those of you who may be wondering why I don’t mention various English vocabulary memorization techniques involving different number, letter and image related associations (here’s a great website featuring most popular memorization techniques – check it out if you’re interested!) in this article, let me point out to you, my friend, that memorizing a new English vocabulary word and an English phrase isn’t the same thing.
When you memorize a completely new English word, for example, you may indeed use some imagery to make it easier for you to remember it.
Let’s say, for example, if you’ve come across this new English word PETRIFIED and you find it hard to remember it, you may indeed play around with it to create some visual association which might help you remember it easier.
A good example of such association would be imagining a very, very scared boy named PETeR IF he dIED. Once you get that image in your head, you won’t have big difficulties remembering that word PETRIFIED and its meaning “very, very scared”.
How to memorize English words you already KNOW in a specific SEQUENCE!
So basically the common vocabulary memorization techniques don’t really apply here anymore because instead of learning a brand new word you merely have to learn a word sequence consisting of words you’re familiar with, and that’s when the spaced repetition technique is hands down the best technique to get the job done.
Yes, you may put a different spin on it – by learning the phrase from the end or putting it into a song of your choice, but the main principle remains the same no matter what:
You have to REPEAT the sentence or the phrase until you can say it out loud AUTOMATICALLY and without much thinking!
English phrases and expressions from this article worth memorizing:
For years on end – year after year, for a good number of years.
If put in simple terms – if said in a simplified way.
Closely related – often followed by words topic or subject; this is how native speakers describe very related concepts.
Brought to my attention – when someone points something out to you, it’s said that it’s been brought to your attention.
Each to their own – this American English idiom means that everybody has their own preferences, basically each person likes something different.
A whole new ballgame – this sports related idiom means that the subject you’re touching upon is something completely different from what you were talking about previously.
When it comes to – just another way of saying “in relation to” or “speaking of…”
More often than not – another way of saying “normally” or “most commonly”.
Hands down – an English idiom meaning that something was done very, very easily or that the concept you’re discussing, for example, is by far the most effective way of doing the particular thing.
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!