The use of different strategies to learn Spanish faster and easier (I)
Learning Spanish will offer you lot of benefits. As a professional, you will get great success in business, you will earn more money than speaking just one language, when needed, professionals like engineers, doctors, lawyers, journalists and other can communicate directly with Spanish-speaking co-workers, patients, clients and interviewed people. You will be able to read the news, to listen and enjoy music in Spanish, watch and understand videos and films, interact with Spanish speakers, and much more. You will learn this language faster and easier if you put into practice some learning strategies.
Many researchers have found the use of different learning strategies to be highly useful when learning a new language. Oxford’s taxonomy (1990) suggests the use of memory, cognitive, compensation, metacognitive, affective and social strategies.
In this paper you will learn about some memory strategies and how to use them. Oxford defines memory strategies like “mental processes for storing new information in the memory and for retrieving them when needed.” Different techniques are used to remember stored information. When learning Spanish it is useful to use the strategies of grouping, associating, placing new words in context, using keywords, and using mechanical techniques to memorize.
How to use the memory strategies
Memory strategies “involve the mental processes for storing new information in the memory and for retrieving them when needed.” (Oxford, 1990). Oxfords considers four sets of memory strategies. They are creating mental linkages, applying images and sounds, reviewing well and employing action. This article we will be about the strategy creating mental linkages. Retrieving information you have gotten will be easier when using this strategy. You can create mental linkages when grouping, associating and placing new words in context. (Oxford, 1990)
If you are reading a text on animals, get the vocabulary on animals and place them according to their similarities.
Animales de la granja (Farm animals) Animales salvajes (Wild animals)
Perro (Dog) Jirafa (Giraffe)
Gallina (Hen) Elefante (Elephant)
Animales que pueden volar Animales que pueden nadar Animales que pueden
(Animals that can fly) (Animals that can swim) caminar (Animals
Mariposa (Butterfly) Ballena (Wale) Perro (Dog)
Ave (Bird) Pez (Fish) Caballo (Horse)
When reading or listening to some material, you can also group following grammar categories:
Sustantivo (Noun) Verbo (Verb) Adverbio (Adverb) Adjetivo (Adjective)
Mesa (Table) Bailar (to dance) Felizmente (Happily) Bonito (Beautiful)
Silla (Chair) Cantar (to sing) Duro (Hard) Happy (Feliz)
Associating: This strategy consists in linking new information to that already known. You can associate new words of the new language with one that looks and sounds similar in your native language. Also, you can associate new words in Spanish with words that look and sound similar in Spanish and that you already know. Similarly, you can associate the new word in Spanish with one that you already know in Spanish and has the same meaning or synonym, in this language.
Some examples of words that look similar in Spanish and English.
Some examples of new words in Spanish with one that you already know in Spanish and has the same meaning, or synonym, in this language.
New word in Spanish Word already known in Spanish that has the same meaning
Feliz (Happy) Contento (happy)
Saltar (to jump) Brincar (to jump)
Coche (car) Automovil, carro (car)
For example, a word can have different meaning according to the context. Let’s consider some examples below.
- The word “rico” in Spanish. It can have different meanings (taste= delicious or economic situation = rich). See the following sentences.
Este pollo sabe muy bien. De hecho, está rico (This chicken tastes very good. In fact, it is delicious)
Ese hombre tiene mucho dinero. Él es rico. (That man has a lot of money. He is rich).
- The word “Cerca” means short distance, or “near”. It also means a barrier to mark a boundary to control access, or “fence”. Note the following statements.
Mi casa está cerca del banco. (My house is near the bank).
Mi patio tiene una cerca. (My yard has a fence)
Now that you have learned about the use of some memory strategies, I invite you to put it into practice and go for more SPANISH! The use of some other memory strategies will be explained in further articles.