Das muss ich mir merken: learning in order to remember…

Page still under construction - Seite immer noch im Bau!
Page still under construction Seite immer noch im Bau!

One of these days each of these ideas will turn into a page. 

Eines Tages werden diese Ideen zu richtigen Seiten. Hoffentlich.

Learning in themes

Making up concept maps

Same, same, different

Writing a diary

Making up and using games to help you learn

Becoming your own podcaster

Reading books

The title of this page is a sentence uttered by a kind lady called Veronica in Dömitz, a town on the Elbe River in Germany. She ran a little hostel or pension for cyclists and she was very kind when we arrived, apologising for speaking almost no English. I told her that I preferred it that way, because then I could speak German (or have lots of fun trying). She asked me what the word for „Tor“ was in English, and when I said „gate“, she murmured to herself, „Das muss ich mir merken“ (I must remember that).

I remembered her sentence because I’m always trying to figure out how best to fix the words and phrases of German in my fickle memory. The trouble is, it’s not enough just to remember them. It’s the quality of remembering that matters. You have to know them well enough to be able to form sentences with them at a moment’s notice. You need to recall them automatically, understand them in different contexts and make use of them in all the clever, amusing ways that come so easily when we speak our mother tongue.

In other words, you have to become intimate with  the words of a foreign language. You can’t just get away with a quick handshake. You have to visit them often, see them in different situations, get to know all their little quirks and ultimately turn them into friends. In order to do this, you can’t just read your vocabulary list on the train on the way to school. That’s only a handshake. What you need is an embrace!

The methods above are all intended to help you embrace the words of the German language. Some of the strategies are fun. Some of them are hard work. Friendships are like that.

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