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A common and frequent frustration when you are learning a language is that you will “learn” a word, and then you’ll find that you will have forgotten it when you try to remember it later!

This is typically when you are in a foreign country, or in a language class when your teacher talks about something off topic that is not covered by the classroom learning materials. It could happen seemingly at any time.

Here is my elegant solution.


Any pocket notebook will do, but I chose this “Excalibur” book. I’ll explain how I use it…

When people are learning new vocabulary, they need repeated exposure to the words. If you come across a new word but you only hear it once, it’s probably not going to stick in your memory. I use it to record a word so I can then review it later.

If I have time, I’ll try to think of a mnemonic for the word. Good mnemonics really help generate a strong connection to a word, and if it is possible, try to use associations that you already have with the language you are learning.

If I don’t have time then I’ll consider putting it into an SRS (spaced repetition system) like Memrise, for example. There are plenty of other good apps and sites available too – a popular app is Anki.

These tricks really help a lot, but despite all of this the best advice I can offer is to simply have patience with yourself. Despite our best efforts, we still forget things when we are learning!