How’s your memory? Most people over 50 or even younger groan when asked that question. But memory is of course essential in learning Spanish, learning any language, or learning anything.
I remember noticing in high school and college that my memory operated a bit differently from that of many of my friends. I was able to pick things up quickly — which was great back then for not having to study much — but I also forgot them more easily.
Now I understand why, and it’s a key for you as well in learning Spanish: review is essential for things to become lodged in our long-term memories. I have blogged about this before and no doubt I will again because it’s really important. It’s one reason I recommend using a program for learning Spanish, instead of a little bit of this or that here and there. All good programs have the review process embedded in their schedules.
So when I learned things so easily back then, I didn’t review much. Now I review. Does that mean that I can remember things easily? Ha. I have to review a good bit.
And I do a lot of little memory devices. For example, last week a couple of Mexican men came over to talk with my husband about earthbag building. (Link to my husband’s site on the topic.) I knew one of them well but had never met the other. We were introduced. I said his name out loud, to try to get it to stick.
A little later, I thought it was Chulo and called him that — to laughter. Chulo means handsome, which I knew but hadn’t remembered in the moment. His name was Chalo. So I said “Chalo el chulo” to more laughter, but it was beginning to stick in my mind (and he is chulo). I noticed that Chalo comes alphabetically before Chulo. When I pictured Chalo doing the cha cha, I had everything I needed to remember his name, and since then I have.
There are actually many ways that we can work around apparent weaknesses in our memories. Reviewing, flash cards, and silly memory devices are three important ones for learning Spanish.
Filed under: Learn Spanish