Foreign Language Tip 2 #28 | The Key to a New Language… Memorization

You’d be surprised to know that the biggest obstacle you have in learning a new language is mastering how to memorize things. Yes, a good portion of it is learning new grammar principles and things of that nature.

But consider this, when you’re in the middle of a conversation and you’re trying to think of a word to use in a sentence, you don’t say,

“Oh, I haven’t learned that word yet. Nevermind.”

You say, “I forgot.”

But why?

Because simply put, all the words that we know and speak are words we have memorized from a very early age. The only reason why we know how to use them and when to use them is because of repeated usage of the word, including the times we’ve heard it used.

So how is this knowledge useful in learning Korean?

It’s all about memorization here too! You know words from k-dramas and kpop songs because you heard it so much that you’ve memorized it. You’ve seen it./heard it in context so you know what it means.

Example: 왜, 뭐, 언니, 오빠, 누나, 아줌마, 아주씨, 선생님

I could go on and on with the words that you know and you probably didn’t even realize you knew and understood so many words. And you know them so well because you memorized them.

To help you as learn Korean, write down a weekly list of words. Start with five words a week that you memorize and apply.

An example list would be:

  • 욕실 / 화장실 | bathroom/restroom (whichever one you use)
  • 언제 | where
  • 배고픈 | hungry
  • 마시다 | drink
  • 위 | up (or top)

For the words that are verbs, practice conjugating them as well. Once you have memorized the words on your list, move on to a new list. But don’t move on until you have memorized the words on your first list. As you progress, you’ll notice that it’s easier to create sentences and understand what’s being said to you in Korean.

The takeaway from this post that I want you to remember, while it is good to focus on grammar principles, don’t get so caught up in them. Focus on the basics. Focus on vocabulary and you’ll be able to see your progress.


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