Spaced repetition In Language Learning

Advanced Word List Cramming

Language learning systems using spaced repetition help you learn words by reminding you on set intervals which words to learn. It comes down to smart vocabulary list learning. If you cram a list of words you might remember them on the next day's exam, but not the week after. Handy for a high school student, not handy for someone who wants to actually learn the language. A spaced repetition system would remind you to look at the words again the next day, then after three days for example, and finally after eight days of seeing them the first time. This tricks the brain into storing them indefinitely.

Spaced repetition is mainly used for learning large numbers of new words. The problem with this is that you trick the brain in storing a large number of unconnected words. A language consists of an organic scheme of interconnected words, so having a huge number of single words stored in your memory helps recognizing them, but doesn't help in using them. On top of that it's still a fancy form of vocabulary list cramming which is not the high school student's favorite pastime but neither the adult student's.


Vocabulary Learning In Context

New spaced repetition language learning systems focus more on positioning new words in contextual sentences. This more resembles the way words are stored in an organic language scheme in your memory. But they're still loose sentences. The best way to learn new words and collocations is in the format of a story. The story gives your memory a hangup for the sentences, the sentences for the words, and when you encounter those words again, a brain scan would probably see a lot of stuff lighting up because they remind you of different stories.

The Bermuda Word method is based on learning while just reading fun stories, encountering new words in new sentences as part of new stories and ingraining all that in your memory using spaced repetition. This method uses the best existing ways to learn new vocabulary and since it comes down to reading stories, it's a lot more fun than the old word cramming sessions.