Memorizing the dictionary can seem like a daunting feat. For example, the Oxford dictionary of the English language contains over 300,000 entries and the Merriam-Webster dictionary contains about 470,000. The current world record for the most entries memorized by one person is held by Mahaveer Jain of India., who can remember 80,000 individual entries, as well as their sequence and page numbers in the dictionary. By using the memory palace method and other memorization techniques, such as flashcards, you can train your mind to improve your memory of words in the Spanish language.
Method 1 of 2: Using the memory palace method
Step 1. Consider how the method works
The memory palace method is a type of mnemonic. This is a learning device that can help you remember difficult information. Everyone has a "memory palace," which is a space in your mind where you build memories and store information, from images of the past to words and phrases.
- Think of your mind as a great palace of memory. Inside the palace, there are separate "stations" or spaces, such as a bedroom or a living room. The distance between these rooms is called a "path". When building your memory palace, you can leave words and phrases at those stations and then come back for them later when you tour your palace. This method will help you to remember words from a text, like a dictionary, in an unlimited way, since there is no limit to the number of rooms or spaces that you can add to your memory palace.
- The memory palace method isn't just for those with a visual learning style. Everyone has the ability to imagine a palace or a home and the rooms or spaces within it. You can use your own home as a way to map your memory palace or create your own palace from a combination of several known spaces.
Step 2. Draw a plan of your memory palace
Start by taking a blank sheet of paper and a pencil or pen. Think of a home or space that you are familiar with, such as your parents' house, your school, or your job. Choose a space that has multiple rooms. You can also combine spaces to form the floor plan of your memory palace.
Start with the largest rooms. Arrange them so that they have a circular or semi-circular shape with at least two outlets. For example, the plan may include four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large kitchen, a great room, and a living room, as well as long areas for a front yard and a back yard. Try to include as many rooms in the plan as possible without cluttering them next to each other. Leave enough space between rooms to create a path
Step 3. Make a linear path through the plane
You want to make sure you can draw a linear path through space. You must be able to move through the memory palace without hitting a dead end. This will allow you to move from station to station easily and avoid overlapping or getting stuck in one of them.
Use a pen to draw a clear linear path from one end of the plane to the other so that it has a continuous flow. If you walk through the plane, you should be able to access every room or station along the way and move in a fluid line through the palace
Step 4. Number your "stations"
Starting with 1, number your stations in order, moving from one end of the plane to the other. Try to include at least four numbers in each corner of each room or station.
For example, you can have 1, 2, 3, and 4 in each corner of one room and then 5, 6, 7, and 8 in each corner of the next room. This will allow you to store more than one word in a room and maximize the space in each room or station in the palace. Try to get to at least 50 in your memory palace
Step 5. Make a list of the "stations" and add corresponding words from the dictionary
Open a document in a word processor or use a pencil and paper to list the stations on the map. Include the numbers associated with each station or room. For example, you could write 1, 2, 3, and 4 under "bedroom" and 5, 6, 7, and 8 under "bathroom."
Open the dictionary and choose words that you would like to memorize. For example, you can start at the beginning of the dictionary, with the letter A. Put the words in the list of stations, one for each number. If you are going to use dictionary words that start with A, such as "acquiescent, quiet, aquijado, test", you can place them on lines 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the "bedroom" of the memory palace. Then you can place the next set of A words, "Achilles, aquilón, Aachen, aquistar", on lines 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the "bathroom" of the memory palace
Step 6. Associate pictures and actions with each word using the memory palace
Once you've placed the dictionary words at the stations in your memory palace, you can encode them so that you remember where they are located. Do so by creating bright, colorful and bizarre images that involve every word and associating them with a particular room in the memory palace.
- For example, you may want to try to remember the set of words "Achilles, North, Aachen, Aquistar." You can create a strange and striking image that combines these words, such as Achilles surveying the city of Aachen while a north wind blows it up. Then you can imagine the four words existing together in a room in your memory palace and you probably won't forget the image of them interacting with each other in such a particular way.
- You can then add these images to your room list to monitor the images associated with the words in a particular room. Try to reduce the pictures and actions to between one and two sentences so that they are easy to remember.
Step 7. Add more rooms to your memory palace as you memorize more words
As you progress through the dictionary, you can add more stations or rooms to your palace. Focus on creating action pictures for each set of words (3-4) so that you can remember a set of words by imagining the room in your memory palace. This will strengthen your long-term memory for each set of words and allow you to easily remember them.
Method 2 of 2: Use flashcards
Step 1. Create your own flashcards
Flashcards have been used for decades in education to help students remember vocabulary words and definitions. Because you are going to focus on memorizing the words from the dictionary, you can write each term on a flashcard and use the flashcards to practice remembering each term.
- You can use plain white cards or colored cards for terms that are harder to remember. You may also want to use colored cards to represent each letter of the alphabet. For example, blue cards for all words with A, yellow cards for all words with B, green cards for all words with C, etc.
- Write down one word per card. Follow the order in the dictionary and write the words in order on the cards. For example, "Achilles, North, Aachen, Aquistar" must be one after the other and there must be one word per card.
Step 2. Establish a practice schedule
Once you've made the flashcards, use them by setting aside one to two hours a day to study them. Do it in sections, focusing on 50 cards at a time. To strengthen your long-term memory, you should review the cards that you have already studied so that you can continue working slowly until you remember 50 cards, then 100, then 150, etc.
Another technique is to practice with the cards by placing them in areas that you use often around your room or home. Stick them to walls, mirrors or whatever surface you look at every day. This will force you to study them throughout the day and help you remember them
Step 3. Test your memory with a partner
Ask someone to help you review the cards by testing your memory of the words on the cards. Start with 20 cards at a time and ask the person to ask you to name each word on those cards. Say the words out loud to reinforce your memory of each word. Over time, you can ask the person to increase the speed at which they ask you to name the words in a way that improves your ability to memorize each word quickly and in succession.