Word and Phrase
Word Substitute + Link + Outrageous
by Craig deMott
Using Word Substitution is part of remembering a foreign word, but it is not all of it. There is the 'Link', too.
Link the English word to the substitute word or phrase you create and picture an image in your mind. The link enables you to remember any foreign word more easily. When you think of the English word, the foreign word will come to mind. This also works in reverse -- without you having to practice it. Try it with Turkish words and phrases -- and you'll see.
The more outrageous you can make your 'mental picture' the more it will aid in your memorization. For example, the Turkish word for skirt is etek -- which, when pronounced, sounds something like the English word attack. If you picture a notorious skirt-chaser like Casanova attacking a woman in a skirt, that's a pretty memorable 'mental image' -- which links the Turkish and the English words. But it will make a stronger memory link in your mind if you picture the same Casanova attacking a warty-frog in a skirt.
Why is that?
Because memory works better if something is strange, unusual, funny, or outrageous. After all, you might be well acquainted with guys who 'chase/attack skirts' (or you may have done a little 'skirt chasing/attacking' yourself!), but has a guy ever attacked a warty-frog in a skirt? Not that we know of.
People might think this technique is too frivolous, but it works, and that's what counts!
Try it and you'll find out.
From the example above, you'll have gotten a pretty good idea of how to create substitute words yourself. So, take a new word and make a word link yourself.
When making links, use what comes to mind, whether it is a single word substitute or a phrase. It doesn't have to sound exactly like the new word, as your memory will tell you what the original word is. If you have difficulty, and want it to be exact, or at least more accurate, try this... For example, if there is a sound of 'A' between the substitute words that you create, you can picture in your mind's eye a giant-sized letter 'A'.
'I can't picture things in my mind!'
That's simply not true. Everyone can picture objects, scenes or action in their mind's eye. If you are talking to your friend, and take a look at his or her clothes, then close your eyes, you can picture the scene. You can even picture the color of his/her shirt and even its pattern if there was one.
It might take a little practice, but you can do it.
'What about words that can't be pictured easily?
For example, how am I going to picture an abstract word?'
With a little imagination, abstract words can be pictured using 'substitutes' too. For example, consider the abstract word where... If you picture the body of a short fat man with a large hairy W in place of his head -- the image you get is W + hair, to represent where. That image could then be linked to another 'attractive' image -- of an oversized magnet inscribed with the name Faraday (the English physicist and chemist who discovered electromagnetic induction). And, Faraday rhymes almost perfectly with nerede, which is the Turkish word for where.
So, we've mentally pictured the abstract English and Turkish words individually, then linked them together, and created an outrageous (and very memorable) linked mental image.
Many people say that this is complicated, and that it takes too long.
No, it takes less and less time the more you do it. After you do this with about 20 words or so, you'll find yourself becoming faster and faster at it.
Are you a two-finger typer? Those who were two finger typers before, but who decided to take typing lessons (or teach themselves), know well that when they first started the touch-type method, their typing became slower. Still, they knew that with practice they would pick up speed and be faster than with their old hunt-and-peck method. Well, the same thing can be said with this 'Word Substitute Method'.
Practiced user's of the 'Word Substitute Method' can out perform, learn more, and remember what they learned much faster and better than those who have an IQ higher than theirs.
Many young and bright people who say that they don't need this method, and can learn new words quickly are not speaking from experience. The problem is, who are they comparing themselves with? With slower students, perhaps -- but certainly not with those who apply this method. How many of these 'bright' students learn 50 or 100 new words a day? Probably none of them. A week, yes. And of those who say that they do learn 50 words a day, how long does it take them? And how long can they retain what they learned?
So, put your learning on the 'fast-track' and on an 'enjoyable-track' too, by applying the Word Substitute Method.
Edited with revisions by JM --