Newsletter Sept. 6, 2011

Where in the world did I leave my keys?? I can’t find my glasses anywhere   … Do you remember the title of that movie with Fred Astaire … you know the one with the buried pot of gold?

There are so many things to remember!  How do you say “Je me souviens” in English? Oh, right, I remember!  And what’s the word for ‘gloves’ in French?

In fact, if you really want to get good in a foreign language,  one of the things you need …. is a memory. Fortunately, most of us are born with one that’s pretty incredible.  Having a brain is a starting point.  Using some of it for storage – quite like the HD of a computer or even the vaporous cloud, is the second step. A little focus, devote some energy to concentration … and then … the key is:

repeat.

Once, twice, three times … 4 … 5 … 6 …. 7. That’s the magic number. Repeat something a few times, up to 7 even and you’ll likely remember it.

Of course it does take a little effort. But then, what doesn’t? You get what you pay for!  That’s the price of the investment!

The curious thing about repeating is that we won’t necessarily learn anything if we just repeat things in the same way. Only smart parrots do that. We need to link them to something. They need to stick. Like glue. Try learning a word, a line like an actor or actress memorizing a text…in a context, with feeling, with emotion.  Say it out loud, say it soft, whisper it, shout it!  Say it with anger. Make it sincere … or make it sarcastic. Make it ironic …. make it happy.  Say it with love. Mobilize your …. emotional memory.  You’ll remember better. And longer.

You can learn – that’s to say – acquire, and that’s to say, remember just about anything you want for the price of … taking the time to … think it, feel it and repeat it. Do it over and over again. In time. Once or twice today, once or twice tomorrow, once or twice in a few days … and the miracle is … that later on, in a week or two or in a month, a year from you’ll recall it… and quickly.

True for words, true for images if you look;  true for sounds if you listen;  True for facts … and true for fiction. Propaganda works that way.

Repetition. A two-edged sword. Because our memories are not only voluntary: learning as we want through repetition. We have extraordinary capacities and … we can unconsiously and involuntarily remember even what we don’t intend to …

Just for fun … let your memory work for you today!

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