Looking for suggestions …

Has anyone out there found a way to memorize vocabulary that isn’t completely tedious?  I don’t suppose so, but if you have, please let me know.  I’ve found myself drowning in vocabulary lately, and between that and a new textbook that’s a bit beyond my own opinion of my level (They’ve taken away my pinyin! They’ve taken away my English!), my inspiration for blogging seems to have dropped considerably.  I have a bunch of half written posts sitting around, but they all sound like they’re written by someone who’s spent far too long staring at flashcards, and I so far I have retained enough benevolence to avoid the need to extend that feeling to anyone else’s life.

I suppose the upside of all this memorization is that I actually find myself starting to have a chance of saying what I want to say or understanding what people say to me.  I still can’t have a real conversation of any length, but people don’t automatically give up on me and walk away.  I even had a proud moment where I contributed appropriately to a Chinese conversation among 6 or 7 people.  Ok, so my contribution was one word, but still, it answered the question they were discussing.  You have to start somewhere, right?

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1 Response to “Looking for suggestions …”


  1. 1 Syz June 18, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Ah, don’t worry about sounding flashcardy: I once planned out and half wrote an entire blog series on using flashcards…

    One way I memorized some vocabulary without it seeming like memorization was to memorize “conversation starters” of sentence length and beyond. This solves two problems at once:
    1. remembering vocab
    2. getting people to talk to you so you can practice listening comprehension

    Since 2 might be construed as taking advantage of people in some situations, I prefer to use it in business relationships: shop owners, taxi drivers…

    Examples:
    – What’s the radio station you’re listening to?
    – What’s the most commonly ordered dish here (at your restaurant)?
    – I’ve heard there’s a crackdown on X going on, is that right? [X = black taxis, food vendors in a particular area, …]
    – How much is rent on this place?
    – How much does this shop bring in in a month? [returning the favor when you’ve been asked how much you make]


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