Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Can you often recall where you learned a new word?


suMMit
 Share

Recommended Posts

Sometimes, maybe even often, I can remember the exact context I learned a new word. For example it was like 2 years ago I over heard two people walking past me on a street in Wuhan and one said to the other that 今天闷热 I immediately looked it up finding out it meant sultry, very humid. I have many examples like this. Even if it came from a textbook or teacher, I can frequently remember the text or situation I learned it in. Do other people find this as well?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Not often. Only when they're very special or when I put a lot of effort in learning them. For instance, I know I learned 彳亍 from 戴望舒《雨巷》; I know I know the Earth's surface area is 5.1亿km² (1.49 land + 3.61 ocean) thanks to my geography teacher's mnemonic 吾衣一撕就散了腰; I know I learned the word 'katydid' when I was transcribing a National Geographic program; and likewise I know I learned 'gendarme' from BBC News. I would posit that the chance of your remembering when and where you learned a word is inversely proportional to the size of your vocabulary. To illustrate my point: the 5 or 6 Russian words I know, I know exactly where they came from. 😂

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually talked about this with a Chinese tutor today. Sometimes I do too remember where I learned a word from, but I may not remember the time and place. I asked the tutor to read a passage from a book for me to shadow and now there are a couple of words I learned from that and I get reminded of her voice reading it when using the words. These also often come to me in stages. I liked the sound of 沉默 in a song some two years ago but I didn't look it up back then. Now when I came across same word in a book and looked it up, I was instantly reminded of the song and have really had no trouble with the word since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/22/2021 at 1:45 PM, imron said:

I find it happens often for words that I have come across in reading because I use the setting of the original story to help me remember the meaning of a word.

+1 for this.

 

I often create sentence cards in Anki using the original sentence that I learnt it in (either from a book, article, or a TV show with subs2srs), so I guess it makes the connection much stronger too. I would say there are probably a few hundred words that I have pretty clear idea of where I learnt them. 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/22/2021 at 2:35 PM, markhavemann said:

I often create sentence cards in Anki using the original sentence that I learnt it in (either from a book, article, or a TV show with subs2srs), so I guess it makes the connection much stronger too.

 

I try to do this too, but forget more often than not.  I still think it's a good idea though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Can you often recall where you learned a new word?"

 

Yes, it happens to me a lot for words that I've learned in daily life. I remember the context along with the word. Often the word was one I learned via a mistake. Used the wrong word and was not understood or had to be corrected. The experience sticks, the "packet" retained in my memory is made up of the people, the place, what we were doing and saying. In a way, I'm glad that it does work like that. Gives several memory "anchors" that help me in retaining vocabulary. I think (for me) that is much more effective than if I had just crammed a list of "sterile" words for a test. I also often remember more or less what the word looks like; it isn't just an auditory experience. 

 

Once went to lunch with a Chinese friend. Small back-street restaurant. Eggplant were in peak season and I had a hankering for some. I ordered a dish of 红烧茄子 (hongshao qiezi/red-cooked eggplant.) It was a staple and I was sure they could cook it well. In a few minutes, what came was a different eggplant dish entirely. I called the waitress back and asked her about it. Turned out she had brought us 火烧茄子 instead (huoshao qiezi, a type of grilled or roasted eggplant, usually torn into thin strips and served with a mostly-raw sauce.) 

 

My Chinese friend, who knew a lot about food (her father was a professional chef) explained that since it was early summer, 火烧茄子 was a much better choice, and the waitress apparently knew that. It took advantage of prime summer eggplants; it showed them to best advantage. The 红烧 approach was more often preferred during fall, when the eggplant were not as flavorful and tender. 

 

Here is 火烧茄子 -- https://haokan.baidu.com/v?pd=wisenatural&vid=6552541487793866629

Here is 红烧茄子 -- https://haokan.baidu.com/v?pd=wisenatural&vid=15780288325572887120 

 

And it didn't help that my tones were not strong. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely with a good number of words! That's what made learning language for me so fun at first. Each word, phrase, saying etc in a foreign language came along with the association from the given memory or experience where I had it imprinted. Sadly the memories are imprinted often as a result of being embarrassed by saying the wrong thing😅

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...