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Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:28 pm
by tommus
Recent research at the University of Waterloo shows "The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory". The research involved drawing words (nouns) rather than looking at photos of nouns or just thinking about images of nouns. The results showed about double the retention rate.

The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory

However, I wonder if the technique "translates" to second language learning. After all, an image is not specific to any particular language. Presumably you would have to embellish the drawing with the writing of the word in the target language and probably adding a drawing of a mnemonic of the target word. I don't think the technique would be limited to nouns. Certainly action verbs could be easily drawn, as well as adjectives, etc.

I think this is worth a try. I am going to start with a number of L2 words that I find difficult to remember even though they are common and I see them a lot. Now maybe I can visualise a drawing of those challenging words that I drew myself.

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:30 pm
by Kraut
Have you seen "Dreaming Spanish" videos? He makes use of drawings and gestures,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EeTaxe ... tgOb4Vpdoy

crosstalk
https://dreaminglanguages.wordpress.com ... crosstalk/

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:00 pm
by Elsa Maria
I found this course when I was searching for Sketchnotes + Foreign Languages.
Learn a New Lanugage with Sketchnotes.

I bought the course while it was still under development, so my price was a lot less than the current price. I haven't tried it out yet, but it is on my list of things to try in 2019.

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:19 pm
by Iversen
Right now I'm thinking about how you draw "surprisingly" or "powerful influence". But even thinking about this will probably serve to make me remember those items. The downside is the time you spend on making the drawings and the mountains of paper you need to practice this method.

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:30 pm
by Elsa Maria
Perhaps this method best serves those of us who were going to be drawing or doodling something anyway. That way it isn’t really extra time incurred.

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:02 pm
by Cavesa
In general, drawing is known to have benefits for memorising stuff. However, I would say the benefit varies a lot between individuals, based on my experience (=drawing being recommended as a part of learning in several subjects on medecine, which is kind of a trial by fire). People, who are good at drawing benefit much more from this, don't waste much time, can also recognize their pictures (really, I draw worse than most eight year olds, imagine me studying with such a skill), enjoy learning more as they connect it to something they love.

People with these qualities are likely to profit from incorporating drawing to any kind of studying they do. But when it comes to the rest of us, I don't think it is the best use of time.

It is however a good thing to consider while putting together one's personal toolbox.

Elsa Maria wrote:Perhaps this method best serves those of us who were going to be drawing or doodling something anyway. That way it isn’t really extra time incurred.


It think this is an important part here.

Iversen wrote:Right now I'm thinking about how you draw "surprisingly" or "powerful influence". But even thinking about this will probably serve to make me remember those items. The downside is the time you spend on making the drawings and the mountains of paper you need to practice this method.


And this is a major catch. I personally think this kind of advice belongs to the box with ideas like "put sticky notes on everything" or "turn your phone to the language". Sure, these things could definitely help with a specific set of vocabulary, specificaly beginner vocabulary for objects around you, or a small set of phone using vocab in the second example. But once you get past that, I can't see how to use them.

But perhaps Iversen is right, and it is about trying to figure out how to draw complicated or abstract things, like in the Activity board game. :-D

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:04 pm
by CompImp
I don't see how this would ever work for me, due to the fact that any car i try to draw looks like a submarine, and any dog i try to draw looks like a camel.

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:18 pm
by Iversen
As long as you can remember that any submarine-like object might be a car and that camels most likely are dogs then it doesn't matter. The important thing is that you will be thinking about the combo consisting of word + notion + image while you work. You might even remember the words better if you had to fight to make those drawings. The irony is that the drawings are not important in themselves - only the process of making them and their use as memory hooks.

But it still takes a lot of time, and maybe verbal mnemonics might work better for you.

PS: I don't use the drawing method myself since I have my wordlists which function admirably for me. But one of the tricks I do use when I memorize words is to remember what the word looks like in my own handwriting. It is simple: just look away for a moment and see the image of the scribbled word in your mind. Any kind of mnemonic that functions is legal when it comes to memorizing things.

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:56 am
by zjones
I use drawing to help me retain words, notably (and almost exclusively) for Greek which I have more difficulty with. And yes, I'd say it's a very efficient way to learn vocabulary. Personally, I only use this method for troublesome phrases or words, because it can be time-consuming.

I can draw a pretty good pencil portrait if you give me a reference photo and a couple hours, but the drawings I make for vocabulary retention are stick figures and sometimes very poorly drawn symbols. You can see an example here, (sorry for the low-quality photo as I didn't have much light):

Image

Both of these sentences from Assimil were troublesome for me when I was listening to the audio. Certain vocabulary just wasn't sticking, and all the words about the black sea and the white caps of waves were running together. So in this case I utilized my "sentence drawing" as a reference when I listened to the audio from Assimil, because it helped me separate and internalize all these words.

I also sometimes draw scenes and write sentences and words on them, which I find to be less effective than the method above but still more effective than not drawing at all. This photo was from my log a little while ago.

Image

Re: Vocabulary learning by drawing words

Posted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:13 am
by SGP
Generally speaking, something similar to zjones's approach could lead to something more legible than another one. Now what would that "other approach" be? Something that has been worked on because of a (implicit) inquiry related to Yet Another Thread (not linking to that one, because I wouldn't want to cause anyone going back and forth too often :)).

That other method of visually representing words may not be suitable for everyone. But I'd also like to mention that it can be adapted to one's own needs, changed, or remixed. Also, for someone like, e.g., myself, it still would be very legible, too.

Some Ways of Connecting Drawing to Immersion-Based Word Exploration #ArtInformationOverload