Introduction to Memrise

Why memrise? Memorization is anathema to the thinking method, so I feel almost guilty pairing Memrise with Language Transfer in this course. I'm going to do it anyway, for a couple of reasons.

First, I want to build my vocabulary quickly, particularly in specialized areas. As a lawyer committed to social justice, I'm especially interested in immigration law, criminal law, and poverty law vocabulary. Memorization drills can help me learn more words, especially since at this point I don't have regular exposure to Spanish in my life.

Second, I like It is gamified enough to keep me motivated, and it prompts me to review words at a pace that works well for me most of the time. It also goes beyond drills to allow learners to customize their experience in a few ways, and encourages learners to make text and image "mems" to help remember words. Of course, it is also free and online (if you pay for premium you get access to a few more bells and whistles, but you really don't need them to get the main value of the program).

How to start out with memrise To get started with memrise, just go to the website and create a free account (if you feel comfortable, you can just sign in with facebook or google). Then, add the following three courses: Country Mapping, Introductory Spanish 1, and Spanish legal and criminal justice vocabulary. Country mapping will teach you where all of the countries in the world are located. You can jump straight to the Americas if you like, or you can just start at the beginning and work your way through. Introductory Spanish 1 is designed to help you learn common Spanish vocabulary words. Spanish legal and criminal justice vocabulary offers common words used in criminal and juvenile court cases in NYC.

Do three learning (or "planting") sessions for each of the three courses to get started.

How to get the most out of memrise After these introductions, for each of the 30 content sections on this course, I will invite you to review all of the words on memrise, and then do two new learning sessions for each of your three courses. As you work through memrise over time, I recommend the following. First, I recommend trying to use the thinking method as much as possible. Rather than starting from scratch with each word, see if you can figure out what the word would be based on one of the rules from Language transfer, or some cognate. When you make mems, try to make some that rely not just on wordplay or funny images, but more on the reasoning process you could use to get to the word. Second, do use and create mems. They can really help, and when you make new ones you can help other learners as well. Third, play with the settings. If you feel ambitious, move from standard to advanced, which will allow you to do more with each learning and reviewing sessions. Fourth, when the program prompts you to review, review. Take care of all of your review before learning new words.

But I finished one of those three courses--what do I do now? Pin a new course to replace it. If you finished the country map one, I recommend going to capitals next, and then flags (either the whole world, or just Spanish-speaking areas). If you finished the Introductory Spanish 1 one, I recommend moving on to Introductory Spanish 2, then Intermediate 1, then Intermediate 2, then Intermediate 3, then Advanced 1 and finally Advanced 2. If you finished the criminal law vocab one, I recommend moving on to immigration law, then medical Spanish, then housing law, then government benefits. Once you finish with all of those (which will be well after this course, I expect!), if you still want to do more, I say just browse and pick whatever looks interesting!

As always, this is just my own plan for language learning, which I hope others will also appreciate. If you find that something different than what I'm suggesting works better for you, by all means--do that instead! I am not the expert here, just another learner.


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