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  1. #1
    magdalena is offline Member
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    Unhappy new words - memory problem

    I wonder what technique you are using to memorise new words. I have no problem with reading- I recognise many formal, complicated words (having read several Henry James novels:) ) and when I come across new word I am usually able to work out its meaning from context- so, while reading I feel like I know the language pretty well (lets say on advanced level) but when it comes to speaking, all my confidence is gone and I wonder how to express the simpliest things. I seem to remember new word, I even can think up one or two sentences with it- but the chances that this word will come to my mind during actual conversation are almost none. Is any of you is experiencing similiar problem? When I read or test my vocabulary I seem to know a lot. When I imagine a real situation or have a real conversation my mind goes blank. The other day I had been wondering several hours how to say that I would like to have a new bank account, considering using word "establish, launch" before it occured to me that it is as simple as "open bank account". I do read and I do watch movies, at least two movies a week. I listen to the radio - what more can I do? Have any of you been there?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: new words - memory problem

    This is common- when we're talking we tend to use the vocab we feel safest with, so until a new item has become an 'old friend' we feel unsure about using it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: new words - memory problem

    Quote Originally Posted by magdalena
    I wonder what technique you are using to memorise new words. I have no problem with reading- I recognise many formal, complicated words (having read several Henry James novels:) ) and when I come across new word I am usually able to work out its meaning from context- so, while reading I feel like I know the language pretty well (lets say on advanced level) but when it comes to speaking, all my confidence is gone and I wonder how to express the simpliest things. I seem to remember new word, I even can think up one or two sentences with it- but the chances that this word will come to my mind during actual conversation are almost none. Is any of you is experiencing similiar problem? When I read or test my vocabulary I seem to know a lot. When I imagine a real situation or have a real conversation my mind goes blank. The other day I had been wondering several hours how to say that I would like to have a new bank account, considering using word "establish, launch" before it occured to me that it is as simple as "open bank account". I do read and I do watch movies, at least two movies a week. I listen to the radio - what more can I do? Have any of you been there?
    I don't think it's a matter of having a good memory. I think it's a matter of keeping our language spoken with others.

    The more you speak english and discuss topics with others, the more the so-called "new words" will come to your mind much easier than you think.

    I happen to experience this thing everytime I go abroad.

  4. #4
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    Arady is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: new words - memory problem

    you have to speak with friends in English as it would be less embarrassing to make mistakes in front of them than to make mistakes while talking to someone you don't know. However, you should put in mind that even if you talked with your friends, you could easily "forget words" if you were talking to a stranger. you know why ?

    I am not sure but I think that you first think which words you should use in your mother language then you try to translate it into English. Therefore, what you really must do is to try to speak in english, not to translate and I guarantee the improvement of your spoken langauge.

  5. #5
    marchwind is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: new words - memory problem

    I agree with the others- I don't think you have a problem memorising words, or you wouldn't have been able to debate whether to use "launch" or "establish" a bank account because you wouldn't have been able to remember them. You need more practice using the simple words and building up confidence with them- above all, never be ashamed about your mistakes, just keep trying and don't be shy about having people correct you. Nobody was born already knowing a language

  6. #6
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    Talking Re: new words - memory problem

    Wow. Several Henry James novels.... and you're doing ESL? You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

    Hemingway might help more for conversation. Most of his books are shorter than the typical Henry James sentence.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: new words - memory problem

    I have the same feeling as magdelena's. Should try to find chances to talk with the english speakers. thanks for everybody.

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