Sunday, May 25, 2014

The meanings of "date"

As part of my series of posts about WMMs (words with multiple meanings), I am now adding to my sister blog, Picturing English. There, whenever possible, I will provide photos, drawings, or clipart to illustrate the multiple meanings of a word. This provides a language learner with another way to acquire vocabulary so that it sticks to her/his long-term memory.

In the classroom, I often act out words. Former students have told me that a word "stuck" because of my "act" or visual illustration of it. Ultimately, that's the goal of language teachers - getting the language to stick!

Most of the words or expressions that I remember from Spanish, French, Japanese, and Quechua classes taken decades ago are those that are associated in my mind with events or images of people or a context in which I used or understood the language. I have no memories of words that I wrote on a page or a flashcard - even though I did use those tools for studying and improving my foreign language skills. Maybe those methods work best for short-term memory building.

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