Mnemonics as a Cognitive-Linguistic Network of Meaningful Relationships

Abstract

Mastering a foreign language is arguably one of the most challenging memory feats. It clearly involves effective learning strategies if long-term proficiency is the goal. Outside of complete immersion in the language of study, whereby linguistic understanding is reinforced by recurrent practice, second-language acquisition depends on teaching materials that are both meaningful and memory enhancing. While mnemonic techniques have been derided for their dubious cognitive value, they find much theoretical support from the core findings of memory research concerning the importance of elaboration, association, and imagery, particularly at the time of encoding. After reviewing both the strengths and shortcomings of mnemonic devices as regards to language learning, an eclectic method is introduced that draws upon cognitive advances in human memory and best practices in applied linguistics with an eye toward its potential application in the study of a second language.

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