Derek Sivers

How to Learn and Memorize French Vocabulary - by Anthony Metivier

How to Learn and Memorize French Vocabulary - by Anthony Metivier

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Only interesting if you haven't read anything else about the “loci” / “memory palace” method of memorization. Had almost nothing to do with French. Obviously made from copy-n-paste with his other books about German, Spanish, Russian, etc. Just change a few words, and voila! New ebook.

my notes

I have lived in eight cities, twenty-five houses (or apartments) and sixteen neighborhoods within those cities.

Sub-divide locations into individual stations. When you consider each apartment, home or building a “location,” then each individual room will be a station within that location.

Exaggerate the size and colors because the larger and more colorful the image, the more memorable.

Every word that begins with “inter” can be automatically associated with, say, Anne Hathaway, who played an intern in The Devil Wears Prada.

The images themselves are the training wheels. They are not necessarily meant to stay after you’ve grown with the system.

When the mind is tense, busy or exhausted, it will resist attempts at memorization. Even a three-minute meditation before memorizing can work miracles.

Consider building the entire system first. Predetermine the locations and label the individual stations within them. for your free Magnetic Memory Worksheets.

The apartment was on Feurigstraße, I used that apartment and every station in that palace to remember words that begin with the letter ‘F.’ Because I don’t have to spend any time remembering that all ‘F’ words are connected with the Feurigstraße palace, I don’t have to make any odd leaps in my mind searching for words that start with “F.”

Every location is a Memory Palace and as much as possible, that location should start with the same letter of the words that you will store there.

a) Never cross your own path b) Never trap yourself

In creating these “journeys” through the stations of a Memory Palace, Select at least 10 different locations that you remember well. If you are feeling motivated, you can list all 26 giving you locations enough for the entire alphabet. These locations could be apartments or houses you’ve lived in, schools, libraries, workplaces.

Select and list at least 10 “stations” within each of the locations. Stations can be entire rooms, which I recommend when you are just getting started, or they can be more specific. You could use an armchair and then the lamp table beside it as two different stations, for instance.

Take a walk through each palace and the stations that you have identified. While wandering, make each and every station vivid in your mind.

Give yourself an exam. Write out everything fresh and then compare the list you wrote out from memory with the original.

Create multiple Excel files.

T = Trevor’s House
U = University Library
V = Valleyview Beer & Wine

Leave yourself with the ability to add another 10 stations in each location. For some letters, you may need up to 500 stations.

Create a special palace just for grammar rules.

For an excellent online French conjugation resource, visit:

I associate all masculine nouns with a boxer and all feminine nouns with a skirt. For example, to remember that “fruits” (fruit) is masculine and therefore “le fruits,” I see a pineapple wearing boxing gloves. To give you an example of a feminine noun, take “la lune” (the sun). It’s a simple matter to see the moon wearing a skirt.

Don’t do anything until you’ve fully and clearly understood how to use location, imagination and action in order to effectively memorize at least ten items.

It will take between 1-5 hours to come up with 26 locations and at least 10 stations within each.

Learn the genders of every word right away. Decide upon what will signify masculine and feminine and use them consistently.

Make adjectives a priority. Adjectives allow you to flavor your speaking and deepen your understanding of innuendo and metaphor. When you do work with verbs, pick strong verbs and learn more than one version of each (instead of just “run,” also learn “jog” and “sprint”). As for nouns, use a Visual Dictionary to find your words.

Sit with a dictionary as often as possible. You are literally going to siphon the dictionary into your mind. Find the words that interest you the most or that you think will be the most useful and focus on them.

Focus on steady progress rather than being a completionist.

Many words you will encounter can mean several things at once. Focus on just one meaning at a time.

Gather together “clusters” of related words. For example, you could focus on words related to health, education, a particular sport or any particular category.

Gather together words based on a theme that start with the same letter and then place them in palace accordingly.

Going back and compounding the images. In most cases, a second pass will do the trick.

I have used both the Toronto, New York and Berlin subway systems as Memory Palaces.

One of the best methods for reading a book quickly is to pretend that you will be interviewing the author on live television the next day.

All learning is memorization and all memorization is learning.

I have had people regularly tell me about learning 100 words in under an hour.

When I sit down to read a sophisticated novel, I need to put in some time extending my Memory Palaces and inserting new words. I do this before reading, during reading and after reading.

Avoid rote learning at all costs. Let your Memory Palace skills do the work. Compound your images when testing routines reveal weaknesses.

The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School and at Play is a wonderful resource. Get it here: Lorayne’s website is also well worth visiting.

You’ll also want to read Tony Buzan. I recommend Use Your Perfect Memory.

My favorite audio program is Dominic O’Brien’s Quantum Memory Power: Learn to Improve Your Memory. He reads the book himself, making it a wonderful experience. His passion for memorization techniques really shines through.

Mega Memory is one of the best memory products I’ve ever encountered:

If ever you are uncertain of how to pronounce French words, check out this amazing resource:

Saying the alphabet backwards is the equivalent of skipping rope with your brain. Create a 26-station Memory Palace. Place each object must start with a letter of the alphabet in reverse order, i.e. zebra, yolk, xylophone, weathervain, etc.

Each car has 13 locations: The front driver’s side headlight The front passenger’s side headlight The engine hood The windshield The steering wheel The driver seat The passenger seat, etc.

Each car having 13 locations is that I don’t feel like I have to memorize an entire deck. Instead, I only need to remember 13 cards per car.

I like my stations to be as close together as possible.