How to memorize what you learn in French?

I will share with you below 4 ways to help you memorize what you learn in French


〰️ Is there a grammatical element that you never manage to memorize? 

〰️Is there a word combination, an ending, or an irregular verb that often prevents you from expressing what you want? 

〰️Do you have trouble remembering certain words in French? 


First I will tell you very shortly about the brain and how you learn new information, and then I will share 4 ways to apply this when learning French.


🧠Everything that is stored in our brain is organized in networks

💡 To integrate a new element into your storage, you have to link it to elements already stored. 


 Linking new knowledge to existing knowledge is called: association. 

 Generally, the association is done almost automatically, without you realizing it, but it happens that some words, some structures, are more complex for you to link.

 In this case, 🤝 your job is to consciously generate an association. 


The idea is to make an effort to observe what you want to learn and then 🧐 look for a pattern, a logic, a similar form in the information you already know. 


 Let’s discover 4 ways to generate associations and thus help you memorize what you learn in French.




Examples : 

– To make it easier to remember the conjugation of “faire in present tense “je fais, tu fais, on fait” you will look for a verb that has a similar pattern: for example “savoir : je sais, tu sais, on sait”

– To memorize more easily the construction of the “conditionnel présent” you will notice that the base of the conditional is the same as the future. 




You can also make an association with your mother tongue or with another language you have learned

Personally, I make a lot of connections between French and Italian or Italian and Spanish.

It helps me to understand complex structures🔑. 


For example  with the Italian pronoun “ne” in “me ne vado”, I associated the Italian “ne” with the French pronoun “en” as in the sentence: “je m’en vais”. 

This word “ne” which seemed to be new and weird is now associated with a concept that I know and master in my mother tongue. 

It gives me the chance to reuse and memorize this word more easily. 


3- link the new information with a memory or a personal situation ⚡


Another way to create an association is to link it to a memory, to a personal context

When learning a new word, I suggest you put it in a familiar, real and personal context.  


Example: You want to remember “se reposer”.

Imagine 3 different sentences you could say with the verbe “se reposer”. 

“Ce week-end je me suis reposée.”

“Ce soir je vais me reposer.”

“J’ai du mal à me reposer le vendredi soir”.


These sentences are authentic, they refer to my personal reality and it multiplies the chances of recording this verb.  

You can also link the word or phrase to a song 🎵 in which you’ve heard the word you try to remember. 

That’s how I remembered the meaning of the word “anzi” in Italian. It appears in the chorus of a song that I like and when I have a question about the meaning, 🎵 I remember the sentence of the song and I find the meaning directly. 




In a learning situation, when faced with a strange word, which does not resemble your language or another language you speak, you can use mnemonic tricks. 


Personal example: 

My Spanish teacher always repeated a sentence to us to help us remember the subjunctive form of the verb to know in Spanish (= sepa) he would say “on ne sait pas qu’on le sait“. “sait pas” is pronounced like “sepa“. And it was an excellent mnemonic trick to remember this irregular verb. 



Three key points to remember: 

💡  1-Take control of the memorization process by adopting an “active” posture 

💡  2- To facilitate the integration of new knowledge, you must make links with the knowledge already stored in your memory. 

💡  3-The most effective associations will be those that you find by yourself.



You want to know more about the 🧠 & learning French? Have a look at this article.

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Who am I ?

I am Ines Lluch Del Campo a certified French Neurolanguage coach® (and qualified teacher).
I help ambitious expat women build a peaceful relationship with French and achieve their French language goals through effective and highly personalized learning strategies.

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