The Importance of Mnemonics in Learning Portuguese

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Mnemonics is important in learning not just Portuguese, but ANY new language. “Mnemonics” refer to any device or technique that aids information retention or helps to improve memory.

People have devised many and varied mnemonic techniques since the beginning of civilization. I once read a book that teaches the reader how to use bizarre images to remember long lists of grocery items. I’ve used mnemonics to remember phone numbers for prolonged periods of time after just hearing it one time, and I met a guy who admitted he can’t read well but he instinctively devised mnemomic techniques to learn Portuguese. Amazing!

For example, he told me that in order to remember the Portuguese expression “boa tarde” (good afternoon), he thinks of himself putting on his bow tie late in the afternoon.

Is it possible to learn Portuguese WITHOUT menomics?

Absolutely! But of course, you won’t be as heavily equipped as someone who does use it, and you probably won’t learn as fast.

While I was in living in Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso, Brazil, I needed to buy some scotch tape to fix something in my room. I asked my friend George Ribeiro what was the Portuguese word for scotch tape, and he said “fita adhesiva”.  I said “thank you” and walked out of the yard, heading towards the nearby grocery store. About fifteen seconds later, I walked back in, “George, what’s that word again”? “Fita adhesiva”. This was repeated about three times until I decided that I needed to employ a mnemonic technique to remember this word. The next time I was lost for the Portuguese translation of “scotch tape”, I looked down at my feet. It worked every time!

I’ll be giving you some real life examples of mnemonic techniques I’ve used to retain a number of Portuguese words later on. Keep reading!

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