Thursday, November 02, 2006

Implicit Review

I'm still emphasizing news broadcasts. I've listened to a total of about 60 hours of news.

Last summer, I stopped reviewing vocabulary with flash cards, because I became convinced that it's better to emphasize "input" over memorization. But I accomplish a lot of implicit review just by listening to the daily news.

For example, not long ago I acquired the word for "senator" by listening repeatedly to the news about U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman's defeat in a primary election. Since then, the word for "senator" has occurred quite often due to upcoming elections in the U.S. Every time the word occurs, I hear it in a meaningful context with native pronunciation. It's a very pleasant and, I think, productive way to review vocabulary. I now feel like the word for "senator" is completely built-in to my brain.

One consideration about building vocabulary in this way is that it takes a lot of time. Back when I was using flash cards, it seemed like I was learning a lot of words very quickly. But many of those words were forgotten after I had memorized them. Words that I acquire naturally are much more permanent.


Steve Kaufmann said...


I find your blog very interesting. I think that repetitive listening is very valuable. However, I find that flash cards or some kind of deliberate study of vocabulary is necessary for me. The important thing is to create linkages. Any word on a list or in Flash Cards has to come from your reading and listening, it should be linked to phrases and sentences where you have seen it, and even to the episodes where you have seen or heard it in action. It should also be linked to the sound of the word in use from familiar content. you should be able to Tag a word and relate it to whatever helps you to remember it. That is the kind of flash card system we are building into the next Linguist system.

Scott Imig said...

Hi, Steve,

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your interesting comment. I also enjoy following your blog, and I get a lot of benefit from your posts.

The system you have at the linguist sounds very efficient. It lets you review vocabulary in context, which is great.

Now that VOA is posting transcripts, I'm actually experimenting with changing my strategy yet again. At some point soon, I want to post about what I'm trying, and ask for feedback and suggestions.

Scott Imig said...

PS. One of the links above may be broken. Check out Steve's very helpful and interesting blog at