“I use this method myself all the time and it always works. Sometimes it seems magical: you can learn any expression so that it stays in your memory forever in just 90 seconds,” says linguist and teacher Anton Brejestovski describing his approach. Using it, he has already learned more than 10 languages.
We at 5 Fun Facts decided to listen to the author of “the 90 second method.” We want to find out what his strategy is and if the process of learning a new language can be as easy and interesting as he describes.
Our most common mistakes when learning a new language
In school, we are taught to write down new words in our vocabulary book. We do this and… we never open the book again. As a result, words and phrases stay on paper and not in our heads.
Do you think that if you repeat a new phrase 20-50 times you will memorize it forever? No, you won’t. After several repetitions, the brain stops memorizing. A good analogy is, if you pour a glass of water in a flower pot, the plant will consume it in a useful way, but if you pour a bucket of water, the extra water will just pour out. The plant won’t be able to absorb it all because it’s too much all at once.
The simple and effective strategy of “the 90 second method”
1. When you see a new word, you should write it down in your notes. But not just the word by itself. Give it some context. For example, don’t just write the translation of depend. It’s better to write down the phrase you saw or heard the word in. For example, it entirely depends on you. This way, you will get a ton of useful details (prepositions, articles, word order, and so on), and most importantly, you will be able to say the phrase when you need it. The word itself should be highlighted or underlined.
2. For 7 days, you should read this expression out loud 1-2 times. Don’t make yourself necessarily memorize it, just concentrate on it and try to understand what you are really saying. It takes 10 seconds to read a phrase twice.
3. After 7 days of everyday repetition, you should take a one-week break. After the break, read the phrase 3 times in 10 seconds. You should do it out loud, emotionally and clearly, with full concentration.
4. 2 weeks later, read it out loud again (3 times in 10 seconds).
70 + 10 + 10 = 90 seconds.
This strategy allows you to cement the expression in your memory. All of this has been checked by the author of this method.
In order to avoid getting tired of all of these new and unknown phrases, you should enlarge your vocabulary gradually: not every day, but approximately 3 times a week.
Of course, there will always be difficult words and phrases. If you don’t have enough time for them, you will have to work harder. This will require focused, clear, and emotional repetition of every phrase 10-15 times for 2-3 days.
Why it really works
Our memory has a very interesting feature. We memorize information better if we see or hear it in 7-9 different situations.
This is the number of times the neurons of the brain need to build strong connections with each other. If there are fewer repetitions, the neuron connections are not strong enough and we forget the information.
Important! Keep track of your repetitions.
Make a special chart to keep track of exactly how many repetitions of a certain phrase you have already done.
It may look like this: after you’ve said a phrase, you put a check mark. After 7 days, highlight the line with pink. After 2 weeks, highlight the line with yellow.
Become Buddha at Queen Elizabeth’s reception.
While repeating the words, you only need 2 things:
1. Full concentration
During the 10 seconds of repetition you should be fully concentrating on the new expression. You should know exactly what it means.
If you realize that you are repeating a phrase mechanically, it’s okay. Just stop and return to the part of the phrase where you lost your concentration.
2. Being emotional and involved
When you are repeating new phrases imagine that you are talking to Queen Elizabeth, flirting with George Clooney, or arguing with Harry Potter. It’s important that you are emotional. Emotions are a powerful accelerant of memorization.
“The 90 second method” works incredibly well. But the words will only really sink in if you start using them in your vocabulary consciously. This is one of the main secrets.
“If you don’t use it, you lose it. Next time you speak English, use the new vocabulary instead of words you have known for a long time. Otherwise, you will have a huge vocabulary of words that you never use. And they will be sad that they are useless and they will decay….”
So, are you ready to try this method? Or do you have your own way of learning a foreign language? Tell us in the comment section below!