An Application of the Mnemonic Keyword Method to the Acquisition of a Russian Vocabulary
Technical rept. 1 Aug 1972-31 Jul 1974
STANFORD UNIV CA INST FOR MATHEMATICAL STUDIES IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
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An experiment is reported evaluating the effectiveness of a mnemonic procedure, called the keyword method, for learning a foreign language vocabulary. The method divides the study of a vocabulary item into two stages. The first stage requires S to associate the spoken foreign word to an English word the keyword that sounds like some part of the foreign word the second stage requires S to form a mental image or picture of the keyword interacting with the English translation. Thus, the keyword method can be described as a chain of two links connecting a foreign word to its English translation through the mediation of a keyword the foreign word is linked to a keyword by a similarity in sound acoustic link, and the keyword is linked to the English translation by a mental image imagery link. The experiment reported compared the keyword method with an unconstrained control procedure using Russian vocabulary. On all measures the keyword method proved to be highly effective, yielding for the most critical test a score of 72 correct for the keyword group compared to 46 for the control group.