A Study of Memory Strategies for English Vocabulary

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Vocabulary is the basic element of a language. As “a good command of vocabulary is indispensible in every stage of English language” (Li, 2005:168), memorizing vocabulary is very important for English learning. Especially in China nowadays, a study of memory strategies for English vocabulary is very necessary to improve college students’ English learning. Reasons are as follows. Firstly, as to the requirement from college, college students are required to master a large size of vocabulary. According to the policy formulated by the ministry of education in China, to non-English major students, the outline of CET-4 and CET-6 requires them to master 4,500 to 5,500 words; while to English major students, the outline of TEM-4 and TEM-8 requires them to master 5,500 to 12,000 words. They are facing such a great task so they are the objective to study in this paper. Secondly, as to the students themselves, the memorizing ways of Chinese college students need to be improved. In my survey on the Internet, 100 college students from different grades and majors had finished my questionnaire. First, vocabulary size is really a big problem for them. 94% of them deeply agree that vocabulary size affects English study, and 75% of them admit that they are facing difficulties in English mostly because of vocabulary. They need to use strategies to solve this problem. Second, their ways to memorize words are not effective enough. When memorizing words, 65% of them feel boring. Moreover, more than half of them still memorize words by rote. Although they believe that using proper ways is needed, only 29% of them do so and only 17% of them feel effective. They need to learn more useful memory skills. Third, they are hoping to learn better methods to make great progress. 85% of the students are willing to learn new memory technique meanwhile 69% of them agree that our brain potential is infinite. Thirdly, as to the former studies of other scholars, on one hand, most of them focus on studying the strategies from special but not general aspects; on the other hand, there are numerous ways for memorizing English vocabulary nowadays, most of them are actually based on the same basic theories, and some of them are not reliable enough for the lack of theoretical support and effectiveness. In order to make a more scientific and convenient reference for Chinese college students, this paper would be more comprehensive by concluding six basic principles for memorizing English vocabulary first, then use these principles to make four integrated and overall strategies for college students. From this way, students could have a better reference of strategies to strengthen their ability on memorizing English words and improve their English. 2 Basic principles for memorizing English vocabulary

Concluding basic principles is the necessary step before making strategies, for thousands of methods are based on basic principles. Memorizing English vocabulary refers to two areas’ studies. One is memory, the other is English vocabulary. On one hand, psychology and physiology are two hottest areas to study memory nowadays; they both have reliable and rich study fruits for reference. In psychology, Hermann Ebbinghaus is the famous German psychologist. After his experiment report was published in 1885, memory became one of the areas that studied by experiment in psychology(Yang,1999:1). Most former studies of memory are based on theories in psychology. And in physiology, Prof.R.W.Sperry, 1981 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology-medicine, put forward the labour division theory of the left and right brains though the study on schizocephalia. Sperry’s theory has been used greatly in right brain memory studies in the latest 30 years, and right brain also becomes the new area for exploiting human’s infinite memory potential nowadays. On the other hand, as English vocabulary belongs to English lexicology, it’s necessary to analyze related knowledge of...
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