Superlearning for languages and definitions: etymology method

Very often I ask students to understand the meaning of what they are trying to learn and use very accurate markers.  I want to demonstrate it on etymology.

Take for example this real conversation:

I can create images to the words in the dictionary (some easier than others), but my main problem is that I can’t link the word to the visual marker that I created. For example taking the word you explained 3 months ago: Aberrant. ‘Aberrant is not normal, like something very big or something very small, the image is of a giant marrying a dwarf or someone taking a “road less traveled by” ‘

Now I have the image in my mind vividly, but how do I link it to the word it self “Aberrant”?

Lev Goldentouch

1. search google “aberrant etymology”

2. ab=away, errare=stray

3. ab sounds like “Abe”, errare sounds like “error”.,

4. “Honest Abe was so tall he made errors large and small” :)


So, just to be clear I have to connect the image (i.e., visual marker) to the word by some kind of a phrase that contains the word itself – so that when I read the word I remember the phrase with the marker. BTW, I tried the “etymology technique” (yeah, that’s what I’ll call it :P), and it is really easier to create visual markers now. 

The basic idea I used was very simple: rather that trying to create visual markers from scratch, use the actual factual details of the subjects you are learning to create a stronger marker. Not only such a marker will be more accurate and memorable, but you will also learn a thing or two. The question of new definitions comes up very often.


Is there an easy to way to memorize Definitions?

This is a problem I stumbled upon, I’m just starting section three in this course. And the way you guys propose to memorize is to make a story or an image and link it, and I tried it, it helped me in something. But how does this work for scientific definitions, especially  word by word.

For example if we take the word: hypothesis, is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon.How may I take that and turn it into an image or a story?

Lev Goldentouch

Step 1: go to etymology. from Greek hupothesis ‘foundation,’ from hupo‘under’ +thesis ‘placing.’

Step 2: learn each part. Hippo loves water and is always under it. Thesis is your place in science.

Step 3: rationalize. Hypothesis is the foundation under your scientific theory.

Step 4: reread accurate definition to see what you missed. Hypothesis is a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation

Step 5: synthesize your own understanding. Hypothesis is a foundation placed under a scientific theory that is a starting point of theory construction. This foundation is based on limited evidence.

Please notice that after learning the true details of the concept, I can still encode this details as fun and creative imagery, I just make this imagery extra-accurate. This accuracy make come with some absurd ideas, as long as they lead back to the accurate meaning. For example:


I am a little confused on connecting my markers to the words. For example the word argument. I came up with an image of two people yelling at each other. However, when I am going from the image back to words i mix it up with words like disagreement? I had similar trouble with words like photography and photograph. Should I be coming up with separate markers for every word or do some words have the same marker?

Lev Goldentouch

You cannot distinguish between things that you visualize in the same way. You need more accurate markers. See etymology: argument from Latin argumentum “evidence, ground, support, proof; a logical argument,” – means than in argument one person tries to prove something to another. disagreement from noun of action agreer “to please” – feeling unpleasant with what is happening around. Now you can use some disambiguation typecasting like men argue and women disagree, or whatever makes sense in your mind.

The most powerful methods are also the simplest to use. With etymology method you can create markers to some very complex concepts, and then each time you meet these concepts you will already have readily available markers. Please do use these very strong markers carefully, with detailed links and context: if you ignore context too many times you will start to confuse and will need a new set of markers.

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