Mnemonics as an effective method of memorizing English words

UDC 378.147
Publication date: 19.10.2023
International Journal of Professional Science №10(1)-2023

Mnemonics as an effective method of memorizing English words

Lashina Ekaterina N.
Senior Lecturer of the Department of Foreign Languages,
St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technology and Design.
Higher School of Technology and Energy
Abstract: To successfully speak the English language, you need to know and master the vocabulary of the language. The article discusses mnemonics as one of the most effective methods of memorizing English words. Techniques and methods for learning new material are described, taking into account the types of information perception of students.
Keywords: mnemonics, memorization methods, information perception, word, vocabulary, English, foreign language.

Knowledge of a foreign language has become an integral part of modern life. In order to successfully master a foreign language, it is necessary to know both the grammatical aspect of the language being studied and the lexical aspect. For many students, the main difficulty in learning English is expanding their English vocabulary. There are many different methods for memorizing foreign words.

Each student finds his own way of memorizing new words in English. This is due to the peculiarity of memory functioning in a particular person.

Memory is a property of the brain, which is based on processes that ensure memorization, preservation and forgetting of information. Thanks to memory, human consciousness is not limited to the present, but includes past experience and knowledge. Thanks to memorization, a person enters into the storage of his memory new information that he received through the senses or as a result of other cognitive processes: perception, imagination, thinking, speech [1].

Memorization. It is the main process associated with memory. The process of memorization begins already at the stage of sensory memory. Next, the information enters short-term memory, where the different elements of what is memorized are regrouped. The main encoding process occurs at the stage of long-term memory: this is where the analysis and identification of various characteristics of information are carried out.

If the information that we need to remember is repeated many times, then it is remembered for a longer period. An example would be the road we walk every day or the multiplication table.

The context in which the information necessary for memorization was received is also important for memorization. It is not for nothing that one teacher remembers a subject better than another; it is not for nothing that there is a “sign” to return to the place where a person remembered something important (in fact, to return to that very context).

We always remember better what arouses interest and touches us than what is completely uninteresting to us. That is why, in the heat of an argument, we remember arguments that support our position much more easily than arguments that go against it.

And finally, for memorization it is important that the information is as closely related to some other facts as possible and presented in other contexts [2].

Preservation. It is also called archiving. Short-term memory stores information about various events in our lives. In fact, short-term memory is entirely autobiographical. Long-term memory is a kind of framework for short-term memory. It stores not only individual memories, but rules and norms.

Forgetting. It manifests itself in different ways: from individual errors in recall and recognition to the inability not only to remember, but also to recognize what was previously perceived. Forgetting can be temporary, long-term or persistent. The reasons for forgetting may be: non-use of information for a long time, age or the action of a suppression mechanism [3].

One of the modern methods of memorizing English words is mnemonics.

Mnemonics is a set of techniques that increase memory capacity and facilitate the memorization of information [4].

Mnemonic memorization is based on figurative note-taking, during which abstract concepts receive visual, auditory or kinesthetic embodiments in memory.

It is believed that this method of memorizing words in English is suitable for any type of information perception. Visual learners draw a picture or a table before their eyes, auditory learners remember by sound associations (look – лук), and kinesthetic learners will be able to feel words, emotionally passing through one or another meaning.

Depending on the type of information perception by students, there are several ways to memorize words.

  1. Method of direct associations. In this technique, mnemonics suggests finding words in your native language that sound similar to English. For example, the English word “book” sounds the same as the Russian word “бук”.
  2. English-Russian rhymes. There are a large number of rhymes that are aimed at effortlessly learning basic grammatical concepts in poetic form. This method is especially effective for children of primary and preschool age.
  3. Translation of words into images. This technique can work associatively depending on the student’s imagination. As an example, you can use your own knowledge in the field of literature, music, and personal experience. For example, the word “Wind” (ветер) is associated with the novel “Gone with the Wind” by the American writer Margaret Mitchell.
  4. Learning new words through groups of phrases. The article “Using mnemonics to memorize English words” provides an interesting example using the word “coffee.” The student can remember not only “coffee” as a noun, but also “pour coffee”, “brew coffee”, “coffee with milk”, “coffee with sugar”, “coffee beans”, “ground coffee”, “instant coffee” etc.
  5. Analytical technique. An example of this method is the analysis of English and Russian words. For example, the Russian word “девайс” came from the English word “device” – “устройство”, which has already firmly entered the Russian language.
  6. Deriving construction schemes. This technique works well with memorizing grammatical rules (drawing diagrams, tables).
  7. Logical patterns. An example is composing a story based on new words.
  8. Coding through well-known information. Use of English words from advertising (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Starbucks advertising [5]


  1. Composing poetry.
  2. Rhythmic method. In this technique, the main goal is not to remember the word, but to repeat it in a certain rhythm to the melody.
  3. Fragmentation: “Butterfly is a flying butter, carpet is the favorite of the machine” [6].

Other ways to memorize words such as using acronyms and acrostics should also be highlighted. As an example, consider the way to remember the colors of the rainbow in English: “ROY G. BIV: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.” An acrostic is a phrase or sentence where the first letter of each word is the beginning of the words to be remembered. For example, there is an acrostic for remembering the planets of the solar system, their number, and in what order they are located: “My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Names: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune” [7].

Mnemonics techniques can be very effective for those students who have difficulty remembering foreign words or other important educational content information. They improve memory and speed up the learning process. The use of mnemonics is essential for teaching and learning.

It is necessary to use, if possible, all methods of perceiving information, combine them, and after a while the memory will become more reliable and better. When memorizing new information, it is very important not to send it to distant “memory storehouses”, but to try to compare it with what was received earlier, thereby developing associative memory.

Students who master mnemonics are able to remember information more effectively and for a longer period of time. At the same time, they actively participate in the educational process itself. Mnemonics also motivate students to be more creative and use their knowledge more productively.


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2. Durand, F., Isaac, C., Januel, D. (2019) Emotional Memory in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic PRISMA Review of Controlled. Studies Front Psychol. 10 NNULL, 303. PMID:30890976
3. Kattner, F., Ellermeier, W. (2018) Emotional prosody of task-irrelevant speech interferes with the retention of serial order. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 44 N8, 1303-1312. PMID:29629780
4. What is mnemonics [Electronic resource]. – Access mode:
5. Starbucks Secret Menu 2023 [Electronic resource]. – Access mode:
6. Puscashu, O. F. Using mnemonic techniques to memorize English words / O. F. Puscashu // Problems of pedagogy. – 2016. – No. 4 (15). – P. 18-21.
7. Permyakova, S. P. Mnemonics as a technique for memorizing English words / S. P. Permyakova // Innovative technologies in modern education (Korolev, December 18, 2015). – M.: Scientific Consultant LLC, 2016. P. 545-549.