I have been using Memrise pretty much since I started studying Korean and while I don’t use it religiously, I still consider myself a somewhat regular user.
I know that Memrise is often connected with the idea of simply memorizing, which some are for, some are against, and others just don’t really care. I have already talked about my thoughts on memorizing here so I won’t be talking about any of the pros and cons today.
However, I do want to talk about how to actually get the most of using the Memrise App or Website.
I assume that you all know about Memrise but in case you don’t, it’s a basically a flashcard App/Website with both premade and user-made sets, that uses spaced repetition to get the best results out of the time you spend on it.
- Create your own sets.
Memrise comes with a ton of already made sets for different languages and topics, made by Memrise themselves, as well as access to all of the other users’ sets. Naturally, it is very tempting to simply pick a course or set and get started immediately.
However, by making your own set you, first of all, make sure that the words you enter, are words that you actually need learn right now. That’s why you’ve come across them in your studies in the first place, right?
Secondly, by sitting down and looking up each word on your own, and then writing them down along with their meaning, you will already get a pretty good foundation to continue building on. The words will attach to your brain in a completely different way than when you simply see a new word and its meaning.
- Use the Meme option to add a sample sentence.
Memrise has a Meme option for each added word. You can add a picture, an actual meme or my favorite, add a picture with a sample sentence on it. That way you will keep the context no matter if you are learning a new word, an expression or a new grammar point.
You can make your own sample sentence or if you want to make sure that there are no mistakes in it, then simply copy the sentence where your first came across that word or expression.
- Set goals for the streak.
Memrise has a streak system, and you can set goals for each set. That way to can create a goal of how much you wish to practice every day, no matter how much or how little time you have available each day.
The streak itself does nothing for your learning, however, it adds some accountability as well as a game-like aspect to studying. It gives you a visual overlook of your studies and I personally find that even though I don’t really think about it on a daily basis, I do find myself slightly upset by the thought of missing a day, when my streak is over 10 days.
- Don’t use your hints.
Depending on whether you have a standard or a pro membership, you might have ‘Hints’ available when you are practicing your sets, and my advice is to simply ignore them completely. The thing is, that if you use your hints to guess a word, it doesn’t get marked as a wrong answer even if you use hints to guess every single part of the words. And that means that the word will show up less and less during reviewing when you actually need it to appear more often instead since you obviously didn’t remember it on your own. Also, when the words get marked (mistakenly I might add) as correct, then the words won’t be added to ‘Difficult words’. I’ll talk more about that further down!
- Don’t spend too long on figuring out the answer.
Sometimes all you need is a little time to think, however, I recommend that you don’t spend too long figuring out the answer. I usually tell myself that if I was having a conversation right now and wanted to use that specific word, would I be thinking about it for this long, or would I have skipped it and reformed my sentence by now to keep the conversation going. If I would have skipped it in a conversation then it’s time to skip it during the review as well. This will automatically mark it as wrong and it’ll start appearing more often for practice so that you will be able to recall it faster in the future.
- Difficult words are your friend.
Memrise has a special set called ‘Difficult words’ under each created set. While it sometimes seems like a failure to have any words in that set, it truly is your best friend. Whenever you get a word wrong or skip it, they all end up in that set where you get the chance to practice those words a bit more than the other words. If your goal is to be able to actually use all of these words without hesitation, then don’t feel bad about your difficult set. Just give them the extra love that they need.
- Don’t study words without context.
Avoid studying words from a random list without any context. Many words have several meanings and it’s SO HARD to unlearn something again, no matter how wrong it might be. The context itself will also help you remember whatever you are learning.
Also, I don’t see any reason to learn from such a list. I mean, I already find tons of unknown words while reading and studying, so why not just work on those words, that you have actually met in a proper context?
- Avoid set where words are in alphabetical order.
If you do decide to practice sets that are premade or words that are based on a random list, at least avoid sets that are made in alphabetical order. Seriously. Just don’t. The words will be introduced in the order they have been added which means that you might get 10 words in a row that all starts with 인 and it. will. mess. with. your. brain.
Every single word will blend together and so will the meanings of each word. It is the absolute worst thing you can do.
I hope you guys find this helpful and feel free to add your own tips for Memrise in the comments. I think we all need the help we can get, haha!
2017 is almost over and as always I spend my last days of the year, creating goals for the new year.
I always have so many things that I wish to accomplish and as you already know, I’m kind of a goal freak. Coming up with a goal and creating a detailed plan on how to achieve that goal, is something that I do all the time. I also do it pretty well if I may say so myself!
I’ll only be sharing my language related goals today, because otherwise I’ll be here all day! Also, I always make sure that my goals are S.M.A.R.T
Do you guys know the S.M.A.R.T concept? We use it all the time at work, but it can be applied to any type of goal!
- Read more. I want to read more in Korean. I don’t have anything specific in mind when it comes to reading materials so everything counts. However to make it measurable I made myself a few ‘guidelines’.
– I want to read at least 12 books in Korean throughout the year. Long books, short books, poems, biographies, fiction, non-fiction – Everything counts!
– I also want to read 12 articles throughout the year. Again – Everything counts.
- Improve writing. With writing being my weakest part, I really want to work on that throughout the coming year.
– I want to write a daily diary in Korean. I might be posting some of it on lang-8 for corrections, but since it’ll be rather personal, it wont happen regularly.
– I want to finish 한국어 문장 쓰기의 모든 것 and 서강 쓰기 2. I’ll be working diligently with both of them in 2018!
– I want to write 12 essays throughout the year. Each essay will be a 700+ character essay. I want to make sure that I don’t just stick to my bad habit of writing as simple and short as possible. It’s fine for chatting and talking but it’ll get me nowhere when it comes to improving my writing skills. It’ll also make me a lot more comfortable with the writing part of TOPIK.
- TOPIK Level 4. This has been my goal for a while as most of you guys know, and I’m currently unsure of when to take it. My plan was to take it in April like I did last year, but the timing is very bad. My internship will be over by then and I have no idea whether I’ll be working a new job or not. Since I have to travel to another country in order to take the exam I’ll need some days off, which I can’t really ask for if I just started working there. And with the sign-up starting soon, I don’t have a lot of time to think about it.
I might take it in November instead, however I might feel less motivated to work for it, if the deadline is too far away.
Hmm. I’m still working on the Timely part of this goal, however I will for sure give it a try during 2018!
- Speaking. Speaking isn’t a weak point like my writing, however I do seem to loose my confidence quite often, especially when talking to new people. I want to work on becoming more comfortable with random chitchatting!
– I want to complete another Italki Language Challenge. I’m not sure if I’ll join the first challenge of the year, like I did the last few times, but I’ll join one during the year for sure! The only way to improve one’s speaking confidence is by speaking even more!
– Talk to at least 5 new people throughout the year. Skyping via italki, calling a new friend through HelloTalk or meeting someone face-to-face. It all counts! Since I’m always worried about talking to new people, I’ll have to do it more often!
There you have it! My 4 main language goals for the coming year!
I have a tradition of buying myself a few gifts when I receive my last paycheck of the year. The idea is that I buy myself a few treats that are related to my goals for the new year, so that I begin the new year feeling happy, motivated and set up for success. This year I bought myself 5 things and 3 of those are language related.
Present Nr. 1: TalkToMeInKorean Real-life Korean Conversations – Intermediate.
I figured this book might have a few gems for my speaking and writing goals. And if not, I’m always happy to support TTMIK. They give out so many great resources for free.
Present Nr. 2: 토닥토닥 하루하루 일기장! I went on Gmarket and found a cute little diary, for me to write in. I prefer the old school handwritten diaries and let’s be honest here – Korea makes amazing stationary! *Dreaming myself back to ArtBox*
Present Nr. 3: 곰돌이푸! Or rather a book with some of his adventures! I saw this book when I was in Korea and decided to buy it after I had found the other things my sister and I where looking for, BUT THEN I FORGOT ABOUT IT! I was so sad since it was our last day in Korea. It’s from the same collection as my Peter Rabbit book, and it’s just so pretty! A great opportunity for me to cross off one the 12 books from my goal list!
I sincerely hope that you all have a good and safe new year.
Thanks for following along on my adventures in 2017! xx
A while a ago I downloaded a game on my phone called Homescapes. I was just thinking that it would be a great way to relax for a few minutes during my somewhat busy schedule, but much to my surprise the title changed to 꿈의 집 as soon as it was installed on my phone. It surprised me because my phone settings aren’t set to Korean and I hadn’t even opened the app yet. Somehow it just decided that I should play the game with Korean as the default language ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The game itself is super simple and you have probably played tons of games like this one, but there’s also a story to follow in the game, which suddenly made everything a lot more interesting for me. It was fun and interesting to follow the game guides as well as the story line, now that it was suddenly all in Korean. Especially since some of the pop-up messages are only showed for a few seconds so you have to keep up and pay attention if you want to follow the story (which isn’t necessary to play the game, so don’t stress if you’re struggling with it).
I actually have played a game in Korean before, without really putting much thought into it, but playing this game suddenly made me realize just how big of a language learning resource games can be. I mean just think about it for a moment, there is games out there for everyone. There’s games about everything, games that are time consuming, games that are not, games with stories and games that you can play while letting your brain go to auto pilot. What a great way to learn new words!
Granted, certain words might not be that relevant, depending on the type of game you play, but it’s still a great way to get exposure to the language without looking through books, taking notes and so on.
Here’s a few screenshots if you are curious about Homescapes.
Obviously this realization made me want to play other games as well. I didn’t really know which games to play though, so I simply Naver searched 추전게임 and looked around. I ended up with a game called 마녀의 샘. This game is a lot more story based and therefore demands more from me as well as my Korean skills. I also decided to just figure everything out on my own instead of looking up the words I don’t know, so I have had a fun challenge figuring it out for the past week or so.
Here’s a few random screenshots from 마녀의 샘.
(NOTE: this game isn’t free like Homescapes)
This morning I had another realization that made me really really excited. You see, recently my laptop died on me and I had to get it fixed. This morning I was looking through my backup files to see what I wanted to transfer back to my laptop and my eyes came across a game title. A game that most of you have played at some time. A game that practically sums up my entire childhood.
I’m obviously talking about THE SIMS!
The sims is an amazing and fun resource and it adds a great visual aspect as well. I immediately looked into it and started downloading the game as soon as I was able to confirm that I could actually play it in Korean.
It’s still in the process of installing (16% so far! This might take some time lol) so I don’t have my own screenshots from the actual game yet, but if you are curious then just do an image search on 더 심즈.
Also, if your phone settings are in Korean, then all of your games will most likely be set to Korean as the default language, unless the game doesn’t support the language. Maybe you can give that a try if you already have a game that you like. 🙂
I hope you guys found this interesting and that you can find a great game to play 🙂