Spanish Vocabulary Memorization: My Flashcard Technique

It’s been a while since I used flashcards because at this point I truly see the same objects and actions in both English and Spanish. To me a table is a “mesa”, a street a “calle”, a cat a “gato”, to eat is “comer” and so on. They’re all the same and you will get there too. I’d bet you’ve already gotten there with some words. Here’s a technique you may like that I used to build Spanish vocabulary fast. I used picture flashcards as much as possible.  I mention in another one of my posts about building vocabulary fast through images instead of translating with the use of picture dictionaries and picture flashcards.  Here  I will show you how I did it.  I am not an artist, but I can draw a little. So I used to draw images of actions and objects on one side of an index card and the Spanish word on the other. Don’t worry if you cannot draw at all I will recommend some other ways to get around it. Try these exercises.

Create Your Own Flashcards with Drawings

I. Create the cards

1. Buy some cheap index cards.

2. Cut them in half to save on cards.

3. Choose a category like your bedroom.

4. Draw various objects on one side of each card until you have a pile of 10-15.

5. Look up the word in a Spanish-English dictionary, phone app or electronic translator.

6. Write the word on the opposite side of the drawing.

II. Memorization Technique

1. Look at all the cards one at a time. DO NOT try to memorize through the first run.

2. Next turn all the cards with the drawings facing up. And one-by-one attempt to say the word on the other side. DO NOT stop just look    at each card one time.

3. Create two piles. Put the cards you don’t know in one pile and the ones you do know in the other.

4. Repeat these steps until you get all the cards correct.

5. The next step is to complete one run without getting any incorrect.

6. The final step is to randomly pull cards out of order to see how well you know them. In your free time randomly repeat this exercise to     increase the likelihood you memorize your new words. Here’s my most important tip though. Upon learning any new word or phrase to       ensure you memorize it for the long term you must use them at least three times within two weeks of learning them.

Tips to Create Flashcards for People that Do Not Draw

1. Search Images on Bing, Yahoo or Google.  Do a search for the category of free printable Spanish flashcards, for example, zoo animals,         colors, vegetables, etc. Just know that it may take several minutes to find exactly what you want.

2. Clip Art and Tables in Microsoft Word.  If you are comfortable working with Word then create tables and fill them with text first then the    images.

Bonus Spanish Flashcard Exercise for the Home and Office

This is the easiest exercise and perhaps most effective. Use index cards to create flashcards with just the words (no English translation please) for the objects in your home and office. Then simply tape them to the objects. Keep them posted up for several weeks. Please take the extra step to actually look at them and say them aloud. You will automatically associate the words and objects together and you won’t have to drill yourself to learn them because you will just casually look at them as you go through your day. Years from now you that image of your microwave with the card “microondas” will be stuck in your head!

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Spanish Vocabulary: Days of the Week…and how to memorize them

Learning vocabulary is the foundation of learning any language. Accepting that you need to take it one step at a time and start from the beginning will be vital  to managing your emotions and expectations while you improve your knowledge and skills to speak and understand Spanish.  In the beginning I tried to learn as much vocabulary as possible. I focused on the sets of words and phrases that would come in handy most. Describing time is extremely important. Let’s take a peek at the days of the week first and how to remember them. Then do not forget your free downloadable flashcards.

The week in Spanish starts with Monday. Let’s start there. Days of the week in Spanish are NOT capitalized.

Days of the Week in Spanish

  • lunes /LOO-nace/                            Monday
  • martes /MAR-tace/                        Tuesday
  • miércoles  /MEER-ko-lace/          Wednesday
  • jueves   /HOOAY-vace/                 Thursday
  • viernes  /VEEAIR-nace/                 Friday
  • sábado /SA-ba-do/                         Saturday
  • domingo /do-MIN-go/                  Sunday

Let’s break the week into 3 parts.

The first half of the work week: lunes, martes, miercoles

The second half of the work week: jueves, viernes

And the weekend: sábado, domingo

Focus on each part by repeating the days of that part over and over until you memorize them.

Another way to memorize them is come up with clues to remembering them, sort of like memory joggers.  So let’s try it.

  • Lunes” starts the work week and when that happens you “lose” sleep. The “lu” part of lunes and “lose” have similar vowel sounds. Sounds stupid, but trust me this stuff works.
  • Marti gras”, the holiday, or big party in New Orleans, means Fat Tuesday.  Marti and martes are very similar since both of their roots come from Latin, and both have to do with Tuesday.
  • Once you get to the middle of the week the first half is in the rearview “mirror”. So miércoles is the rearview “mirror”. Miércoles, mirror. Again the first part of the word sounds similar.
  • “Who’s” going to the party tomorrow? Tomorrow is Friday night so you would like to know “who” is going to be there. Who, jueves.
  • Don’t “veer” off now, the weekend is here. “Viernes” is finally here.
  • Saturday and sábado start with the same two letters “sa”. It’s the only day of the week that starts the same both in Spanish and English.
  • Tomorrow you will start making “dough” again. Today is “domingo” but tomorrow begins the work week when you start earning money again.

All of these clues are just ideas on how to help you memorize them. Any vocabulary you learn will eventually become second nature and you will not have to use goofy clues to remember them.

Get your days of the week PDF. Use card stock in your printer to print off sturdy cards and your days of the week reminder exercise.