Language log 2 – The Gold List method of learning vocabulary

This log is part of my effort to keep a record of my language learning.

I’ve recently started keeping gold lists, as designed and promoted by the polyglot and Internet user David James. (He goes by different names, and even fakes a Russian accent in some of his videos, but he appears to be British.)
The basic method appears to be keeping a gigantic list in a huge notebook. The notebook has to be a specific size in order to work optimally.
You spend 20 minutes per session writing down 25 words with their translations beside them. You must write longhand, not on a computer, as this better engages your muscles, aiding memory.
Then, you read the words out loud. Engaging your vocal muscles further aids memory.
Then, you set the words aside for between two weeks to two months. In the meantime, you can keep on adding words, always in 20-minute sessions, with at least one 10-minute break in-between.
You can do several sessions per day, or none at all.
When you return to the words in, say, a fortnight, you “distill” them.
To elaborate: James is using research that shows that about 30 percent of new words are stored in long-term memory.
Transferring that research into his method, he asks users to drop the eight least hard-to-remember words from the original list of 25.
The dropped words are (theoretically) stored in your long-term memory. The rest will become a second list of 17 words. You write them out — again using your writing muscles and vocal muscles — and then leave them for at least a fortnight.
When you come back to them, you drop the most-easily remembered 30 percent (or about five words).
You keep on going until the page is filled out. Any words left (there’ll be five or six) from the original 25 will go into a completely new book.
I’ve been using the method for less than a week, but I like it.
More on than tomorrow.


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