The basic problem tht students experience with vocabulary is the rapid fading of new items from the short term memory before their transmission into long term memory. This is caused by insufficient consolidation and revision and can be overcome through mnemonics – shaping memory strategies which help to buid on new vocabulary on the basis of the already familiar entities. Some of those techniques are enumerated by Schmitt and McCarthy (1997:212) as follows:

  • pictures / imagery – new items of the nominal type can be acquired by means of relating linguistic expressions to the basic experiences and the students’ knowledge of the world
  • related words – this technique involves building webs of vocabulary with related meanings through for example synonymy (happy – cheerful), antonymy (dead – alive), coordination (apple – other kinds of fruit). In case of word families, hyponimic / hyperonimic relations or adjectives their relationships may be presented in the form of mental maps or scales, thus reinforcing their mastery
  • unrelated words – these can be memorized successfully through two methods. The pegword method uses “pegs” (images) and “hooks” strategy to remember lists of unrelated words by means of simple rhymes. The more frequent the repetition of such rhymes, the better the remembrance of the target items. The other technique is called the Loci method. This spatial mnemonic involves memorizing lists of words visually ‘put’ on the outline of a familiar place like a flat or room.
  • grouping – this method aids better storage of the new items and reflects the natural strategy to organize words into broader semantic groups. This involves spatial grouping on a page in some sort of pattern (e. g. geometrical figures) or in a narrative. This helps in building lexical chains as well as connecting new vocabulary to the already familiar.
  • word’s orthographical or phonological form – this techniquehelps to remember the oral or written form of a word by creating mental representations using rhymes or visualization.Keyword technique makes use of the combination of both images and meanings of the item in the two languages by creating a mental picture with them, which helps in retrieving the target meaning when conceptualized.
  • use of physical action – is more meaningful and involving (just like TPR) also seems helpful thus valid
  • semantic mapping- which makes use of lexical relations as well as addresses the brains capacities of structuring them in the form of webs around a key concept and branches building on its related meanings
  • semantic feature grids- especially useful for sets of similar words, help to show the differences between their meanings and collocations
  • studying words’ morphology- this technique helps students to make new words from the already mastered, compensating for the limits in their active lexicon. It is also useful for paraphrasing new items using those known
  • cognitive strategies- these are the strategies for recognition, collecting and memorization of vocabulary through visuals, word lists, note taking, repetition or actions
  • metacognitive strategies- this strategy requires autonomic decisions concerning the choice of input to be learned, techniques to be employed in the process, setting goals, self–evaluation, choice of the materials (e.g. authentic texts, whether readings or listenings).