Grow a Foreign Language Garden with Memrise
Have you ever studied a foreign language, or aspired to learn one? I studied Spanish in college, but it’s pretty rusty these days. Then I found Memrise, and since then I’ve been having fun taking my old foreign language skills out for regular test drives.
Memrise is a foreign language learning community powered by science, imagination, and fun. With flashcards, mnemonics, audio, and learn-at-your-own-pace courses, this fun and engaging site is a low pressure way to grow your mind with foreign languages and SAT vocabulary.
Relaxing and Fun
Create a free account, browse available languages, and you can get started in a just a few minutes.
The goal is to move new words, or “seeds,” from the short term memory “greenhouse” and plant them in a long-term memory “garden”. You do this by answering short quizzes of multiple choice and fill-in-the blank questions.
The site is uncluttered and ad-free, and many words include an audio playback recorded by a native speaker – two features I really appreciate.
Memrise likens their program to a “guiltless video-game”. I find it quite relaxing and fun to cruise through a few short quizzes before turning away from the computer each night.
Backed by Science
London-based Memrise was founded by a Princeton PhD candidate studying the psychology of memory and forgetting (Greg Detre), and an acclaimed lecturer on memory techniques (Ed Cooke).
The pair have developed a software program that combines time-tested memory techniques like visuals, flashcards, repetition, and mnemonics with the latest cognitive and computer science.
The visuals are particularly helpful if you’re trying to learn a new alphabet or character based language, like Mandarin.
Learning As a Community
Any player can offer a mnemonic or “mem” to help remember a word, and other players can rate a mem’s helpfulness. Here is one member’s mem for the Spanish word “oscuro,” meaning “dark”.
Connect to others by asking them to be your “mempal”. You can even create your own language course! To date the user community has added one million words.
Give Memrise a try when you have a moment to relax and exercise your mind. For now, this charming video from the multi-cultural streets of London should bring out a few smiles.