I am having a hard time with German vocabulary. I am looking for methods to memorize better. It took me about 1 hour to memorize 10 words.

  • Possible duplicate of What is a good way to start learning German? May 1, 2017 at 13:16
  • @DisplayName This questions here is specific for memorization aids, where the other is about learning German in general.
    – Matthias
    May 1, 2017 at 13:51
  • 1
    I don't know whether it would be a good question there, it might fit languagelearning.stackexchange.com.
    – Carsten S
    May 1, 2017 at 14:19
  • 3
    Since you're asking for methods how to memorize better, how are you memorizing them in the first place?
    – user18544
    May 1, 2017 at 15:10

5 Answers 5


It helps to put a vocabulary item into your short term memory multiple times. It's okay if the initial storage and retrieval is done with the use of a memory trick (or mnemonic). After some practice, you'll be able to retrieve the word without having to use the trick.

I'll give you an example I remember from back when I was first learning Spanish as a young adult. I was having trouble memorizing the word for smile (noun), "sonrisa." The memory trick I came up with for this word was sunrise. The connection was the idea that a beautiful sunrise would make me smile.

You can make up your own little tricks of this kind for any word you are having trouble memorizing.

If you like, you can edit your question to share a couple of examples of words you are currently having trouble memorizing, and I can suggest some memory tricks to help you get the idea how to make them.

Side note: often, people use index cards for practicing vocabulary, but I found it more efficient to write the English version in one column on the page, and the target language version in another column on the page. Then I would use the index card to cover up the second column and gradually move the index card down as I progressed through my list.

Additional tip: it can help to do something active. For me, it was enough to write the target word each time I practiced it (whether I had successfully retrieved it or not). However, some people benefit from drawing simple little pictures. Some people do their best memorizing while, for example, jumping on a trampoline while someone quizzes them.

Also (maybe you already know this), it's a good idea to practice going both directions. In other words, sometimes you should cover up the German version, but sometimes you should cover up the English version.


You could try learning entire sentences instead of memorizing words in isolation. Sentences are generally easier to remember than single words. You could do this either by reading example sentences from textbooks or by reading articles or short stories.


The absolute quickest and easiest way to memorizing vocabulary in any language is word relation. Every polyglot that I know uses this technique because it's so effective! Relate words that are in your target language with words that you already know in your native language - this may take a lot of imagination!

Example: (Spanish) 'Aqui' - Here 'a key' - "Man, I can't find the key to open this door! Oh! Here's a key." Using the target word, the definition, and something that sounds similar.

Example: (Russian) 'птица' (Pih-tee-tsah) - Bird "While I was in New York last summer, a bird swooped down and took my pizza right out of my right hand, while drinking tea in the other!" Pizza - Tea = Pi-TEA-zza

These are just some of my examples. Different words, pictures and stories are going to be unique in helping you! I've learned over 200 vocabulary words in one day simply by using this technique and haven't forgot any of them.


I've been reading the German press since 2014. I'm writing out all unfamiliar words into a word list that currently has almost 26000 German words and, possibly, 40000+ English translations.

From my experience, I can tell you that the more times you repeat a German word, the better are the chances you'll remember it. You'll remember some words after repeating them 3-5 times. But with others you'll have a hard time remembering them even after repeating them 20 or more times.

I think there's no trick to memorizing words. You just need to repeat them many many times. Some will stick in your memory.


The most effective method is still learning by doing. Which would mean move to Germany and learn cold turkey.

The second best one is to pretend to have actual conversations with people.

The below companies have created tools that allow you to practice by talking to yourself or a computer to utilize your vocabulary in context.

  1. http://www.rosettastone.ie

  2. https://www.duolingo.com

  3. http://www.pimsleur.com/learn-german

Also see the results of the following search: https://german.stackexchange.com/search?q=german+learning+resources

  • My experience has been that I still needed to do some careful study to supplement or anchor the immersion. May 2, 2017 at 5:16

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