Tag Archives: mindmap

Conseils pour commencer l’anglais professionnel

Trois étapes à suivre pour démarrer votre apprentissage de l’anglais professionnel:

1. Collectionner des mots necessaires pour votre travail, puis chercher des traductions en anglais. (Essayez www.wordreference.com)

2. Afin de les retenir, faites un mind-map.

3. Commencer à apprendre par coeur des phrases usuelles.

Comment faire des mind-maps

In the video, I am making a mind map around the theme of “I am”.

Here are some of the vocabulary items that you could include in your “I am” mind map:

  • name : Hello, I’m Jacques
  • nationality: I’m Moroccan
  • age: I’m 50 years old
  • status: I’m married/single/divorced
  • profession: I’m a bank manager
  • Interests: I’m interested in opera, photography
  • Physical description: I’m tall with green eyes
  • Feelings: I’m happy/sad, hungry/thirsty hot/cold
  • Present activity: I’m reading a book. I’m working on an important project.

Use a blank sheet of paper and some coloured pencils to make your own “I am” mind map.

Lisez davantage sur le mindmapping sur mon site en anglais, jonathansenglish.com

Here is my “I am” mind map:

And another I made on the subject of wine (a French favourite!)

This is a summary of my book on learning French:

Using Mind Maps in Language Learning

Mind-maps are the creation of Tony Buzan, the memory expert. The basic principle is that the mind dislikes traditional, linear note taking and thus anything we write should start in the centre of the page with related ideas branching out in all directions. This tool has been successfully used by managers to organise, brainstorm, and even to prepare notes for speeches. Do a search for mind-maps on the Internet and you will find plenty of good examples. I think that mind-maps can be an important and effective asset to anyone who wants to learn a language.

Why traditional note taking is ineffective
I observe my students in class writing down the new vocabulary that comes up in class. More often than not, a student will write down the new word with the translation in his own language next to it. Of course, writing things down is necessary if you want to review later. But at the end of one lesson, the student has a couple of pages of new words that are completely at random – apple, happy, gun, gloat, keyboard, violet, etc.

Impossible to retain a list of words like this. Even if you tried to memorise them, the fact that they are irrelevant to each other makes it difficult to remember them.

Mind-maps – a better way
Use mind maps to make “vocabulary networks”. This involves writing a single word, your theme, in the centre of the page and linking words that go with it. Let’s take “theft” as an example. Draw a line from the word “theft” to a new bubble with a description in it – “Theft from a bank” –then write the word “robbery” next to it. Then the word for the person, “robber”, the verb, “to rob”. You can continue to fill the page with “shoplifting”, “mugging”, “pick pocketing”, burglary”, etc, noting all the related words you can think of. Use a dictionary to find the words in the language you are studying. Now you have a page of words that are relevant to each other, thus making them easier to recall when you are talking in your new language. Mind-maps are even more effective if you add little drawings and lots of colour – your brain likes to be entertained! By the way, this exercise is great in your own language to improve your vocabulary. Use a good dictionary of synonyms (like Roget’s Thesaurus) to get a richer vocabulary.

The Linkword method

The linkword system is language learning technique that uses association to link words in your native language to help you remember words in the language you are learning. I discovered this technique when I realised the French for ‘I’m fed up’ sounds very similar to ‘Johnny Marr’ – the name of a well-known guitarist in Britain. A French learner of English might say, “oui, Arlette” to help him remember ‘we are late’. The key is to associate the native language word with the meaning of the word in the target language – oui Arlette on its own is not enough, one would need to conjure up an image of Arlette frantically looking at her watch as she realises just how late she is.

The more vivid or even ridiculous the association is, the more likely it will be to remember the word.Can you really learn a language with the linkword system?

No, for there’s a lot more to learning a language than having a big vocabulary. That said, it’s a great way to kick-start your language learning, especially if you need to learn quickly. In the early stages, you need words more than you need correct sentence structure, and this is where traditional language learning methods have failed. If you want to borrow someone’s pen, it’s better to know the word for ‘pen’ in your target language than trying find a polite way of asking the question.

Drawbacks of the linkword sysem.

While the linkword language learning system can help you to acquire a large vocabulary in a very short time, the disadvantages are numerous:

Pronunication. If a Frenchman said to you ‘oui Arlette’ making no effort to change his usual French accent, you probably wouldn’t be able to know that he was trying to say ‘we are late’ in English. Learners must learn to seperate their mnemonic association – the linkword – from the way it really sounds in the target language.

Range. One method I’ve seen that uses the linkword method to teach basic vocabulary omits several very common words that even low-level beginners should know. Why is this? Probably because the course writer wasn’t able to come up with a credible association for those words. And I’m talking about French here, not a language with few similarities to English, like Chinese or Malaysian.

Relevance. One website gives an example of the linkword technique for the verb ‘to tease’. If I were a business traveller needing to get by in Chinese, then ‘to tease’ would not be at the top of my list of must-know vocabulary.