My little black book

Beware all you words and phrases that try to trip me up! You cannot evade capture in my long-term memory because ‘I’ve got a little list’ and you are on it!

Actually, I have three little books, as you can see from the photo: the fancy one where I kept all my notes from the Old Courses, the pretty one with purple lavender for the New Levels as they began to emerge, and my black book which is a synthesis of everything organized in my own way and with extra vocabulary that fits my interests and daily life–including words that only the cat-next-door hears me use.

There is nothing novel about this, in fact I have another SSiWer in N. Wales to thank for showing me hers a few years ago when we spoke on Skype–long before Slack was available. We have always been encouraged to make up sentences between lessons and I only wish I’d kept all those scrawled on scrap-paper until I learned the benefit of keeping a little black book.

Fear not my friends, the only name in it is my own, plus my email address and phone number just in case I ever lose it. I did drop it once on a crowded bus at ‘home time’ for the schools. One of the kids picked it up and handing it back open, just as it had landed, stared in disbelief and muttered something about it being in code. I must admit there are days when I wonder about it myself, but that’s why I keep my little black book–in case I forget.

Does anyone else here write things down as an aid to memory, or as a way to figure out a new sentence?

Mari (the code-breaker)


One of the things I love about Welsh is the way it looks written down :heart:

I kept a daily journal in Welsh for over a year, to practice making up sentences and learn vocabulary about everyday life. I got busy and stopped doing it, but I’d really like to get back to it.

Your books are beautiful, and you’ll enjoy looking at them in the future!


You can have three? We only have two each (if you don’t count my old Now You’re Talking pad)

I don’t write those down…



My little black now gas two companions - one for grammar rules in code form! The vicab one contains wirds from books i read and wirds need to remember. The last one is summary if nites from class. If course i still treat Tony Ellis’s big red book as reference. Glad you doing well !
Your north wales pal!!!


Any chance of a Skype on Thursday—any time after 9:00 am my end? We have a lot of catching up to do but I hope you and Sonni are going strong.

You are definitely not alone, Mari. I couldn’t function in Welsh or English (or any other language) without my little “memory aids”. And like you, they are all different colours and patterns.


Good for you Andrea!

Maybe we are, or I am at least, what some call ‘visual learners’, though I must say the SSiW approach definitely works and is the best way by far I have experienced in trying to learn a language. Brilliant!

However, being deaf, I find it helps to read the lesson vocabulary over so I know what sounds to anticipate—these are the visual clues for what I may strain to pick up. Next, I write them down on the RHS of my little book, close it, do the lesson, and afterwards write out sentences or longer expressions on the LHS.

My own way of organizing it, now I have a system, is to write on the RHS all the verb constructions (with their pronouns) first, next the verbs/verb-nouns on their own, then I list the nouns, after that the adjectives/adverbs and lastly any other words—conjunctions etc. On the facing pages parallel with my RHS entries are sentences using them.

This way, I can swiftly turn to a lesson, which I number, and see at a glance what I want because the layout is always the same. I take these little books on buses or anywhere I may have to wait so I can practice.

Starting at the back of the book I note extra vocabulary or ‘problem words’.

Whatever works eh!

I remember doing a public speaking course and they insisted we not use notes, but make notes beforehand to organize our thoughts, then draw a little symbol eg a leaf and write 5 key words that captured each of 5 main points, stare at it, then stand up and speak. As a short-term memory aid it certainly helped, I am not sure about long-term.

Mari :herb: