Weird memory thing

Sometimes when I’m going through the lessons, there will be one particular word that I can’t get right. Sometimes I can’t remember it at all and sometimes I can remember one or more of the sounds in the word but not how they go together. Sometimes I fail at it for so long that I start to think, “well I’m sure I can live without that one word…”
And then out of nowhere, it will come into my mind when I’m at work or driving or something like that, and then it will be in my mind all day, much like when a song gets stuck in your head, just repeating it over and over. It’s like all the times I couldn’t think of the word have been blocked up and then the dam broke open and they all came out, so I have to keep saying it. Sometimes this happens when I hear the word I’ve been struggling with in a context other than a lesson (which I supposed is part of the importance of listening practice), but sometimes it’s completely unprompted.

This is just an odd thing that happens to me sometimes and I felt like sharing. Maybe everyone gets it though, I have no idea haha


It happens, it happens …

Do you remember the word then or you tend to forget it again? It happens to me many times like in your case but then all of a sudden that poor word or even a whole structure is lost again … It shouts for help from somewhere but I can’t find it anymore until the process repeats itself again.

Well, it’s not always like this but many times yes …


Yup, this is a common and recognisable pattern for learning by spaced repetition - we acquire chunks of meaning pretty much a phoneme at a time, and built it up into something we recognise as a word - when this happens over a period of time (instead of in the first session of heavily over-cooked repetition, as at school) it can often trigger this kind of entertaining experience… :sunny:


Yep, me too

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Another entertainingly irritating thing is when one word interferes with another and temporarily obliterates it while they’re settling down. This happens to me quite often…

For example, I came across the rather nice word ‘smonach’ (making a mess of something) a few weeks ago and it seemed to settle itself into my active vocabulary without any fuss at all - until I noticed Aran saying the word ‘sothach’ (junk) in the Growth Club recording last week, after which I couldn’t remember either of them any more! (I think I’ve nailed that pair now!)


totally relate to that one - also for me words that start with the same sort of root or have the same sort of bounce or number of syllables tend to jumble up and obliterate each other for me, so I often forget ones that might have been very well embedded in the past - sometimes now, words that I might have known since being a kid can even get bombed - nothing is safe. When I hear a word I should know on the radio, but can’t place it, they seem to come back to me after a long pause, maybe minutes, while the speaker has moved on to something else. I imagine my brain has somehow stayed locked on, whirring away in the background trying to find the right one to go with the context and the more words I acquire the more “noise” I am sticking in there as well.


As one gets older and more demented, words tend to flit away! I don’t mean words one has just learned, I mean things like the names of Nixon’s Watergate conspiracy gang which I’ll not list but can usually recall, save for the Attorney General! I mean ordinary words like scallop which I get convinced starts with ‘c’!! I would hazard a guess that all this is evidence of jumbled nerve connections or new pathways interfering with old! Once I recall whatever it is, it is very close to the surface for a while before sinking again into the mire!

I totally relate to that too. The brain truly is astonishingly amazing and it’s a wonderful thing when it’s working well.
I have a ‘hippoptomus’ theory too, about remembering words. Children learning to read can recognise and read ‘hippoptomus’ because it looks so different from the more common short words like ‘and’ and ‘the’, which they see far more frequently.
I remembered ‘a few friends’ and ‘they look like a real handful’ for example (sorry, but for the life of me I can’t spell that phrase in Cymraeg) because they sounded so odd and fun to get my tongue round, far easier than remembering some of the simpler phrases.

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If I had a pound for every time I say ‘There’s a word for that…’ Part of my job is being able to think of just the right word for the occasion, so I have a pretty large English vocabulary … except sometimes one of the words will just hide from me. I know it’s there, I just can’t … quite … grab it. So annoying. (And I’m not even 50 yet - goodness knows what I’ll be like in 25 years’ time!)


I had this situation in my German evening class last night. The Tutorin was talking about the thing that a GP will give you when you need to see a specialist/consultant at a hospital. I’m not 100% sure of the German word she used, but it ended -weisung. I could not think of the English word the whole evening, and this morning, my wife suggested “referral”. I was still not sure that was the right word.

I just looked up the German word I thought it might be - I was wrong, but then looked up “referral”, and gives at least 3 words ending -weisung that it might be: Überweisung; Einweisung; Zuweisung, and at a pinch it could also be Verweisung (though that may be non-medical).
(I had thought it was “Ausweisung”, but apparently that is something totally different).
Translation - and memory - can be a tricky business.

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I’m only 29 and I mix up words all the time! I recently couldn’t think of the word “arrow” (as in the arrow that gets shot from a bow) and i called it a “star”. Brains are fascinating, and occasionally unreliable lol.

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I am seriously thinking of going back to Lessons as I am having real trouble remembering anything in Challenge 1.17 except allan, nos wener etc. which I already knew, and I’m not even supposed to say ‘allan’ yn y de!! I have a notion things might stick better in the more formal Lesson setting?? @aran???

would be the one, I think! (And no, you don’t want Ausweisung!) :wink:

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Nope, absolutely not. What does happen is that you get more clues what’s coming next from the more predictable structure, which can easily make you feel that you’re remembering more, when actually you’re just getting more obvious prompts.

By Challenge 1.17, do you mean Level 1 Challenge 17? If so, I suggest you push through to the end of level 1 just doing each session once - and then come back and see how 17 feels for you…

Seen, read, and will obey!! I will not winge again until I have done as ordered!!
p.s. Yes Challenge Level1 17!!!
p.s. to @aran Mae’r ddraig 'ma yn ddrwg iawn! I was a coward and, in school, would have had a ruler slap, because I went back to Challenge 15 instead. I’m creeping up on 17!! Honest I am, Sir!! :anguished:

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