Dr Gruneberg's Linkword Language Learning System

The Linkword Language System of language learning allows a language learner to quickly pick up foreign words and basic concepts and in its day was a revolutionary step ahead in language learning.

The 200 Words a Day! System takes the system even further ahead, improving on a number of its basic weaknesses, making it the most effective foreign language vocabulary learning system available.

The Linkword Language System of foreign language learning simply takes a foreign word and gets the learner to remember it by visualizing a crazy picture, a goofy scene, a mad mental movie in one’s mind.

It is very effective, and leaps ahead of traditional vocabulary teaching methods.

So to remember the Spanish word for cat, which is GATO, we imagine a cat eating a chocolate GATEAU cake.

The more crazy the visualization of the cat, the better the memorization of the word GATO for cat.

The difficulty is that every word needs a bit of time spent visualizing it, and this does take some time.

The Linkword Language System is a system developed by Dr Michael Gruneberg who first published in 1987. In the forward to his books,

  • French by Association (Linkword French)
  • Spanish by Association (Linkword Spanish)
  • German by Association (Linkword German)
  • Italian by Association (Linkword Italian)

Dr Gruneberg calls his books ‘By Association’ because the technique involves remembering something ‘by association’ with something else that one already knows.

One associates a known object and thing with the unknown. One takes the known object and embellishes it as much as possible to get it firmly entrenched in the subconscious, and making it retrievable when you need it.

Dr Gruneberg explains that “…..over 50 studies published in scientific journals have found that the technique materially increases the level of foreign vocabulary learning…..” when compared to traditional vocabulary learning methods.

He quotes one study of Spanish where learning increased to 88% using the picture association technique of Linkword Language Learning System. The rote learning method rate was 28%.

I came across Dr Gruneberg’s Linkword Language Learning System through a course made by Paul Daniels who called it the Magic Language Memory Method and was marketed as a series of audiotapes.

It was much later that I came aware of Dr Gruneberg's good work in establishing the Linkword method for foreign language learning.

I understand that Dr Gruneberg markets his own system, and there are others on the market which are pretty much direct copies of his Linkword system.

While a good system, there are now better....

Let me explain.

The 200 Words a Day System improves on the Linkword Language Learning system and takes it further.

One drawback of the Linkword Language Learning System visualization technique is that it does take time. To do it properly that is.

Less time than if you drone through the dreary boredom of rote learning, and much more effective, but much more time than it needs to, if it is done properly.

Visualizing, done properly needs you to get into a relaxed state, where you can concentrate calmly on the material being taught.

The majority of people cannot effectively learn a whole string of visualizations and memorizations, and retain them for long without regularly reviewing the material.

Those with photographic memories might be able to.

It does work for a little while, but once you have a few words, you soon forget the visualizations. How do you overcome that..... by re-shooting the mental movie, the visualization.

But of course that takes more time. Then when you come to learn the genders with the Linkword system, you have to learn another set of visualizations.

With our system you should instantly recognize the picture.

The sellers of some Linkword type courses, do make some quite bold statements – like ‘learn Spanish in 3 hours’.

Be very cautious of such claims!

(What I do like about Dr Gruneberg's comments himself on Linkword is that they are usually backed up by some form of research evidence and he does suggest realistic targets - as outlined in the box below).

I can promise you I tried it with the Paul Daniels system. (He also does not make such claims like learn Spanish in 3 hours....)

If it had worked for me I would never have developed the 200 Words a Day system.

Why would you? Why invest all those hours, manpower, money and time?

Because if it had worked I would never have needed to develop a better system than the Linkword!

A system that brings in other superlearning concepts and that incorporates audio, visual and kinesthetic learning styles.

And you do need to revise from time to time to ensure the words are still there, unless of course you are using the language and have the foreign words further embedded through practical use. This of course takes more time again.

But you don’t want to be wasting time if you can do it quicker, do you?

The 200 Words a Day system of foreign vocabulary learning significantly cuts down the visualization needed by about 80% by providing you a picture with the Memory Trigger©.

And of course, the brain never forgets a picture. So the key is to look at the picture – which gives you your visualization with absolutely no effort from yourself, with each word taking about 15 seconds to be taught to you.

In teaching you the word, the 200 Words a Day system also teaches you the gender of the word at exactly the same time.

The Linkword Language Learning System teaches you the gender as a separate visualization actually meaning there is double the amount of visualization required.

This of course means twice the amount of time learning the foreign language vocabulary.

If you are learning 1,000 words using Linkword you therefore need to learn 2,000 visualizations.

Dr Michael Gruneberg who wrote the Linkword Language Learning system is, according to the flap jacket of his book French by Association (which uses his Linkword system) states that he is an internationally respected expert on memory improvement working with language specialists.

He has published a number of studies of the Linkword courses to show how much more learning can be achieved when compared to traditional language learning methods.

In the forward to his French Linkword book (1994 edition) he quotes a study of travel executives who learned in 12 contact hours a 400 word grammar and vocab, content that would normally have taken 40 hours.

A group of bankers learned 600 words and basic grammar in 4 days, with other impressive results quoted for younger learners also.

He does stress that the Linkword courses “…do not involve the mastery of a single language but the rapid acquisition of a basic language to get by with.”

He states that many travellers and people on fleeting business trips can get by on getting a quick grasp of the language. Linkword is great for that.

Learning a new language is like a big jigsaw puzzle. The more words you know, the more easily and rapidly do the pieces fit the jigsaw. Learn 200 Words a Day

Hey if you have that sort of time to spare, sure – go for it, but instead shouldn’t you then be learning some foreign language verbs, phrases, grammar or more vocabulary?

Check out some examples here of:

Strangely enough, even though Dr Gruneberg first published his books in 1987 most schools, universities and learning institutions and teachers still teach vocab by repetition and rote.

No wonder most people give up language learning as being too difficult! Rote learning is just so boring.

By quickly building a large, solid foreign vocab base you can more rapidly build on the grammar, phrases, conversation and verbs of the language.

Many words of course are base words on to which suffixes and prefixes can be added to make another word.

Add –ly to rapid and you get another word rapidly. In Spanish one can often add –mente to an adjective to get the adverb. rápida becomes rápidamente.

So by using the 200 Words a Day to build a good foreign vocabulary base you’ll therefore have a strong foundation from which to move to verb learning, grammar learning, conversation and other aspects of foreign language learning.

We have the most effective verb learning system yet devised, again using the techniques of the Memory Masters.

More on Linkword

There are some other people who have used and taught systems similar to the Linkword Language System of language learning, and all the world’s Memory Masters and teachers stress the importance of the visualizing of the crazy picture to improve memory.
  • These people include ‘Mr Memory’ Tony Buzan who wrote the book Master your Memory.
  • Dr Bruno First with his ‘Course in Memory and Concentration’ teaches the same principle.
  • Dominic O’Brien – World Memory Champion
  • and several others

The System of Memory Learning is actually thousands of years old…Using visualization for remembering massive numbers of facts is a skill that is thousands of years old. It was used by the ancient Greeks.

It was used by many ancient cultures with oral traditions.

The Maoris of New Zealand learned oral histories which were passed from generation to generation, as many other Pacific Island cultures.

More and more archaeological evidence is today being unearthed which confirms the accuracy of the ancient legends of such peoples who passed on their histories in fable.

So the Linkword concept is really quite old, although nicely adapted by Dr Gruneberg and his many Linkword followers.

Check out how the 200 Words a Day system builds on Linkword and makes it a whole bunch easier.



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