When memorizing vocabulary lists, I found that I'm rather good at remembering nouns and adjectives, but verbs tend to slip my mind quite easily.* It's led me to wonder if others experience the same thing: that is, as a rule, remembering some types of words but forgetting others.

Is there a term for this behavior? What are some effective methods for combating it?

*If it's relevant, the L2 in question is Japanese.

  • You should look into mnemonics. I'll post more tomorrow.
    – AML
    Jul 11, 2018 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


It seems like you need to put extra attention into verbs, so I would recommend the following techniques that you might not be using:

  1. Mnemonics: You probably know what mnemonics are, but just in case, they are a variety of techniques that assist with memory. A common way to use them with foreign languages is to convert pronunciation of the word you don't know into words that you do know and then use the familiar words in a sentence that convey the meaning of the foreign word. An example taken from here is: " 'There's a fork in Ma’s leg' helps the learner remember that the Hebrew word for fork is mazleg (מזלג)".

    Here is a book on Japanese mnemonics, with a whole chapter on verbs, to get you started.

  2. Learn the verbs in sentences rather than as single words. Context helps with memory.

  3. Memorize song lyrics. Song lyrics are full of verbs, and catchy songs can be easy to remember.

  4. Spaced repetition: spaced repetition helps to conquer the forgetting curve.

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