Pick a language and then establish the layout of your town, making sure to cordon off certain areas for different genders and word types. Let the words take you all round the town, spreading through your different districts.

See how quickly you can think of a key image for a foreign word, and then find a suitable location suggested by the English. Remember to combine them with an association. It's no good kidding yourself that you'll remember anyway. If you don't form a mental chain of links now, how can you expect to make the connection in a few days' time? It's like being given directions by someone in your car; if you are on your own later and you weren't concentrating the first time, you won't be able to find your way back.

I hope that this method removes some of the pain of acquiring a large vocabulary in a short space of time. You should find that it accelerates your rate of learning quite dramatically. If only I had discovered it when I was at school!


When I listen to the news on the radio, I am more likely to pay attention to an item on Ghana than on Liberia. Both share the same west African mb coasdine, and both countries have English as their official language. The sole reason I express an interest in Ghana is because I have been there. It's an important difference.

A few years ago, I spent a short time in Accra, the capital. Located on the coast, it represents a tiny part of the country, but I now have several lasting key images of Ghana. Every time I hear or read about it, I immediately associate the news with one of them. For example, a story on the BBC's World Service about Bolgatanga in northern Ghana might remind me of the hotel I stayed at in Accra, 600 kilometres away. The image is quite irrelevant, of course, but it's enough to make me remember the story.

By contrast, I am not attentive to a news item on Liberia. There's no inherent reason why its affairs should be less interesting than those of Ghana. It's just that I've got nothing to go on. Until I have a key image of the country, Liberia will remain a word.

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