I think memorizing is one of the biggest reasons why many people feel that learning a foreign language is a daunting task and is also probably the reason why people tend to give up halfway. I can safely say (i think?) that most of us do not like memorizing and we usually associate that with school subjects (all those math formulas).
Looking back, I don’t think I’ve memorized much for Korean. The only time I truly did it was during the 1st few lessons of Korean, when we were given a list of maybe 40 words and told that we are going to get tested on them the following week. It was an agony, and even though my memory skills aren’t bad, I still didn’t enjoy it.
Maybe due to the influence of learning Chinese, I tend to copy out and rewrite new words alot during the first year of learning Korean. It’s an effective way of learning Chinese, and I applied the same method to Korean. After reviewing a chapter, I’ll write a word maybe 3 times or so and make sure it gets etched in my brain. I used to have tons of paper filled with my writing 😀 and I think I kept a few for memento. xD
Then I moved on to another method. Some of the textbooks I used have glossary lists every chapter. I’ll cover up the Korean word and based on my memory and the English meanings, I’ll write out the Korean word. When I got more proficient, I stopped doing that. Instead, I’ll just look up the word and jot in my notebook and be done with it. 90% of the time, I’ll recognise the word and its meaning when I next see it again in another context. Even if I forgot the meaning, I’ll vaguely remember that the word is familiar. Upon checking it in the dictionary the 2nd time, I can say that I’ll probably be able to recognize it the 3rd time I see it.
Which means I’m relying less and less on memory work as time progresses.
I’m trying it a new method with Japanese.
Due to my laziness, I believe that memory work is not the way for me, particularly for Japanese, in which I have interest in but not passion yet. I’m going with the 0% memory work, which means I am not going to deliberately memorize any word. I used to copy each word a few times (due to the presence of kanji) but now I decided to stop doing it. I want to make sure that I enjoy every moment of learning when I can, and save that memorizing for the time when I’m taking formal lessons again in school.
I’m not sure how effective the method will be, but I’m going to try that out. ^^