Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quick Tricks for Memorizing Names in Spanish

A Guinness Book of Records Mentalist Recommends

Guinness Book of Records Mentalist Enrique Ortega Salinas often memorizes 60 to 100 or more first and last names at once, and suggests that you “begin to memorize first and last names by associating images with prominent physical or personality characteristics of people you meet with those names”. Other association types might include using images of famous people or their occupations.

Here, in Part Two of this three-part article post series, are some examples that will help to illustrate the process continuing from part one entitled, “How English Teachers Can Learn EFL Student Names”.

The last name Arboleda is partly like the word “arbol” meaning “tree” in Spanish. You might picture a tree growing out of the person’s head or ear or other prominent facial feature.

Bermúdez is rather like the island country of Bermuda. If you can link a person named Bermúdez with the island of Bermuda, you’ll certainly never forget their name.

Castillo sounds a bit similar to “castle” which is the meaning of the name in Spanish. Picture the person in a castle or coming out of one.

The name Castro is almost always associated with the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Picture his long beard, moustache and military uniform. Find a way to mentally associate the person with Fidel and you’ll surely have a much easier time recalling their name when you need to.

Delgado can mean “thin” or “slender” in Spanish so you might Picture the person being excessively thin or being squeezed thin to help you remember the name.

The last name Díaz has nearly the same sound as “dias”, the Spanish Word for “day”. It’s like the expression, “Buenos Dias” or literally “Good Day” which is used as “Good Morning” in Latin countries. Or associate the person with actress Cameron Diaz.

Domínguez sounds almost the same as “domingo”, the Spanish Word for “Sunday”. Picture the person at church, coming out of mass or in another way relate them to Sunday as an aid to memorizing their name.
Duque is pronounced like “duke –ay” in English. Make a mental image of a royal Duke and associate it with a prominent physical feature or characteristic of the person you’re trying to remember. It always works for me.

Flores is the Word for “flowers” in Spanish so creating a related memory image to remember a person with this name shouldn’t be too difficult. Just picture the person holding your favorite bouquet!

To remember a person named Gómez if you like chewing gum, just imagine the person chewing a huge wad of gum. See how their jaw sticks out from the wad they’re chomping. It’s kind of humorous isn’t it? Great! That’ll help you to remember their name.

The last name Hoyos reminds me of a “hole”. You might picture the person climbing out of a hole, digging one – or falling into one. How about the person digging a hole, falling into it, then climbing out of the hole, sort of like a mini-movie? Be sure to include imagery involving a prominent feature of the person to aid in linking the person’s face and name in your mind.

How about imagining a person named Londoño (pronounced Lon-don-yo) with the city of London? You could paint all kinds of imagery with this scenario. Use Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye or the Tower of London, even the faces of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles or Lady Diana to help your association along.

Mosquera is a common last name among Black families. The name sounds a lot like “mosca”, the Spanish word for “fly”. Picture the pesky insects flying all around the person’s face you want to remember or picture “Spanish fly”.

Coming Up in Part Three of Memorizing Names in Spanish

In the next and final part of this three-part series entitled, “More Easy Techniques for Memorizing Names in Spanish”, we’ll continue to look at more examples of easy ways to memorize last names in Spanish. Remember that these techniques can also be easily applied to memorizing first names or last names in ANY language based on their sounds.

See you then.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 125 countries worldwide. Get your FREE, pdf format report on CD or via e-mail, "Creative, Dynamic Ways to Motivate and Teach English as a Foreign Language to Diverse Groups of Reluctant Learners" by requesting the title at:

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