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How the chunking technique can help you memorise English vocabulary

Study tips

Note: This is an extract from a lesson in our Business English course online: Effective Communication

Understand the chunking technique

Listen and read

Learning vocabulary is hard. Especially as we get on in years! The good news is, there are lots of learning techniques to help us on our way.

Today I want to talk about chunks, or chunking. Chunking is learning vocabulary in context. It means learning phrases, or groups of words, rather than single words. These chunks of language could be things like I work for a companyI’m from Milan, in Italy so, fixed phrases and other lexical chunks. Some other examples are by the wayI look forward to hearing from you and I can’t wait.

It’s just easier for our brain to remember, like learning the words to a song. It really works for me. Spero di si / Fammi sapere … no laughing please at my horrendous pronunciation, but I learned Italian vocabulary in chunks. If I learn spero… di…fa...individually they don’t do anything for me when I try to speak. But if I learn them in chunks, it’s like I have easy access to ready made phrases and so I sound more fluent.

How to apply the chunking technique

The vocabulary that you’ve been learning in this course is perfect for chunkingI’m responsible for managing

If I learn this as a chunk: when I speak, I don’t have to worry about the preposition, I know that the verb needs to be in the ING form:

I’m responsible for managing

So I have easy access to this phrase in my brain. If I just focus on I’m responsible, when I speak it is likely that I will use the wrong preposition and forget to use the ing form.

So, go back over the vocabulary and review it with chunking in mind and try to do this every time you learn new vocabulary.

I promise it will make your English life a lot easier!

Go on! Give it a try.

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