Polyhooks Methodology
  • Polyhooks builds memorable word associations by creating entertaining scenes that hook Vietnamese vocab words to similar sounding English words and associates these hooks with the appropriate English translation. There are four components to each of these memory hooks.

    Memory hooks are a proven mnemonic device that creates a link between the foreign vocabulary word you are learning and a similar sounding word that you already know.

    For example the Spanish word "gato", meaning "cat", can be hooked to the English words "got" and "toe". At this point a memorable association can be created in the mind between the vocabulary word "cat" and the hook words "got" and "toe".

    A polyhook is simply a memory hook that uses our particular style of memorable associations. Polyhooks uses tiny-stories that narrate a connection between the hook word and the vocabulary word.

    Foreign Vocabulary Keyword: The new vocabulary word that is about to get imprinted into your brain.

    English Hook Keyword: This is an English word that sounds similar enough to the foreign vocabulary keyword, enabling your brain to associate the words with one another.

    English Translation Keyword: The English meaning of the vocabulary word you are learning.

    Memorable Scene: A fun or interesting story that creates a memorable association between the vocabulary word and its English translation by use of memory hook keywords.

  • The idea here is that Its easier to remember a few groups of words than it is to remember all of those words individually.

    A classic example of this is the phone number. Trying to remember the 10 numbers individually (7 3 4 5 5 5 5 4 2 0 3) is a lot harder than remembering those 10 numbers split into 3 groups (734 555 5420).

    Polyhooks chunks a few new words that you are learning along with a few words that you have already learned, to make the all of these words more memorable.

    In addition to chunking words together, or mnemonic phrases also make use of other techniques to make phrases more memorable.

    The phrase is sure to be more memorable if:

    • The phrase has a nice rhyme to it like "The bear has a lot of hair".
    • The phrase is an "extended memory hook" like the Vietnamese "gần hồ", meaning "near lake", sounds like "gung-ho!".
    • Interesting word combinations like "The space between people".
    • Word pairs like "pure and simple" or "young love".
    • Combinations of words that sound nice together. Just reference any good poetry for inspiration.
  • People absorb vocabulary better when new words are presented simultaneously in both visual and verbal forms. A strong and permanent connection is created between the picture and the word. If you learn the word "con mèo", meaning "cat" in English, paired together with an image of a cat then the next time you hear "con mèo" this image will come to mind.

    Additionally, pictures help you think in the foreign language. When your hear a foreign vocabulary word and recall a picture instead of an English translation of that word, you are leaving English out of the interpretation process. The quicker you stop thinking in English, the quicker you will master your new language.

  • Memories in your brain can be tied to one or many of the five senses. You remember the way the flowers outside your family's house smell. When you think of your childhood school, you can see the way the front of the building looks. When listen to a lecture, or read a book with your mind's voice, your brain is storing that information as auditory information. You are more likely to recall information if it is associated with strong sensory information.

    Each polyhook is packed with words that trigger your senses. We ask you to visualize these stories in your mind, trying to really imagine these scenes in vivid detail.

    chuối : banana Your mom makes the best moist, chewy banana bread!

    Each scene that describes our memory hooks is written intentionally short. We use just enough words to set the tone for a memorable image. Add your own detail and make the stories personal. Use your imagination to further enrich the scenes with sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Whenever possible, use your own experiences to infuse yourself into these scenes.

    See the banana bread coming out of the oven. You hear the oven door shut and the sound of the pan placed on the table. Can you smell it yet? Imagine eating the banana bread, keeping focus on the taste of banana. Feel the chewy texture of the warm banana bread. Its so soft and chewy!

  • Spaced repetition is a learning concept which has been proven to greatly increase the chances of vocabulary words making it into long-term memory. A language learner will review vocabulary words frequently when they are fist learned. The vocabulary words are then reviewed in gradually decreasing intervals as they become more familiar.

    Polyhooks first introduces a memory hook to create a strong initial hook for recalling the new vocabulary word. Then the word is placed in a review deck that is presented to the learner using the spaced repetition system, so the learner can place this new word permanently into long term memory. This method works wonders for foreign language vocabulary learning.

  • Polyhooks has many tools to help language learners acquire good pronunciation habits. Learning the correct pronunciation of a word first prevents you from instilling bad pronunciation habits later on. Learn it correctly the first time, and then you're set.

    Further, Polyhooks places so much importance on pronunciation because we teach vocabulary with memory hooks. These memory hooks link a new vocabulary word to an English word that sounds similar, but not exactly like, the foreign vocabulary word. In order to create he language learner needs to be able to think of the memory hook and then hear the correct pronunciation of the foreign vocabulary word.

    When you are visualizing your hooks and saying the keywords to yourself, you should be pronouncing the English hook words as closely to the Vietnamese pronunciation as possible. For example, when pronouncing met, met should be spoken with the Vietnamese ệ sound, with less emphasis on the final consonant t, and with a low constricted tone. Listening to a native speaker pronounce each vocab word will help you with this part. Regardless of how the keyword is actually pronounced in English, the memorable aspects of the scene will benefit you in remembering the correct pronunciation of the new Vietnamese vocabulary word.

  • Our goal at Polyhooks is to give the learner the tools and knowledge required to start holding meaningful conversations sooner. We believe the primary item needed is vocabulary, which is why we focus so heavily on rapid vocabulary acquisition.

    There is no doubt that grammar is needed as well. However, not as much is needed as you might think to start effectively communicating. Sure you won't start speaking like a pro until you understand all of the grammar structures, but you will be intelligible very early on. Speaking and conversations accelerate your language learning, so we focus on laying the foundations for communication early.

    Polyhooks introduces grammar in small, bite-sized chunks that are delivered to the language learning as the pick up more and more vocabulary. The grammar feels more like a nice little break from vocabulary learning, rather than chore that must be tended to.

  • Studies have shown that writing things down helps you remember things better than simply reviewing them. While we don't require you pull at out a pencil and write our words down, we do give you the opportunity to spell out the words by selecting each letter in the correct order. This will help help language learners remember the correct spelling of words, as well as further plant that vocabulary deep into memory.

  • Foreign language material often teaches new vocabulary in categories. One day restaurant vocabulary is introduced, then fruits, numbers, and so on. Vocabulary is taught this way so that a language learner can acquire enough similar vocabulary to have short conversations in that subject matter.

    While it may seem logical to learn vocabulary in this way, it has been to shown that learning similar vocabulary words can actually cause an interference where the learner has a hard time recalling which vocabulary word belongs to which translation. Its better to learn vocabulary that are not all related to each other by subject matter.

    Polyhooks presents words in a logical order, but splits related vocabulary far enough apart that there is low risk of vocabulary interference. In this way all of the important words are introduced a short period of time, but just not all at once.