Category: memory

Power law and second language acquisition

The original formulation of [Zipf’s law](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipf%27s_law) was based on naturally occurring word frequencies and their rank order in a given English language corpus. For one example, merely 135 words accounted for 50% of the total word frequencies. This could be extended to phrases as well. For foreign language learners, this means that there is [some limited set of words](http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists) and phrases which account for a large percentage of word and phrase occurrences.

If we leverage the [mnemonic tools previously discussed](http://jeffmcneill.com/2009/03/01/mnemonic-devices-memory-remembering-learning-cognitive-architecture-application-areas-and-mnemonic-techniques/), we can spend time to create a set of entry level learning tools which will be extremely relevant (and therefore worth the time in creating).

## Suggested tools ##
For given words and phrases identified

* [Phonemic imagery](http://www.buildyourmemory.com/foreignlanguage.php)
* Iconic images (simple drawings)
* Canonical script, including for alphabet
* “[Town language](http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTIM_10.htm)” Roman room mnemonic, extended as a metaphor via the Pattern Language of Christopher Alexander (at the level of vocabulary, and eventually as grammar)

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