Re: memorizing vocabulary

Karen Pitts (
23 Oct 1996 11:24:30 U

This is in response to a bunch of messages from early Oct. on ways to help
students memorize vocabulary (we have a new baby in the house and everything
is in slow motion).

David Moore mentioned Van Voorst, but hadn't actually used it. I starting
using Van Voorst, Building your New Testament Greek Vocabulary, after I had
pretty much finished my intro Greek text. It was very helpful, especially on
the structure of how Greek words are built, and to recognize words that I had
already memorized were related. As I started reading in earnest, I also
stuffed words in my head through Van Voorst's listings, going as far as
families occuring down to 24 times, but many of them didn't stick. There were
also several words I just couldn't seem to remember. I have found that it has
helped, once I've seen words in context, I'll remember words that I had tried
to memorize better than ones that I see cold, but I found it frustrating and
I'm not sure how valuable it was for the time spent.

I've tried to use it with my intro classes, mid-way through the intro text,
and my students also found it a frustrating way to learn vocab. In my new
class I'm trying out Greek to Me, with the memory cards, to see how that will

What I find works best for me (as several others have mentioned) is reading
and working at the vocab as I read, using a lexicon and Van Voorst or other
aids (concordance), so that I can secure the full meaning of the words I don't
know. I write down all the words I have to look up, but I've given up on
flash cards for myself.

Karen Pitts
Hopewell Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Hopewell, NJ, teacher of NT Greek
David Sarnoff Research Center, Princeton, NJ, statistician.