Eselsbrücken: Learn vocabulary with lightning speed (and never forget it again)!

Donkey bridges: learn vocabulary in a flash and never forget it again!

Learn vocabulary effectively with donkey bridges


  • Vocabulary that you notice by constantly repeating, You forget very quickly again.
  • With donkey bridges you can vocabulary Remember much faster and forgets less often.
  • To do this, you think of a word that sounds similar to German and imagine the two words together figuratively. Already you have created a donkey bridge.
  • Sometimes it is exhausting to think and find a donkey bridge, but it’s worth the effort.

learn vocabulary is the hate task of every student. It takes ages to remember any words. You are playing and purring and plowing and in the end you forget about half anyway.

Especially in the vocabulary test, you suddenly do not know anything more about what you have learned “so eagerly”. Unfortunately, at school I was never taught how to learn vocabulary efficiently.

Like most students, I fell for the learning-by-repeating method. Repeating the word a thousand times is only time-consuming and does not help.

You need a lot of time to really master a vocabulary. But at the time, that seemed like the only option for me and my classmates. Thus, for years, I toiled through this painful “learning”.

But there is a solution, to memorize vocabulary much faster and also to keep permanently: mnemonics.

Read here: 5 strategies to learn vocabulary and guaranteed to last forever.

Better: “donkey bridges” or “learning by associating”

Learning vocabulary with donkey bridges is one of the most effective techniques (report on donkey bridges in the star).

What is a donkey bridge? You learn every word by forming a “donkey bridge”. The vocabulary in the foreign language is here with a similar-sounding or similar spelled word in German compared. So you make a donkey bridge between the two words.

If you later hear the German word, the donkey bridge immediately comes to mind and you automatically remember the foreign-language vocabulary. This works best if you picture the two terms together, to strengthen the connection even further. The more unusual and bizarre the mental image of the Donkey Bridge, the better.

Examples of donkey bridges for English vocabulary

  • soggy -> Soaking: Soaking sounds a bit like sock and you think of yourself best a dripping wet sock figuratively. If the term gets drenched in your head, then you automatically think of the wet sock and remember the vocabulary.
  • fence -> Fence,: Fence sounds almost the same as fans. So you imagine a (for example, white) fence around which there are a lot of (football) fans cheering.

Download more examples for free here Donkey bridges for German-English down.

Here are some examples of graphic donkey bridges:

The better the donkey bridge, the faster you learn the vocabulary. I made some donkey bridges where I immediately noticed the word and never forgot it again. Try it yourself, the results are impressive.

Here is a video by Christiane Stenger with some examples of how donkey bridges can be formed:

Make donkey bridges by identical letter sequence

Another possibility for the formation of donkey bridges is to find a letter sequence of the foreign-language vocabulary in the German word. This can be two or more consecutive letters. That is, in the vocabulary you see some letters that appear in the same order in the German word. Unfortunately, this only works with foreign languages with an alphabet at least similar to the German one.

In English, the first letters are often identical to the first letters of the German word. For other languages, it can also be letter sequences from the middle of the word. Depending on the language, there are more or less such identical consequences and that does not work equally well for all languages.

Examples of identifying a string of letters:

  • hope -> Hope: Both begin with the same two letters (the sequence of the two words is at the beginning).
  • drink -> Drink: Both ends with the same two letters.

Do you have to remember the donkey bridges forever??

The biggest concern that many have with this learning method is, that one must always laboriously call the donkey bridge, to remember a word. However, you only use the donkey bridge the first few times.

After a few repetitions, the link between the German word and the vocabulary is so strong, that you remember the vocabulary even without a donkey bridge.

The same applies to identifying a letter sequence of the word in the German word. All donkey bridges are helpful at the beginning of vocabulary learning. Later, they are usually no longer needed.

Conclusion-donkey bridges: Exhausting, but worth it

I have one more comment: Producing associations by donkey bridge is exhausting. Because you have to first think of a donkey bridge and for that you often have to strain the brain (for words in which you think of a donkey bridge, it is not so bad).

When repeating a word, you do not need so many brain cells. Constant repetition is so simpler, but brings little results.

I, too, sometimes succumb to the lure of simply learning the new vocabulary through repetition. However, I forgot words that I learn by repeating, usually the next day – while the vocabulary I learned with donkey bridges stays stored.

So make the effort to make a donkey bridge, no matter how bizarre it is (the more bizarre, the easier you’ll realize the donkey bridge). It will pay off in the end because the results speak for themselves. In the beginning you will also need some practice to find donkey bridges, but you learn that very fast.

English with a difference – 3000 vocabulary in 30 hours (*): Is an interesting book, with the help of which you should remember 3,000 English vocabulary quickly and permanently about donkey bridges and a recommendation from our side for you.

What should you do now to successfully learn vocabulary with donkey bridges?

  1. Get the vocabulary out, where you have difficulties to keep her.
  2. Find German words, which sound similar like the vocabulary.
  3. parking You the German word and the vocabulary figuratively together in front.
  4. check, Did you notice the vocabulary now?.
  5. learn from now on all vocabulary according to this pattern.

How do you learn vocabulary? How well does learning vocabulary with donkey bridges work for you? What else do you have for tips & Tricks? Let me and the other readers know in the comments – Your Gabriel Gelman.

And – how did you like my post? Leave me a rating:

Note: Links marked with (*) are Amazon affiliate links. If you follow this and make a purchase on Amazon, we earn a small percentage of the purchase value that we can use to further expand our offering (blog and YouTube). The price for you remains of course the same.

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