What if I told you one can learn European Portuguese vocabulary almost 40% faster just by chewing gum?
You would think I’m being facetious, perhaps you’re looking for a play on words in the previous paragraph. No, I meant it!
Does science prove that chewing gum helps with language learning?
A few studies have been done on the seemingly miraculous memory-boosting capabilities of the small elastic sweet we call chewing gum, or the Portuguese “pastilha”, such as the one in 2007 by Professor Edward McLaughlin or this one performed in Cardiff back in 2009.
But for this article, I’ll discuss a study done by a researcher at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle.
Researchers divided a group into 3: one that chewed gum (sugar-free), one that was making the chewing movement but without the gum itself, and a control group.
Participants were then shown a number of words and pictures and asked to recall them at different intervals.
The results were quite intriguing. In the working memory, also referred to as short-term memory, test, the group that chewed gum was able to recall 24% more than the other groups.
But of course, when it comes to remembering Portuguese vocabulary, one wants to remember things long-term. Well, that’s where the precious gum reveals to be such a time saver. It turns out the chewing group performed 36% better in the delayed memory recall test.
Not all studies discovered the same level of effectiveness, but it seems a given from all of them, that gum does help with memory dependant tasks.
In practice, how can chewing gum help you learn a language quicker?
Put simply, if you use gum while playing around with your vocabulary notebook or our podcast-related flashcards, you will save yourself about 20 minutes out of every hour of study.
With a good study routine, say one to two hours daily, you could potentially learn hundreds of bonus words you would not have otherwise.
That of course is a best-case scenario and these techniques are unlikely to work to the same rate with everyone, but hey, what do you have to lose?
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