Learn More English Vocabulary With Pokémon

Today’s lesson is a bit geeky…

I think I was 9 years old when I first entered the world of Pokémon. I remember my granddad bought me an imported copy of Pokémon Blue (his favourite colour was blue) from the USA.

I remember started the game on my old, gray original GameBoy and becoming instantly hooked.

I’d play that game for hours. My mum would tell me off for bringing the game to the table at dinner time. I’d even wake up an hour earlier than I needed to so I could play it before school.

I became obsessed with Pokémon.

And I could name all 151 original Pokémon without breaking a sweat.

I probably still could if you gave me enough time.

But why? Why could I remember all of these names?

What was it about the names of these Pokémon that made it so I could remember them all?

If you think about it, many Pokémon names are clever is some way or another.

For example:

Ratatata is a rat type Pokémon, and Pidgey is a pigeon. That’s a simple reference.

Then you have Pokémon with more advanced references, such as ‘Milktank’ for a cow (milk, get it?), and Squirtle for a turtle.

But then you have Pokémon with names that seem to be completely random, like ‘Gyarados’ and ‘Lapras’. But still I’m able to remember them.

And I’m not the only one. Kids all over the world are able to remember the names of these Pokémon years after ever.

But why?

Well, I’ve got eight reasons.

Eight Reasons Why Pokémon Names Are Easy To  Remember

  1. When you’re playing Pokémon, you’re immersed in the world. Everything around you is Pokémon, so you’re surrounded by Pokémon language.
  2. You see the names of the Pokémon all the time. The repetition of the names makes them stick in your head.
  3. You have an image to reference each Pokémon. This gives you another point of reference.
  4. Each Pokémon has a description, details (weight, height, noise) that makes them seem real and relevant. This is context.
  5. Some of their names are clever and relate to other things you already know – like the Squirtle = water turtle example.
  6. You spend a lot of time with these Pokémon. Maybe you use them to battle or maybe you see other people using them. Whatever the case, you see their names a lot.
  7. You see the names of Pokémon outside of the game – on posters, cards, movies, cartoons and toys.
  8. As a kid, you’d talk to your friends about which Pokémon you like and which ones you don’t like.

But what does this have to do with anything related to learning English?

Well, if you change the Pokémon example to ‘learning English vocabulary’, you have your answer to remembering any new vocabulary.

Because here’s the deal:

If Nintendo can make millions of children around the world remember a few hundred nonsense words that don’t really mean anything in real life, I’m sure you can use the same strategies to learn real words that you need to learn.

Do with that ^ information what you will.

Now here’s your task.

I want you to leave a comment below telling me something important…

I want you to tell me:

What’s your biggest vocabulary learning question or challenge…?

Simple.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Sam

The Pokémon Master

English For Study

About the Author Sam

Sam is the founder and creator of English For Study. He's also a lecturer in EAP/Academic English. Apart from making Academic English easy, he likes learning languages, lifting weights and eating good food.

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