When I try to remember where I traveled or where I have to go to catch a bus, train or something else, I always have great difficulties to remember city names if they are in a foreign language. The name just doesn't sound familiar and so I think it is more difficult to remember.

As a small example: I don't forget the name Auschwitz (the German name), but I always forget the Polish name Oświęcim.

Is there any technique to decrease these difficulties?


Use Wikipedia. The names of the cities have a phonetic transcription and very often an audio file. You just have to read, listen and practice. It is important that you practice aloud!

Here are some examples:




|improve this answer|||||

It's weird, but once I've been there and heard a foreigner say it - ie in their language, it makes more sense to me.

Perhaps it's the audio effect - reading it I have no idea how to pronounce it, but once you've heard something, you can at least make an (often horrific) attempt at saying it.

I especially found this difficult with Cyrillic, and often resorted to Google Translate - it has a great little phonetic button to sound it out, and then an audio for you to listen to. But sometimes nothing is better than just practising it with a local, then it'll stick in your mind :)

|improve this answer|||||
  • I personally like to make a phrase that sounds like it in my head and remember it via that. Such as 'pangandaran' I just remember 'Pan gone, they ran". Obviously, it doesn't sound perfect, but it is a great reminder about the general way your mouth needs to move. When I was a kid and I moved to Europe, it was basically how I survived my first year. – Beaker Oct 26 '11 at 1:39
  • Ooh totally, 'spaciba' (thank you in Russia) became 'Spicy butt' in my head :) – Mark Mayo Oct 26 '11 at 1:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.