I'm just wondering if anyone here has tried the Goldlist Method for adding vocabulary to long term memory. There are a number of videos on Youtube describing (in somewhat rambling fashion, sorry) how his system helps him learn 25 words or more per day, on average, over the long term.

I'm going to give it a go, but if anyone here has any tips or experience with this method I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Edit: typo


Here's one persons example notebook from using this technique. Skip ahead to around minute 2.

The poster of the original video (though admittedly strange) is a member of how-to-learn-any-language, a forum with a lot of self-proclaimed polyglot language learners, and claims to speak several languages in part due to this technique of growing his vocabulary. Several people on that site reported decent results using the method, but I'm just wondering about experiences of more mainstream non-polyglot language learners.

  • The Scottish guy was far more interesting probably because 1 He used examples and 2 He uses natural intonation (ie rise and fall in his voice)compared to the first man who sounded more monotonous and lacking much expression - FELIZ77 Jul 8, 2011
  • thank you for the links oldearth - ill have a listen - billygoat Jul 10, 2011
  • I'm a sucker for Scottish accents (any part of Scotland). Apart from that, not very interesting. - samdie Jul 10, 2011

9 Answers



The Goldlist method, after doing a bit of research on it, seems inefficient compared to just reading. You waste a lot of time and energy writing stuff down, doing this, doing that. But if you're just trying to unconsciously learn things just read a book in Spanish. I think reading is really the best way to learn vocab. Just try to understand the story. You'll pick up a few things here and there as you go.

For example: A few weeks ago I came across the word "arrancar." Which in the book I learned meant something along the lines of "to tear out, to rip up." I only saw that word one time in the book, I didn't make a special note of it. But I remembered it. Then, about a week later, I was watching a Spanish telenovela and they used the word "arrancar" to mean "start the car." I had to look it up to confirm, but because I already knew a little bit about "arrancar" I was able to deduce, from prior knowledge and the context of the show, what it meant.

And, of course, you'll learn some words from over learning. For example, de repentino. This comes up all the time in the books I've read. To be fair I only read public domain books, which are very old, but, still, I've seen it used in modern usage before. However, authors love to use synonyms. For some reason repeating the same word over and over again seems like a party foul to these guys. So you'll learn more than just "de repentino" for "suddenly."

However, my suggestion is that if you are new to increasing your vocabulary PLEASE start with short stories. You'll get burned out if you try some 100 page book your first go.

  • Jul 10, 2011
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  • I seem to see 'de repente', I'm going to look out for 'de repentino' from now on. :) - galsally Jul 10, 2011
  • ¿Sabes que? It may very well have been "de repente," because i have seen that for sure. I can't remember, however, seeing "de repentino." Though I have seen the word "repentino," I can't remember if there was a de next to it. - Fredbong Jul 10, 2011
  • Buena respuesta amigo mío :) - EL_MAG0 Oct 13, 2011
  • I agree. I retain vocabulary more efficiently when I learn it within a context! - MLucie Oct 13, 2011


How many parts do you have to watch before he actually explains his method? My short term memory shut down about 1/2 through Part 1 when it realized that he was going on and on and saying nothing worthwhile. I hope that my long term memory didn't have a chance to sample anything as I'd like to forget the whole video.

  • I agree Q very uninspiring video presentation on the whole - FELIZ77 Jul 8, 2011
  • Try this one, it's very concise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixxq8moh4pg - thechuff Aug 26, 2015


I haven't tried it, but I did manage to wade through a couple of rambling youtube-videos about it. A few years ago, I started to become frustrated about not remembering vocabulary, so I wrote down the words I didn't already know, and went through the lists now and again. The "goldlist" system looks to me like a simple refinement of such a method; it works well for a while, but then the sheer volume of it convinces you that there must be a better way.

Fortunately, I searched around on the net a bit, and found "spaced repetition programs" like Supermemo and Anki (there are many others). Using one of those, you don't have to decide (sometimes erroneously!) what you remember or not, and the system will always challenge you with words or expressions that you are just about to forget. It's both easy and efficient. True, you don't write the words down with a pen and paper - you just use your computer or mobile phone - but I find that to be another advantage. OK, maybe the brain remembers better - I don't know, really - when you spend time writing words down in your own handwriting, but really: for how long, and won't you get bored out of your skull anyway?

Good luck smile

  • Jul 10, 2011
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  • Anki! I use it and love it. There just seems to be no way of getting around flashcards for learning vocab, but at least Anki (haven't tried Supermemo) is a big step above regular flashcards. - RosaVerde Oct 13, 2011


To be honest I have never heard of it before until you mentioned it confused rolleyes red face However there seem to be so many different courses, methods and syles of learning that it could take many months if not years to assess their worth /value in helping people to learn.

I have just heard of Pimsleur (which I have had some limited experience of using as a refresher course at basic level) and Rosetta Stone which is too expensive in my view but if it works for people than.. thats good raspberry smile grin You could try this Goldlist and see if it helps you but the words would need to be spoken by native or at least advanced speakers and put into sentences to help people recognise how they should sound when spoken in normal every day conversation because in my view learning isolated words may be of limited value if you cannot apply them in every day life because most people would just forget them if they don't use them frequently.

Learning vocabulary is only a small but important part of learning any language and flashcards can help many people learn new vocabulary but they are only one method. It is important to learn vocabulary that will be of more immediate use to you and learn to use it frequently to help you remember it. Learning isolated words that are too difficult for a beginner to pronounce let alone spell would not be beneficial for anyone.

Word of the Day and Picture of the Day are excellent resources at SpanishDict because you can have your sentences officially corrected by native / advanced Spanish/English speakers. You can then see how words in Spanish and English change their meaning in different contexts. You can learn in a more natural/real way how to use vocabulary and words that you have actually chosen to use in your sentences not words chosen by someone else! tongue wink smile LOL

I hope this helps wink smile grin

  • De acuerdo. - MLucie Jul 8, 2011
  • From what I've seen *every* system designed to help learn a language, pimsleur, rosetta stone, etc. They can't get you to fluency. No matter what you do. They get you basics and you're on your own from there. - Fredbong Jul 10, 2011
  • Dien dicho!! - 001a2987 Jul 10, 2011
  • Fred you maybe right there I have not depended on a particular system since I could not afford the costs involved - FELIZ77 Jul 10, 2011
  • Chris, I think you mean Bien dicho lol - FELIZ77 Jul 10, 2011


In my opinion, we all learn in different ways and what works for one person may well not work for another. Me personally, just reading lists of words doesn't help me at all. I need to use words in context and in some sort of meaningful \ fun way. I prefer to learn and understand rules\structure, then hope that (when used in context) the rest of the words will just start to slot in. I will often read a subject (say for example direct \ indirect object pronouns) from many different sources. Each source will use different examples etc and when I assimilate all the information in my brain I seem to get a deeper understanding - this way I find I then remember things better.

One of the problems with my learning approach is, if there are inconsistencies with some of the explanations then I become very confused. Even though one explanation might seem 99% correct, if I have read (or probably that should be misunderstood lol) a slightly contradictory passage elsewhere then I question my understanding and it knocks my confidence. That is where this website has really helped me. When these situations happen I have posted questions on here and when a native speaker (especially one with teaching talents - which we have on here) explains it, then I really start to understand and remember (hopefully!!!) the subject in more depth.

  • Jul 10, 2011
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  • Wow, I relate to what you just said to a t. Bien dicho ;) - EL_MAG0 Oct 13, 2011
  • Exactly like me, as well! - territurtle Oct 13, 2011


I have just watched the man on the u-tube video recording. I began to get bored about two minutes into the recording . He is obviously not a linguist tongue rolleye and is not an inspiring speaker either which is a pity since the content began to sound interesting up to a point!

It would not inspire me to listen any further nor to consider adopting his method. This method seems more based on business managment from what he has said mixed with some psychology/neurolinguistic programming (NLP)but, my impression is that it was probably not put together by anyone with any real understanding of languages.

Pimsleur is/was a linguist who had studied languages and I found that his methods were of some benefit (Although neither myself nor my local library had sufficient funds to afford his full language series ... the libray only stocked the Spanish levels 1 a and b and 2 a )

If you are looking for a program to learn Spanish I would recommend this one.Here is the link to La Casa Rojas link text

I am fairly certian that the guy is a native Spanish speaker and from Peru I think... which must be good not that I'm biased lol hehehe I was just born there that's all tongue rolleye

I will be interested to see what others make of it wink smile grin

  • I watched day one and day two of the phonetics videos. Good vowel practice which I need. I'll watch more, thanks for posting! - swampy Jul 8, 2011
  • You are very welcome:) - FELIZ77 Jul 8, 2011
  • jeje ;) - EL_MAG0 Oct 13, 2011


I am sorry to read that the delivery of the method bored so many people here. This is radically different to the feedback I get for these things on YT, and I can faithfully promise you that I have hundreds of letters from people who had success using this method after failing on other methods. Even on HTLAL, with its heavy-duty polyglots who I fully expected to each have their pet methods, the method received a good hearing with some people adding it to their already formidable armoury of methods. Initially it was designed as a way to focus people onto what's important in language learning and also to enable continued, structured learning for busy people on the move.

For those who do not like the video presentations, there are also numerous articles about the method on www.huliganov.tv (please scroll down the side bar and find the section). Also a book called the Polyglot Project available in a free pdf and also a paid printed and published form on Amazon.com which has 100 pages dedicated to how the method came about and why it works. A dedicated book about the goldlist system is also on the way but I am very busy and having difficulty in finding the time needed to progress it. It is possible that even in written form the investment of a few hours time will seem onerous to some people, but depending on the methods you are already using it will save maybe hundreds or even thousands of hours of your time.

I accept the flaws in the presentations but I have available for that what I have. I've given a lot of time in trying to explain the details of it in the huliganov.tv blog, if anyone has constructive, that being in apposition to destructive, comments, on how I can improve the videos or wishes to collaborate on it, I am completely open.

I would have also hoped, being someone who has produced on YT the largest language course available exclusively for free in the Huliganov's Russian Course, and who has offered a methodology that has made linguists from non-linguists and again not made a penny from it, only put time and cost in, and who has in fact helped thousands of people, I could expect a modicum of respect from people on the net, as befits a teacher, and not such comments as "Not a linguist" or "not an inspiring speaker". I am ready to accept such destructive and disrespectful comments only from people who have made a greater free contribution themselves. I will happily make a video with any of you here who like to make scathing comments of that sort, and we will soon see who is the linguist and who is the inspiring speaker. Thank you.

  • Oct 13, 2011
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  • Welcome to the forum. Many of us share ou honest opinions and learning methods is a topic of discussion here. I don't see where anynody has disrespected you. Hasta luego amigo mío. ;) - EL_MAG0 Oct 13, 2011
  • It didn't bore me, I just know how I learn and, rightly or wrongly, I don't think it would work for me. - billygoat Oct 13, 2011
  • @Amor_y_paz, many thanks for the welcome. Everyone is entitled to thier opinions but I think that Feliz77 went beyond fair comment in saying that I am obviously not a linguist, and not inspiring. I like to think he came to his conclusion prematurely. - huliganov Oct 14, 2011


I added a shorter third-party video that explains it a bit better for those who were frustrated by the original link.

  • Jul 8, 2011
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I've made a short video explaining how to use the GoldList Method that might be useful to you.

You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixxq8moh4pg

  • Aug 26, 2015
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