LEARNing Vocabulary quickly
Increasing your vocabulary quickly is a key skill for learning a foreign language at all levels, beginning - advanced. Here are some suggestions on how to go about it:
- Don't try to memorize a word list - it's not a very effective method
- Use flashcards. Here is a video showing an effective flash card technique. E flashcards should have similar review & progress features (usually referred to as 'SRS' or the 'Leitner System.') Two of the most popular which do are Tinycards & Anki
- Try using flashcards with pics, not words. Make them yourself with Google /Yahoo images. Make a mental picture of the word as you say it.
- Use sound (mnemonic) association techniques. Associate the sound of the first syllable, the most memorable syllable, or even 2 syllables, with a word you already know. Use the word to form a picture in your mind that you associate or link to the meaning. Here is an excellent example of how to use sound association. Another technique is to build a town.
- Arrange 5 - 10 word cards (without English on reverse side) in a shape (I make a pine tree). Visualize them. Flip them over until you can guess them all correctly.
- Play vocabulary games like Hangman, Scrabble, Memory/Concentration, "Write as many words as you can starting with 'X' in 2 min."
- Use 5 - 7 new vocabulary words together in a single blog, email, short story, or diary entry everyday.
- Read a lot at a suitable level, any material - you should know 80 - 90 % of the words; if you don't know 1/4 of the words = too difficult!
- Keep a dictionary handy when reading. Highlight or circle entries you look up, creating a record which you can later review. Write in your dictionary! Add your own entries to margins & blank pages.
- Learn the meaning of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Nearly every language has them.
- Keep a vocabulary notebook - physical or electronic. Use it to jot down new words you encounter. Organize it by topic, related word groups, or word families (words with the same root but different parts of speech).
- Use 'diglot wave,' a method that substitutes the target word into an English sentence, for the equivalent English word only.
- Write down a few new words on a scrap of paper, put it in your pocket, and go out bar-hopping or shopping at the market. Strike up conversations with locals and try to use these words.
- Take a small notebook or use your tablet to write & save new words you encounter while out doing activities, or better - make an audio file of the words on your smart phone/tablet. Review the record every time you go out, expecting to record more words.