There are many ways to learn vocabulary — from creating vocabulary cards to using apps on your smartphone. What works for one person, may not work for another. I, personally, prefer old-school ways of learning vocabulary — by writing down new words on pieces of paper and reviewing them until I am confident I can use them. However, today I wanted to tell you about some principles that support learning vocabulary — regardless of what method you choose.
Repetition over spaced intervals. Everyone knows that repetition is the mother of all learning, but the important point here is that repetition has to be spaced over periods of time — that is, new vocabulary should be repeated with some time in between. To make it more interesting, don’t just look at your vocabulary — try writing a word/phrase on one side of paper and the translation on another and then test yourself by looking at only one side at a time.
Learning in context. Simply learning a random list of words is much less effective than learning vocabulary in a context — for example, learning words and phrases from a song or a reading text. This will help you create meaningful connections with these words and phrases and will help you remember them better.
Learning with attention. Unfortunately, you can’t just play a list of words on your computer, go to sleep and wake up knowing all those words. You actually have to pay attention to learn. Words that create an emotional response are easier to remember — which is why it’s a good idea to apply new vocabulary to your life, e. g. by describing people you know and things around you.
Use it or lose it! We already talked about repetition, but no matter how often you repeat a word, if you don’t use it, it’ll be much harder to remember it. Make a goal of using at least 5 new words every day — whether you’re making sentences with them or using them in a conversation.
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