Learn how to improve vocabulary in three simple steps
When you learn a foreign language, enhancing your vocabulary may be one of the biggest challenges you face. Sometimes it seems so hard you think you are ready to give up on learning a foreign language altogether. Don’t hurry to do that! There are fun, effective and (what’s quite important when you have all that paper writing to do) fast ways to improve your vocabulary – and improve your foreign language knowledge. All you need is just to follow these three easy steps.
Step 1. Choosing learning material
When you learn new words, it’s better to learn them in the context. Isn’t it more fun to see how new words are used in a story than just trying to learn a list of random new words by heart? The thing is we can memorize new vocabularies better when we can associate them with a story. That’s why apps and articles like “1000 most commonly used words” are quite useless.
They usually offer flashcards and pictures to help you learn lists of words on this topic or another, and yes, you will learn something in the end. But you can be sure that it will be much more effective and interesting to learn new words while you read texts. You can even experiment a little and compare the two methods of vocabulary enhancement. Most likely, you’ll find the learning in context method more efficient.
1. Books. If a books has a captivating story, you will definitely remember it easily, including all the new words in it. With modern technology, you’ll have no problem with finding books online that fir your language proficiency level. Combine reading with listening – finding audio books should pose no problem either.
2. Articles. It’s a great source of modern everyday lexis you may not always find in books. You can find lots of news resources online that offer articles on all kinds of issues. You’d want to look for resources that offer latest news articles based on your language proficiency level and even some vocabulary exercises that will allow you to consolidate your skills. Choose articles that are not too long; it will be easier for you to learn and new vocabularies this way.
Step 2: Choosing vocabularies
When you find the reading material that suits you, you can do it traditional way by finding new words, looking up their meaning and writing them down. Or you can use an online program or phone app that automatically finds the most useful words in a text and make a list for you to use at your convenience. In any case writing new words down by hand doesn’t just improve writing skills – it proves to be more effective for memorizing words and keeping them in your memory for a long time.
Step 3: Learning new vocabularies
So you found a suitable material, read it and found some new words? Great! Now make a list of those words you want to memorize. Make sure you provide a correct translation for each of them.
1. If you have both audio and typed version of your text, practice pronouncing the new words out loud. If you don’t it’s easy to find online resources that will show you how your new words are pronounced by native speakers.
2. Practice writing new words, using them in short phrases and sentences. You don’t have to do any essay writing (unless you really want to).
3. Find synonyms for your new words – preferably the words you already know.
4. When it comes to learning new words, playing is the best method not only for kids, but for adults too. Make flashcards and play “true or false” using your new words.
Improving your vocabulary can be much more fun than you think. The main thing is make sure you learn whenever you can – standing in a queue, going somewhere in a bus or train – there are many mobile apps that can help you.
Good luck and much fun in learning!