When learning a second language it is quite common to get stuck in the middle of a sentence because you lack the necessary vocabulary. We never really stop learning new words, no matter what level we have, but if we really want to internalize new vocabulary, we have to be realistic when setting our objectives and find different mechanisms that will help us remember. Here are some top tips from our experts at On-Español that’ll help you learn vocabulary:
- 5 words per day are more than enough: We know! You want to know the whole dictionary as soon as possible, but that is just not realistic! It is better to learn a few words per day and make sure we know how to use them in a context than memorizing 25 that you will probably end up confusing, mispronouncing or just forgetting.
- Associate words to a context: It is so much easier to remember new words if you can link them to a specific topic. For example, adjectives to describe a person (tall, thin, enthusiastic, selfish and honest)
- Reviewing the words by yourself is going to be a lot easier if you can apply it to daily activities. For example: When walking through the streets, describe the people you see in your head using the words you’ve just learnt.
- Come up with your own definitions: Dictionaries are all well and good, but sometimes the definitions are not for beginners or just not creative enough to help you remember. Get yourself a notebook just for your new vocab words and come up with your own definitions and a contextual example. This is definitely going to make it much easier!
- Challenge a friend: Don’t wait until your next lesson to keep on learning! If you are trying to learn Spanish, find someone interested in learning your first language and help each other! How does this work? It’s easy! Send your partner-in-crime 3 to 5 words per week with a definition in your own words and he has to get back to you with a short paragraph using those words in context, and vice versa. Make sure you get back to each other with feedback!
- Be creative: Force yourself to practice! Buy a magnet board to put on your fridge and write some words there. Feeling hungry? Well, before opening the fridge you need to come up with a sentence for each word written there. Again… 3 to 5 words will be enough.
If you are already feeling comfortable with a set of words then look for their antonyms or synonyms! Again, making connections between words will only simplify the process of remembering them! You can always try building a word tree. Write a word in the center and start creating branches by word association!
If you want more tips on learning Spanish, check out our blog.