7 Tips for Learning New Vocabulary
Learning new vocabulary can seem like a daunting task – you can spend a day practising a word only to forget it the next! However, there are ways to make memorising vocabulary a little bit easier and a lot less frustrating, so read on to discover the best methods in learning tricky new words.
1) Read as much as you can
Reading is a crucial way to expand your vocabulary and learn the context of words. Pick up a newspaper each day and keep up to date with current events, or choose a topic you’re interested in and look online for related articles. Reading frequently keeps your brain thinking in your target language, and provides you with real-life, relevant vocabulary.
2) Construct sentences
Rather than just learning random new words, make a sentence using them! They’re no longer just ‘words on a page’ – they’ve now been given context and relevance, making them much easier to remember. You’re putting the words you’ve learned into action, and you can learn their different tenses, cases and meanings.
3) Real-life situations
Real-life vocabulary practice is important in learning and remembering new words. Saying something out loud, rather than just reading it, makes it easier to recall. However, it doesn’t just have to be conversation – anywhere where you’re learning the language in its actual context is great! Whether that’s changing the language of your phone, reading street advertisements, or texting a native speaker, it’s all helpful in remembering vocabulary.
Students love flashcards for a reason – they work! Instead of staring at a long list of unfamiliar words, using this method of memorising vocabulary means that you can simplify new words into bite-size chunks. You can look through them quickly and soon realise the words which you don’t know so well. Flashcards also stop the process from getting too discouraging – if you’re not sure of a word, you can move on to the next one.
5) Study themes
Grouping vocabulary into themes is a great method in learning new words. It gives them context and allows you to formulate sentences or ideas using similar vocabulary. Dividing words thematically also gives you the benefit of learning them at a manageable pace. For example, each week you could take a topic like ‘Food’ or ‘Sport’ and learn the relevant vocabulary.
6) Make notes
Keeping a small notebook with you to write down new words is the perfect way to constantly keep on top of learning vocabulary. If you hear an unfamiliar word, instead of telling yourself to ‘remember it later’ (trust me, this never works!), make a note of it and look it up at the end of the day. This way you’ll slowly build up an extensive and varied vocabulary list, and you’ll always have something to refer to.
7) Repeat and review
As tedious as it can seem, repetition is the key to success. At the end of each day or week, take a look at all of the new words which you’ve been introduced to and try to learn as many as you can. Have a go at incorporating the vocabulary into your speech or writing, so you’re repeating the new words as much as possible. Keep returning to words which just don’t seem to stick, and eventually they’ll become part of your ever-growing vocabulary!
So next time you want to memorise some new words, try out some of these methods and see if they work for you. Don’t forget to take a look at the Liden & Denz blog for more language learning tips!
This post was brought to you by Tilly Hicklin, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz, St. Petersburg.