Learning Vocabulary

Posts12Likes6Joined24/3/2021LocationPH
Native
Tagalog
Learning French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish

As a language learner, one of the basics to learn is the vocabulary. Simple it may sound, but if you tend to forget easily like me, it will be a challenge. You can learn new words when you came across it while watching a movie, or you read it in a book you currently read. But how can you really retain the words in your head especially those that are really easy to forget?


I have few ways to have my vocabularies on check. I tend to keep a journal wherein I will write all of my thoughts about a chapter or episode that I finished. As much as possible, I jot down the words I am unfamiliar with, search its meaning on the dictionary and write it down as well. Also, I will use those words, if I can, on my journal. If ever I am still confused how does the word can be used in a sentence, I will use the internet to search sample sentences.


How about you? What is the best way you can learn vocabulary? Maybe I can get an idea that will work for me too!

Ericka

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#1
Posts1358Likes945Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Thai
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog

This is a good question. Most accomplished language learners will agree that to learn a language one needs massive exposure and practice. However, the language learning community is somewhat divided as to whether one should study vocabulary explicitly or just glean it. Although I firmly believe that we assimilate most of our vocabulary through exposure and practice, regardless of which path we take, I also believe that studying it explicitly speeds up the process and allows us to reach a higher level than gleaning alone.


Imo, if you struggle with retaining vocabulary, you are a prime candidate for studying it explicitly. What I mean by studying it explicitly is making lists or flashcards for words that you have already encountered and wish to retain, and having daily sessions where you glance at translations and try to recall the words. And modern technology makes this easier. For example, you could use the reading tool here to read in your target language, then download a list of unknown words to review or load into a flashcard program.


On the other hand, struggling with vocabulary is completely natural. It takes time/exposure/usage to be able to recall words, and there are so many of them that this one of the most time consuming parts of language learning. So you might actually be doing better than you think.


A compromise between explicit study and no explicit study, again lies in the reading tool. When you use it to read, you can look up words effortlessly, just by mousing over them (or clicking on mobile), which is like having a little micro-review exactly when you need it. This is much more convenient than the old days, when you had to stop and break out a paper dictionary to look up unknown words. I must confess that I am addicted to the reading tool, haha!

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#2
Posts13Likes12Joined24/3/2021LocationLT
Native
Lithuanian
Learning English

Well, I tend to remember simple words quite easily, so I do not know what exactly to say here, but I will try to tell you how I learn more advanced words. 

So, basically, I try to connect the word with some kind of silly or another way rememberable the meaning or thing in my life. Don't really know how to explain this, but I will try. For example, the word "pedestrian" is quite similar to one of the Lithuanian slurs used against LGBTQIA+ people, so I kinda easily remembered it. I know it may sound not really nice, and I want to disclaim that I never use that slur, but I still know it, because a lot of people, especially angry people on social media, use it. I hope I make sense. 

Also, sometimes some words just sound silly or laughable to me, so that's is how I remember them, but I don't know how I could help with this situation. 

So, yeah, I hope I helped, or at least you understood what kind of techniques I'm using to learn vocabulary. 

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#3
Posts1358Likes945Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Thai
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog

Ugne.Bulotaite wrote:
the word "pedestrian" is quite similar to one of the Lithuanian slurs used against LGBTQIA+ people, so I kinda easily remembered it

They call this a mnemonic device; or memory trick. I use these when I get stuck. My favorite of these is called Linkword (e.g., to remember that in Thai, khao means rice, imagine a cow eating rice). 

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#4
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