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Top 10 Tips for Learning Vocabulary

by Lucy Benton

What we know for a fact is that no one stops learning vocabulary. No matter the language, new words are popping out in our face almost every day. We have learned to instantly ignore them, therefore most of us are ignorant to new information.

On the other side of the fence, there are quite a lot of us who want to learn new words and expressions. There’s also the case in which a person approaches a foreign language – it’s then when things get really difficult.

You have started reading this article because you’re obviously looking to learn new strategic actions that will help you learn vocabulary more quickly and more efficiently.

This article’s tips apply to both people who want to learn a foreign language and/or expand their native language skills and knowledge. Pay close attention and try to take action as frequently as you can – otherwise, results will come slowly!

Choose What You Want to Learn

First and most importantly, you must have a specific goal in mind. You can’t just start learning new words and expressions just like that. What you need to do is figure out the reason for which you want to improve your vocabulary. More than often, you already know the motives, but you need to start being conscious of them.

After you got that done, start to develop a few objectives. Here’s an example:

Choose your goal, and note it down. This helps a lot, as it’ll keep you away from irrelevant distractions along the way.

Discover What Type of Learner You Are

There are mainly three types of learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Each type of learner processes information differently. Keep in mind, each of us is using all of these three senses, but we choose to prefer one over the rest.

The learners who have predominant visual representations of their thoughts and memories need to focus on creating visual images that could be linked to different words.

The auditory individuals need to focus on what they hear. If you’re this type of person, you should try to hear as many words as you can instead or reading them.

The kinesthetic type usually “feels that it’s right”. So the process is more than often unconscious, but something lets them know that they’ve got the word right!

After you have figured out what type of learner you are, start focusing on tips & tricks that are closely related to your mental representations.

Use Sticky Notes for Noting Down Words

Sticky notes are a powerful and easy-to-carry tool. Whenever you need to remember an important word, note it down and stick the note somewhere where you can see it.

This is a pretty powerful strategy. Whenever you note something down, your brain starts to focus on it. Moreover, besides the fact that many words will predominate your unconscious mind, you’ll become conscious every time you notice a sticky note that’s placed on your fridge, desk, or laptop.

Learn One Word per Day

Learning one word per day sounds like a task for kindergarten children. This strategy doesn’t require motivation and effort. It is an effective habit, which if implemented, will provide a lot of new vocabulary language in the longer run.

If you believe that you can do better, start learning two words each day. That will definitely make a bigger difference. Think about it: 365 days multiplied by 2. That means an average of 700 new words per year!

Read as Much as You Can

Even if I left it in the middle of the post, I believe that this is the most effective strategy of learning vocabulary. When you read, your brain starts to find out about new words.

You’ll learn how complex sentences are made, you’ll learn new idioms and expressions, and your vocabulary will improve. You need to take notes and look for the definitions afterward.

Watch Movies with Subtitles

Subtitles might be annoying, especially if they’re in your own language. But, if your purpose is to improve your vocabulary skills, you need to leave them on.

Regardless of the fact that you’ll be watching native or foreign language subtitles, many of them will be stuck in your brain.

When watching movies and reading subtitles, you (generally) don’t have to go to other places to find out the meaning of different words and terms. Why? Because you’ll instantly find out what it means by looking at what happens in the movie.

Use Associations

Want to be able to remember words fast? You must wire them to something you find easy to access. As we’ve previously discussed, you need to figure out which type of representational system (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) you have. Once you figure that out, start linking different words to different stimuli. For example, if you are a visual learner, you can create different images in your mind, and link them all to your words.

Have a Dictionary Near You

Michelle Austin, HR manager at BestEssayTips suggests:

“Today, learning a new language or improving the native language’s vocabulary is easier than ever. A few decades ago, there was no Internet, no mobile devices, and no online dictionary. You need to leverage that and always be grateful for it!”

Download a Dictionary application on your phone and start looking for the words that you don’t understand or know. Every time you find something new, put it on the list. Then, when you’re waiting for the bus, start checking out the meanings.

Create Sentences Using Freshly Learned Words

After you learn some words, you need to put them into action. Begin to develop sentences using the newly learned words. You don’t need to stop after a sentence. Continue until you feel that you’ve grasped the full meaning of the word.

Knowing what a word means and being able to pronounce it doesn’t mean that you’ve fully understood it. The moment you’re able to put it into logical sentences, you should be done with it.

Practice, practice, practice!

Consistent practice is the main key to success. If you commit to what you do, if you work hard for it, and if you’re practicing it consistently, the odds of failing are very slim. Learning a new language takes a lot of time. Improving your native language skills also takes time. Do not rush things.

Practice, practice, practice, and you’ll be able to see the results for yourself.

Conclusion

Learning vocabulary is often a difficult task, but far away from impossible. There obviously has to be a purpose for all this. You might want to know more words related to a field so you can get a raise, or you might want to travel to China, so you have to learn the Chinese language.

If you are committed and you keep practicing consistently, there’s absolutely no way of not succeeding with your goals. Hard work, practice, and commitment represent the ultimate formula of learning as many words as you please.

About the writer

Lucy Benton is high skilled editor, proofreader who enjoys sharing tips and stories. She studied Creative and Professional Writing at the Maharishi University of Management. Now she is writing for marketing and business resources. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can email her at lucy.m.benton@gmail[dot]com

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