6 Best Techniques to Learn Vocabulary

by Mary Steinford

When you seek to learn a new language, a critical component is grasping its vocabulary. The more words you know, the easier it will be to understand what you read or hear. Besides, you will have the right choice of phrases when you are writing or speaking.

Picture of a dictionary page

The following is a breakdown of the most effective techniques for improving your vocabulary knowledge. As a budding language learner, you will consider and use the most suitable approach based on your learning situation and desired goals.

WLCR (Write, Look, Cover, Repeat)

The traditional way of building your vocabulary when learning a new language is through a pen-and-notebook exercise. The physical motion of writing something down gives a perceptive learner a sense of satisfaction. In this case, you should draw a vertical line in the middle of a pad. Then, you should write words on one side (in your native language) and, on the other side, place their equivalents (in the language you are learning). After that, you should memorize them and test your memory by covering one side of the table. You should repeat the process until you get all the words right. You can record and listen to the words, or you can color code them to improve your chances of remembering.

Vocabulary Quizzes and Tests

After you have learned new vocabulary words, it is critical to ensure you can recall them. A fun approach to guaranteeing progress is taking a quiz to establish whether you can recognize words you have recently learned and to remind yourself of those you learned a while ago.

It is possible to take the quizzes on online platforms and keep practicing the new vocabulary. Alternatively, you can take the test approach, especially if you have a tutor. You can select a word, or the instructor can give you one to use as the basis of writing a short critical response essay to determine whether you have understood the relevant vocabulary and can use it right.

Using Flashcards

Flashcards are great learning tools as they act as visual clues. You can use them to expand your vocabulary in a new language by combining words with corresponding images or equal (in meaning) words in your language.

You can use different color codes for the flashcards. This approach is helpful when you encounter the words randomly, which means you must be ready for anything as you cannot just memorize them in order. Although it may be a challenging method, it ensures you face potentially tricky situations head-on.

Playing Games

Taking a fun and exciting path to vocabulary learning is possible. You can go the old-fashioned way by playing games such as Scrabble to master new words.

Currently, there are tons of online board games that are also useful in extending your vocabulary. This learning strategy is excellent as it not only makes the process fun but also provides context for new words. Besides, the approach gives the words extra meaning as you are probably going to remember how the word was used in such a setting. Overall, it will provide you with a real-life memory that will increase the chance of using them in practice.

Video Recordings

For some people, it is easier to learn a language when they hear words. However, it is not easy or convenient to write down new words or use a dictionary when you are talking to a person. Therefore, watching videos is an excellent way of learning as you can select videos that match your learning level and stop or rewind them whenever you want. Besides, they may include subtitles, pictures, definitions, usage examples, and audio pronunciations, which makes it even easier to understand and remember the new words you learn.

Learn Word Parts

It is possible to break down words into smaller components. For instance, if you focus on the root, which is the bases used in creating words in almost any language, it becomes possible to notice them in other words and discern what they could mean.

The choice of the approach implies that you will not only learn one word but will be able to get the meaning of new words by combining the root words with prefixes and suffixes, which refer to word parts that come at the beginning and the end of words respectively.


Learning a new language is usually challenging as it entails a lot of effort before you can speak, read, or write somewhat confidently. One of the most significant aspects of navigating through a complex exercise is building your vocabulary strength in the language. The above list is an outline of some of the strategies that you can use not only to learn effectively but also in a fun and engaging manner.


Writing systems | Language and languages | Language learning | Pronunciation | Learning vocabulary | Language acquisition | Motivation and reasons to learn languages | Arabic | Basque | Celtic languages | Chinese | English | Esperanto | French | German | Greek | Hebrew | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Latin | Portuguese | Russian | Sign Languages | Spanish | Swedish | Other languages | Minority and endangered languages | Constructed languages (conlangs) | Reviews of language courses and books | Language learning apps | Teaching languages | Languages and careers | Being and becoming bilingual | Language and culture | Language development and disorders | Translation and interpreting | Multilingual websites, databases and coding | History | Travel | Food | Other topics | Spoof articles | How to submit an article


Green Web Hosting - Kualo

Why not share this page:



If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.


Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.

Get a 30-day Free Trial of Amazon Prime (UK)