Sometimes learning vocabulary can be an uphill slog. Create the situation for success with these simple but effective techniques and watch your word power increase!
Speaking a foreign language is one of the most pleasing things you can ever do. However, absorbing the huge amount of vocabulary necessary to learning any language can be time-consuming and discouraging. Here are some ideas that will set up the conditions for success in what can be a pretty dull and tough task. Make things as easy as possible for yourself!
The significance of Context
It is important to learn vocabulary in context, as your brain will retain groups of words more easily than isolated phrases that are scattered unequally in your memory. For example, learn all your food vocabulary together.
Little and Often
…is the key to increasing your stock of words and phrases. This is the same basic principle behind getting fit – a power wastes away unless it is regularly exercised, and so it is with the brain’s capacity to learn a language. Remember, you acquired your mother tongue through constant absorption and practice over a number of years. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your Italian (or Swedish, or Arabic) vocabulary.
Firstly, decide how much time you have to learn vocabulary – twenty minutes a day? Ten minutes three times a week? Be realistic about this; don’t set yourself an over-ambitious target that leaves you doomed to failure. Next, find a time to do your vocabulary learning/revision, a time that you will be able to attach to. There is no point making an appointment with your vocabulary book when your favourite television programme is on – you are already fighting a losing battle.
Support your schedule with a schedule that is visible (on the fridge for example), and shows the days and times for revision. Each time you complete one of your sessions, tick it off on your plan. Even better, create a progress chart to record your hard-earned successes.
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