Wondering where to start with vocabulary learning strategies? Here are 3 easy vocabulary strategies for language learners:
1. Read in Your Native Language
Reading in your native language about the culture or region where your second language is spoken is helpful for two different reasons. For beginners, reading about the culture, geography, and history of the country or region where your second language is spoken will expose you to common words you will probably encounter in the target language. Writers frequently use the language in parts of their writing to help convey special ideas. This is free vocabulary!
For more advanced learners, read in your native language on the topic you’re studying in your language. For example, if you’re studying a famous poet or author, read about the literary work in your native language. This will help you understand the abstract concepts and vocabulary you’re learning. It lays the foundation for the new vocabulary.
2. Triage Words
You may find yourself in the situation where your teacher writes every word that comes up in class on the board. Or maybe you read the front page of the local paper every day and keep a running list of new words. It will be impossible to remember every new word that comes up in these rich learning situations. Take time to sort new words into three groups: (1) very useful and need to know, (2) useful and nice to know, and (3) not critical right now (low frequency). Now you know to spend most of your time on groups 1 and 2. It’s okay to pass on group 3. There will come a day when today’s group 3 words will become your groups 1 and 2 words! I promise!
3. Mix Things Up
Mixing strategies up will help you remember more. If vocabulary learning is boring, consider switching up techniques to keep things fresh. Changing approaches – even if it’s only for one study session – will help you remember more as your brain automatically pays attention to what is new or different.
Looking for more ideas? Download the free ebook “How to Actually Remember Vocabulary: 51 Strategies for Language Learners“.