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When you’re learning a new language, you often find yourself with list of lovely new words but at a loss at how to get that list into your memory!Here are a few suggestions of ways to facilitate the vocabulary learning process, to help your language become richer and your communication even more effective.
This is a website for both students and teachers! Your class teacher might use this sometimes to practise vocabulary with you in live games in the classroom, but there are lots of ways for you to use this while studying after class too.
Once you’ve created a free account (either on your computer or using the App), you can search for existing sets of vocabulary, or simply create your own sets. You decide what works best for you: you should record the target word, and then decide what will help you to best remember. That might be a translation of the word(s), a picture or an example sentence.
Once you have got a set of words to work with, you can use the different modes to really practise your recall of the words and test yourself as you go. There are matching tasks, spelling tasks and even tasks for you see how quickly you can recall the whole vocabulary set.
This is a great tip for lower level students. While you might be confident with language for the classroom, how many things and actions around the house make you stop and think? What do you call the place where you wash your hands? What about where you charge your phone?
A simple tip is putting sticky notes with the name of the object on the object itself! Label your whole bedroom, or even your house, and then test yourself while you brush your teeth, or cook dinner.
To make it even more complex, you can add on verbs or phrases connected to the object and think about conjugating them while you’re in the room 😊
This is the low-tech version of Quizlet, but it’s tried and tested by language learners throughout the globe! Buy a set of small flash cards and write down the vocabulary word or chunk on one side, and then either the translation, function or definition on the other side. Study ten of the cards for ten minutes, then test yourself on how many definitions you can remember. If you remember the word, put it to one side; if you can’t remember it, add it back into the pile for the words to study. Pick another ten cards and repeat the process. If you find it hard to remember, read things out loud as you go. Often hearing the words helps students to better recall the words.
One tip for higher level students is to make sure vocabulary is always recorded with clear examples in the target lesson.
Once your class has finished, review any words you noted down and write down clear examples for them. The next day, you should look back at your example sentences, and try to write a further example below your original one. Repeat this process at least 5 times by word, as this is shown as the minimum number of times you need to encounter a word for it to be considered “learnt”.
Another way to ensure you’re encountering the new words with relative frequency is giving yourself a challenge to use more complex words each week.
On a Sunday, before going back to class on Monday, pick ten words from your previous week. Your goal is to try and use those ten words at least once during the following week while speaking in your classes. You could share this list with your teacher, and then they will be able to give you feedback on how and when you are using them. You could always make this a competition with your classmates and see how many times you can use your words. Winner is the one who uses more of their words, more frequently!
Good luck with your studies and remember- repetition is key to vocabulary growth! Put in the hard work, and your understanding and communication will become more articulate and accurate before your very eyes.