Friday, June 10, 2011

Vocabulary building

Again, thanks to Twitter I stumbled on an interesting article with learning tips. It tells how to learn and build new vocabulary in the language you are learning. You can read the whole article here: Poligo Guide to Language Part 40: Vocab Building.

Here's a sample of some pieces of advices from the article:

"So, in order to build your vocabulary fast, you should follow this simple recipe:
  1. Increase your daily exposure to the language: listen and read a lot;
  2. Make a note of new words;
  3. Make an effort to sit down and learn the new words.
If you are not learning lots of words at the intermediate level, you are not doing one of these three things. If you are not encountering new words, read and listen more. If you are not remembering the new words you find, sit down and learn them. If you sit down and find that you have no new words to learn, you have skipped number one or number two.

Do not try and choose which words to learn. Learn them all:
  1. If you have met a word in some real-life situation, it is not useless, no matter what you think.
  2. You cannot judge the usefulness of a word by comparing it to your native language.
  3. Even if a word seems useless, it might be very easy to remember, so you might as well learn it.
  4. You also cannot tell, until you learn all of the language, whether a seemingly useless word might not be related to other far more common and useful words. Learn it and you can lay the foundation for learning other things.
  5. It is also sometimes the case, that the sheer absurd uselessness of a word makes it memorable. You might be able to learn it with very little effort.
  6. Even obscure words can show in interesting ways features of the target language that will help you to learn more common words later.
  7. The words learners judge "useless" are almost always words they (and most twelve-year olds) know or at least can understand in their native language: for example, you might be surprised that anyone would know, or want to know, foreign-language words for things like "hippopotamus" or "dolphin", "schizophrenia" and so on. Yet everybody certainly knows all of these words in their native language. Why would you know a word for it in ANY language if it was "useless"?
You should just learn the words that come your way, no matter what, and enjoy them."


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