Vocabulary can be a blast to learn, and if you do it right, learning a foreign language will seem effortless.
The first rule of learning vocabulary the right way is to use your imagination. Studies show over and over again that interactive learning produces the quickest understanding and the longest retention.
Here is how you should go about learning vocabulary fast and to keep it fresh in your head:
Select a word that you’ve learned and want to remember. Close your eyes and say the word slowly out loud. Listen for any images that come to mind based on the sound of the word. If it is more than one syllable, pronounce each syllable and note what images come to mind. If no clear images appear right away, repeat the word (by syllables), changing the emphasis until you can get an association with an image.
2. Make it Interactive
Have the image that the sound invokes interact with the object that the foreign word represents. For example, the Spanish word for ice, hielo, sounds like yellow, so you can imagine clearly in your mind, yellow ice. Interaction with another object makes the association stick, so imagine yellow ice falling into a clear glass.
3. Context Matters
If you are learning the words for things in a dining room, sit in a dining room if possible. Wherever you are look around you and try to name everything in the room really fast. Think of things that should be in that place and name them. If you are thinking of food, think about which foods you like the most and what goes well with certain types of food. Think of meat and potatoes or salad and salad dressing.
4. Watch videos
Podcasts that offer texts spoken by native speakers and give you a written transcript of the texts are an excellent way to learn vocabulary since you can pick up the sounds as well as get a feel for the spelling of new words.
Movies give you the context and keep you entertained while you unconsciously learn new words.
5. Listen to Audio books
Audio books are excellent for people on the go. They work well while you are driving, cycling or riding in the plane, train or bus.
The techniques explained above work well for me and keep me eager to pick up new words and phrases. Constantly playing with the images and sounds helps keep the expressions fresh and will motivate you to continually search for new material to learn.
Let me know how this works for you. Leave your comments below.