Learning vocabulary

Vocabulary book.

In my previous post I recommended buying a small note book to use as a vocabulary book. It should be small enough to fit in a pocket or handbag. You can organize the new vocabulary any way you like: alphabetically, chronologically, thematically. I like to organize my new vocabulary thematically. To an extent this will also be chronological as learning tends to be arranged on a topic basis. You could have headings like greetings, food and drink, family, colours, weather etc. You can also have sections relevant to your interests or your work. Don’t forget to include phrases, questions and answers, as well as single words. Your vocabulary book will act as a quick reference for you. If you make a point of adding vocabulary after each class this will help to consolidate the new material. Because your book is such a handy size you can take it with you and take the opportunity to learn vocabulary on the bus, in your tea break etc.

Flash cards

You could make flash cards. Write the vocabulary you want to learn on a piece of paper or card and write the English on the back. You could add a picture as well. I have bought some sets of flash cards for Chinese, they have a picture with pinyin and Chinese characters on one side and English on the back. I select 3 to 6 cards a day and put them on my desk so I can see them and study them when I have a spare moment. When I think I am ready I turn them over and see if I can remember the Chinese when prompted by the English. If I want to check that I recognise the Chinese characters I cover up the picture.

You could also make one set of English cards and another of the target language. You can then play a matching game or picking up pairs.

You could go to BYKI to download some free language learning software. The flash cards have been made for you and are presented randomly. If you get one wrong it will be presented again and again until you get it right. You can also hear the word being said. It also allows you to progress to higher levels.

Interactive activities

There are also some excellent interactive learning materials on the market, such as EuroTalk.  Click here to try out the French version. It takes a little while to load so please be patient. There are loads more languages available.


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