Best Methods to Learn Vocabulary Words in a New Language

There are many languages spoken throughout the entire world. In order to read and speak a language fluently, you will need to learn its vocabulary. Indeed, grammar is important – but if you do not have a vocabulary base that will allow you to form sentences, you will not be able to communicate properly. Here are a few ways in which you may learn more vocabulary words much faster.

1.   Try the WLCR Method

The Write, Look, Cover, Repeat (WLCR) method is the classic way for you to learn words in different languages. Basically, you write the word on a piece of paper, look at the word, and then cover the paper. Try to repeat the word that you just wrote and looked at, and if you can’t seem to remember it, do it again.

2.   Use Flashcards

Flashcards are part of the “oldies but goldies” category – and used correctly, they will simply allow you to learn more words more interactively. Plus, the advantage of flashcards is that you can break down those learning sessions into just a few minutes here and there. Whenever you get a moment, you may just pick a flashcard, and you will have added a new word to your vocabulary.

3.   Study Etymology

Etymology is the branch of linguistics that studies the origin of words. Many advanced-level vocabulary words originate from classic languages such as Latin and ancient Greek.

For instance, Latin prefixes and Latin suffixes appear in the formation of a number of English vocabulary words. This is also the case for several European languages and in particular the Romance languages.

Learning some common Latin roots is also helpful for increasing one’s vocabulary. This is because many different vocabulary words originate from the same Latin root.

The same is true for Ancient Greek: many specialized vocabulary words have Greek prefixes or Greek suffixes.

4.   Talk to Yourself

We know it sounds strange, but in this case, talking to yourself is actually to your benefit. In most cases, many of the people learning a new language are doing so through writing – but it’s the vocal repetition that can help you the most. This is why, when you catch an “alone moment”, start talking to yourself.

Talk about the things that you like, the things that you would like to do – hold a monologue with yourself. We swear, in this case, it’s healthy – and for the greater good! Plus, it will help you with your pronunciation.

5.   Use Mnemonics

If used correctly, mnemonics can be very efficient learning tools – but the truth is that not many people know about them or how to make proper use of them. This method will place a story behind the vocabulary word, making it much easier for you to learn it. When you hear that word, you can simply connect it with the story, and you will know right away what it means.

There are several ways to use mnemonics to improve your memory, and all you have to do is find the most suitable method for you. You may go for more famous or common mnemonics, or you may simply choose to create your own mnemonics. It’s all a matter of preference and what you believe you are more likely to remember.

6.   Play Vocabulary Games Online

Nowadays, technology allows you to learn foreign languages easier than ever. There are so many vocabulary games that you can go for now that you can learn and practice a new language while enjoying the entire process. Plus, not only is the learning made fun, but it is also made easier. The moment you find joy in something, the experience gets stuck in your brain – which means that you’ll be adding words to your vocabulary at a much faster pace without even realizing it.

7.   Watch Shows in that Language

Our hearing is a marvelous thing – and the more we hear something, the likelier we are to remember it. You’ll be surprised how you can learn even a language as complicated as Japanese by simply watching shows in that language. The same thing applies to English and any other language. The more you watch the show, the more you will be able to learn as you are listening – and the good news is that you’ll be learning without even noticing.

If you don’t have any shows that you’d like in that particular language, one good alternative here would be to watch the movie or TV show in your language but set the subtitles in the language that you want to learn. This way, you will be hearing the movie in the language that you know, and then you will be associating the words with the audio of the movie. The more you do it, the more you will be able to drill those words into your vocabulary.

8.   Learn Phrases

You may want to improve your vocabulary word by word, but sometimes, it is much easier to learn the phrase rather than the word itself. Go for the more common phrases first – find out which are the most likely to be used in a conversation. When you put it that way, you will be able to remember it with much more ease.

Simply put, when you put those words in a frame, it should be much easier for you to learn them by association. You will hear the word coming before it, and then automatically your brain will think about the word coming after it. These combinations should help you remember the language more easily.

9.   Listen to Music in That Language

New languages are a bit more difficult to learn when you only put them in a theoretical manner. It may seem interesting, but to many, it is just boring – which is why the information might go right past you. This is why you may want to learn a language through something you love – for example, music.

You may easily memorize words when you do so through music. Ask most of the rock music enthusiasts that learned German by listening to Rammstein. The catchier the song, the likelier you are to remember the lyrics – and therefore, the words. And let’s face it; when you see that it’s easier to remember song lyrics rather than a person’s name, it’s clear why this would be a good option for you to learn vocabulary words.

10.   Take an Audio Dictionary to the Gym

It’s no secret that physical exercise makes your brain work better. So, why not benefit from it and take your learning to the gym? There are a variety of dictionaries and books in audio formats that you can take with you, all of which have the purpose of teaching vocabulary. If possible, try repeating along with the book. You know that the more you hear yourself, the better you will be able to learn.

11.   Use a Vocabulary App

There are various apps on the Internet such as VocabChat that allow you to record words so that you may learn them better. Simply put, with these apps, you type the word, record it, add a translation, and then share or save it. The more words you add, the longer your vocabulary list will be. Plus, since it makes the process a bit more interactive, you will feel like you have more fun as you are learning new vocabulary words.

Final Thoughts

In the end, a new language cannot be learned overnight. You need to practice enough until that language becomes stuck in your brain. The more you practice with your vocabulary, the better you should be able to learn. No matter if you choose to learn through a TV show, flashcard, or an app such as VocabChat, you need to give it enough of your time to do so.