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How to learn vocabulary fast?





Bonifacy
I heard about few quite interesting methods about learning vocabulary if you learn foreign language and one of them is told to be very effective. The point is to wrtire down words you want to learn in a specific and quite unusual order. Like this:

cat
--- fog
------ tower
--------- lake
------------ pencil
----- --- monster
------ train
--- dog
ice

the thing that makes you able to remember them in short period of time is you focus on a word itself and on the place among the rest from the list. Tahnks to that you learn more and faster.

Maybe you know any other ,quite oryginal method of learning vocab
ocalhoun
Well, simply read books. Lots of books, preferably difficult ones, and you'll pick up vocabulary without really even noticing it.
jsarnold
First of all, you do not want to learn vocabulary fast.

You want to learn vocabulary quickly (the adverb which is required, rather than the adjective).

But, apart from being a pedantic old sod, my recommendation is also to read books - lots of them. Not all text books - a wide variety is better. Have a dictionary to hand, and look up words that are new to you. Try to use new words in your everyday conversation.

Write lots. If you write, you are putting into practice the words that you have learnt - sometimes without even realising it. You'll also stumble, and find yourself needing a word you don't know - so reach for a thesaurus perhaps.
mtsbuild
It has been stated (albeit not by me) - that the best way to develop and strengthen your own vocabulary is to read fiction.... and a lot of it....
Unfortunately for me I am a workaholic... love work, love business books, but don't really enjoy fiction.

I have found a good solution though.... read journal articles written by academics. Stereotypically these papers are riddled with word after word, that one would be hardpressed to use in everyday conversation but they are still great for storing in (if you have one), your own dictionary.

I do this; however (being a trainer and professonal speaker) - I am also aware of the importance of being able to simplify things... (no good saying something that no one can understand).
deanhills
Drilling exercises in grammar could be helpful. If you do the drilling along the lines of "I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are you are they are". For all the different tenses. On a daily basis over a period of time, you may find it becoming easier and more effortlessly. Reading is good, but reading out aloud even better. Do it on a tape recorder and critique yourself from time to time. Spend more time in English pubs. Leonardo DiCaprio in preparation for his movie "The Blood Diamond" perfected his local English accent by attending as many pub sessions as he could. During my last short holiday in London can now understand how easily it could rub off a person, so perhaps a novel way of practicing the language. Blogging in English could also be good for you. Your own private blog where you can write without critiquing yourself.
mcamargo
memorize 5 new words per day. I could do that for a year..
locoom
use word cards Smile u can find this at evry bookstore Smile in your country Smile
guissmo
Go to FreeRice.com and research on words you don't know.
You help yourself and help others live in the process.
Josso
ocalhoun wrote:
Well, simply read books. Lots of books, preferably difficult ones, and you'll pick up vocabulary without really even noticing it.


I second this, I don't particularly show it but my vocabulary is fairly good purely through reading a lot of books as a child.
fridaywarning
or, try having a "word of the day". pick one word that you don't know, and try to insert it into EVERY conversation you probably can. chances are, you'll end up using it in a weird and original way, and won't forget it. For example, to memorize the defenition of art:
"psht, you're so not art."
"was that supposed to be an insult?"
"of course. it means you're not beautiful, can't be interpreted, and weren't created by intent."
...burnnn"
Wink
_AVG_
Whenever you want to learn a new word, it doesn't stick in your head if you just learn the meaning. You must try using it somewhere repetitively. Only then will it stick in your head. So, try this method:
- Make a list of about 10-12 words you want to learn. Try writing a paragraph on anything that comes to your mind while using all these words.
- If you regularly write in a diary or journal every night or some thing, then use 5-6 new words in your diary everyday. That'll help.
- Another fun way of learning words would be playing games like Scrabble, Anagram but it only works if you enjoy those games and of course, you need to have someone to play them with who has a good vocabulary.
Joanne
For me, reading is the answer.
It doesnt really need for it to be fiction or whatever.
And what my mom taught me was, if I'm reading a book, I should have a dictionary beside me.
Why?
So that once I stumble upon a word with a meaning unknown to me, it's easy to grab the dictionary, look for the word and it's meaning, and walla!
Continue my reading.

See, that way, you widen your vocabulary by reading AND learning different words and its meaning.

Why not try it?
Wouldnt hurt, would it?

Very Happy Wink Wink
SBCBC33
Reading is great for this...of course.

I started listening to the Dennis Miller radio show two years ago and ever since, my vocabulary has increased immensely. Just picking up words and their appropriate context as I move along.
redslazers
jsarnold wrote:
First of all, you do not want to learn vocabulary fast.

You want to learn vocabulary quickly (the adverb which is required, rather than the adjective).

But, apart from being a pedantic old sod, my recommendation is also to read books - lots of them. Not all text books - a wide variety is better. Have a dictionary to hand, and look up words that are new to you. Try to use new words in your everyday conversation.

Write lots. If you write, you are putting into practice the words that you have learnt - sometimes without even realising it. You'll also stumble, and find yourself needing a word you don't know - so reach for a thesaurus perhaps.


love how this is a thread about learning vocab and someone goes and the corrects the grammar of someone else.

OH HAIL OUR GRAMMAR GOD jsarnold


edit: ok this post was slightly unnecessary but still
sajeebr
Yes vocabulary is very important and it makes us what we are. If you have good vocabulary power then you can be a very successful person.
Learning vocabulary can be fun and should be treated as such. Don't just make a list of 1000 words and read. Just start with the 5 words per day and you will be amazed to see your progress.
Idea
ptpmonitor
I think memorizing 5 words daily helps a lot to learn a vocabulary fast. But it seems your system is easier and with this we can learn 9 words daily which will help us to learn vocabulary 80% more quickly. And we know if our vocabulary collection build up nicely, our efficiency in the language will also increase at the same time.
nivinjoy
Of course to have a good vocabulary you have to read more and more books..!! Its just not reading books...While reading the books just note down the words which you feel are new to you and write down the meaning along with it..!! So you can later refer to them whenever needed...!!

Also you can learn new words from websites like www.dictionary.com ..The site has a huge collection of words and i feel they have meanings for all words in English...!!
BJMC
I find that i learn vocab easiest by listening to it in a humerous way, as the human mind remembers things that are amusing more easily apparently.
fullmetalalki
my old english teacher used to say that you should look up a word you don't know and then attempt to use it in normal conversation at least three times that day. That way, theres no chance of forgetting it.
latihan
I wrote 10 words everyday on card and ask my sister to hold it and I will tell her every word that I memorize.
kasper93
ther is one good way to learn new word read it over and over Smile
zbale
As you mentioned in your original post, numerous methods exist. I personally rate those that I've tried according to two criteria: fun and necessity.

If your goal is to learn vocabulary in general (i.e. not for a specific task or course or not a specific vocabulary such as the words and expressions to write critical commentary on books, etc.), then you should bank on fun, that is to say get maximum exposure to what you like reading, seeing or listening to. The choice of material is indeed not limited to books, and includes:

- books,
- magazines,
- newspapers,
- movies,
- TV series,
- audiobooks,
- podcasts,
- news broadcasts, etc.

Your choice will depend both on what you like and on the general direction you feel that you need to take as far as the vocabulary is concerned. For instance, if you are learning a foreign language and want to learn everyday conversational vocabulary, films and TV series are great. If you need to learn the vocabulary of world affairs, politics and economics, get a subscription to a magazine such as The Economist (or Time, Newsweek, etc. if you want an easier read) and stick to it. If you want to develop your literary vocabulary (e.g. big words like ramshackle, erudite, chimera, etc.), then you should focus on novels, possibly from the 19th Century, optionally accompanied by their audio versions if you want to make sure you get the pronunciation right (a number of audio recordings of books can be found for free, perfectly legally, on the web; you can start with the Gutenberg project).

Important note: Contrary to what is often believed, exposure is not enough. The single greatest principle of vocabulary learning is repetition. If you want to make progress, with movies for instance, watch the same movie twice (or even more if you like) with only a few days interval (just try, you will be amazed how the dialogs, expressions, etc. become available to you). Same thing with articles, etc. Also, (and I know this part sucks), if you're in for literary vocabulary, you may need to look up words in the dictionary. The good news is that today, online dictionaries can help you save a lot of time.

If you need to acquire a specific vocabulary, for instance because you need to write essays in political science or because your exam will be based on a literary text (and you're afraid to miss the point on account of poor vocabulary), then the best way is to make lists and rehearse them (which is a different kind of repetition). The best way I know to make list is to make them by subjects rather than by parts of speech (e.g. everything that has to do with this subject on one page, etc., not all adjectives on one page, etc.). A good way to rehearse alone is to hide one part of the page (for instance the words, or the definitions) and guess from the part you can see (alternatively, you might ask somebody to feed you the words or the definitions or synonyms and your job is to provide the answer). Also, a great way to learn vocabulary is to make up a sentence for each word.

Good luck!
pelatros
I use imagery for really tricky words or phrases no matter how ridiculous the link. Like the word in French for pocket is 'poche' so I just think of pulling a bright red Porsche out of my pocket to showoff to my friends. Even though they aren't spelt or said exactly the same, the link is enough for me to recall how poche is spelt and said. Learning english vocab would work the same.

If it is spelling that you are after, try visualising the word in really bright, moving cartoonish letters. This is how I've learned to remember phone numbers (which I was really crap at before). Saying it in a silly voice while you're spelling it mentally could help (really helps me thinking things in cartoonish ways - really helps me remember people's names and faces!).

And, of course, just write out the word in lots of different sentences to make it stick
shadowfibby
i read a book each week and still scrape b's in my school report Very Happy
guissmo
Quote:
cat
--- fog
------ tower
--------- lake
------------ pencil
----- --- monster
------ train
--- dog
ice


I don't get how this method works. It looks interesting though.

Yeah, I have a hard time memorizing words. I recently took a foreign language class and found it difficult not because of the new grammar but because of the new words it had.
zbale
pelatros wrote:
I use imagery for really tricky words or phrases no matter how ridiculous the link. Like the word in French for pocket is 'poche' so I just think of pulling a bright red Porsche out of my pocket to showoff to my friends. Even though they aren't spelt or said exactly the same, the link is enough for me to recall how poche is spelt and said. Learning english vocab would work the same.

If it is spelling that you are after, try visualising the word in really bright, moving cartoonish letters. This is how I've learned to remember phone numbers (which I was really crap at before). Saying it in a silly voice while you're spelling it mentally could help (really helps me thinking things in cartoonish ways - really helps me remember people's names and faces!).

And, of course, just write out the word in lots of different sentences to make it stick


Yep, these are the basics and they are all good, proven tricks.
deanhills
zbale wrote:
Yep, these are the basics and they are all good, proven tricks.
Drilling and repetition of the basics in grammar and vocabularly have been helpful for me in learning German. As well as reading exercises, with interesting reading especially reading that captures the imagination and make you look forward to more. I find it also helpful to watch movies. The more German movies I watched, the better it got.
guissmo
Yeah. There are also a lot of TV shows uploaded in YouTube, you can probably watch those too.
tony
I like to listen to music in a different language. Here's a good way to find what's avalaible, just go to the page below (substituting your language name) and let last.fm find music (some of it for free) for you,

http://last.fm/tag/(language name)

Also, if you're on linux, you're welcome to use my "Yellowcot" package which is a free 64-bit open source flash card emulator. It's pretty easy to use and if you have questions, you're welcome to message me as I wrote the app Smile
tukun2009manit
Bonifacy wrote:
I heard about few quite interesting methods about learning vocabulary if you learn foreign language and one of them is told to be very effective. The point is to wrtire down words you want to learn in a specific and quite unusual order. Like this:

cat
--- fog
------ tower
--------- lake
------------ pencil
----- --- monster
------ train
--- dog
ice

the thing that makes you able to remember them in short period of time is you focus on a word itself and on the place among the rest from the list. Tahnks to that you learn more and faster.

Maybe you know any other ,quite oryginal method of learning vocab



word power made easy book is an excellent book to improve once vocabulary
Guelila
growing up, ive always heard people saying that using flashcards is a good method for improving one's vocabulary. Until just recently, I have never tried using flashcards, but a few days ago I bought avacabulary book from the Princeton Review and it had flashcards attached to the back Shocked
So I said why not and decided to give them a try, and I must say that they really help me a lot in improving my vocabulary Very Happy

So I recommend that everyone try out some flashcards if you are seeking to improve your vocabulary.
Guelila
growing up, ive always heard people saying that using flashcards is a good method for improving one's vocabulary. Until just recently, I have never tried using flashcards, but a few days ago I bought avacabulary book from the Princeton Review and it had flashcards attached to the back Shocked
So I said why not and decided to give them a try, and I must say that they really help me a lot in improving my vocabulary Very Happy

So I recommend that everyone try out some flashcards if you are seeking to improve your vocabulary.
bukaida
The best way (perhaps) is to find a person whose native language is the language which you want to learn. Then have a 10-15 min session with him daily. This will help you to have a grip on that language very quickly. However if you want to become an expert in that language, then you need a deep theoritical study also.
Crinoid
Full immersion in environment using exclusively this language, using it very actively, in the targeted environment and social layer.
The questing is where to find it and how to afford it Laughing .
lovescience
Try to memorize vocabulary with picture and sound,

http://www.languageguide.org/english/
emanuel2
yes to read books and look words you dont understand, is quite a good way to learn them.
yagnyavalkya
Flash cards a are a good option
It has a lot of advantages
Gregoric
Very useful thread! Thanks for all the ideas, I'am going to use them as unfortunately learning new vocabulary is pretty hard for me. Especially now when I am studying English and Arabic and I have to learn advanced English words and basic Arabic ones; that is very hard to do at the same time and takes a lot of time... Anyway, thank you for those posts!
codegeek
I have found reading a lot of books to be the best way to build up one's vocabulary as well as grammar slowly but steadily. In addition to that, you may want to make a habit of learning at least one word daily, and using these words in your written work.
likeabreeze
no, no need to do this.
Just post at Frihost to express yourself, look up dictionaries when necessary..
testsoc
The best way I have found so far is LingQ. It is based on the principle that you save hints (or translations, or whatever you like) to any word you see in any text (there are thousands of high quality texts with recordings). Then, wherever you meet that word again (in any text), the hint is still attached to it.
freefri
reading helps.
but agreew with this.
Quote:
Drilling exercises in grammar could be helpful. If you do the drilling along the lines of "I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are you are they are". For all the different tenses. On a daily basis over a period of time, you may find it becoming easier and more effortlessly. Reading is good, but reading out aloud even better. Do it on a tape recorder and critique yourself from time to time. Spend more time in English pubs. Leonardo DiCaprio in preparation for his movie "The Blood Diamond" perfected his local English accent by attending as many pub sessions as he could. During my last short holiday in London can now understand how easily it could rub off a person, so perhaps a novel way of practicing the language. Blogging in English could also be good for you. Your own private blog where you can write without critiquing yourself.
johans
ocalhoun wrote:
Well, simply read books. Lots of books, preferably difficult ones, and you'll pick up vocabulary without really even noticing it.


you can use thesaurus on your Microsoft office.
picasaz
jsarnold wrote:
First of all, you do not want to learn vocabulary fast.

You want to learn vocabulary quickly (the adverb which is required, rather than the adjective).

But, apart from being a pedantic old sod, my recommendation is also to read books - lots of them. Not all text books - a wide variety is better. Have a dictionary to hand, and look up words that are new to you. Try to use new words in your everyday conversation.

Write lots. If you write, you are putting into practice the words that you have learnt - sometimes without even realising it. You'll also stumble, and find yourself needing a word you don't know - so reach for a thesaurus perhaps.


Agree with your tips. Writing is the best way of learning and memorizing quickly. Not only that you can do it all by yourself and can be teacher of yourself. Thank you for sharing these tips.
BlankODE
thank you for the tips Smile really usefull
andro_king
Bonifacy wrote:
I heard about few quite interesting methods about learning vocabulary if you learn foreign language and one of them is told to be very effective. The point is to wrtire down words you want to learn in a specific and quite unusual order. Like this:

cat
--- fog
------ tower
--------- lake
------------ pencil
----- --- monster
------ train
--- dog
ice

the thing that makes you able to remember them in short period of time is you focus on a word itself and on the place among the rest from the list. Tahnks to that you learn more and faster.

Maybe you know any other ,quite oryginal method of learning vocab


Try to learn them through watching movies and listening to musics.. Read newspaper to learn the vocabulary.
dientm
thank for sharing
cabenqc
For sure, get a native speaking Boy Friend or Girl Friend.
Laughing
mshafiq
With reading daily the vocabulary will be very high. specially reading news paper and also listing world new is also very important.
tanita_9
Bonifacy wrote:
I heard about few quite interesting methods about learning vocabulary if you learn foreign language and one of them is told to be very effective. The point is to wrtire down words you want to learn in a specific and quite unusual order. Like this:

cat
--- fog
------ tower
--------- lake
------------ pencil
----- --- monster
------ train
--- dog
ice

the thing that makes you able to remember them in short period of time is you focus on a word itself and on the place among the rest from the list. Tahnks to that you learn more and faster.

Maybe you know any other ,quite oryginal method of learning vocab



first: fast is both an adjective and an adverb so you used it correctly.

second: in my opinion if you are preparing for a test, one of the best ways to extend your vocabulary is to use a vocabulary book along with its flash cards. The book should contain word definition, synonyms, and word usage in context as well as some exercises.
the flashcard should be used after the word is learned in the context to make sure it sticks in your mind.

there are many flash card apps for smart phones that make if possible to have the flashcards everywhere on you.

depending on what the current level of your vocabulary is, there are a lot of great books available.

if you are not working toward a test, and you don't have a specific set of words you need to learn, reading a lot of fiction books is the good way to go.

try to use the words you learn in your writing and conversation.
Zoey141
I find flashcards super useful. Words on one side and the meaning/definition on the other side. I used to make cards out of paper before but now I create them online on Cram. If I need hard copies, I download the cards and print them out.

You can also check out some cool mobile apps. Just Google and you'll find dozens of free apps!

Hope this helps.
jestoy0514
I think flash cards it quite effective. Just like when we are studying japanese language, flash card is indeed very useful.
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