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7 Tips on How to Learn Vocabulary from a Foreign Language Effectively

Having trouble learning another language? While the process of learning a foreign language can be extremely difficult, learning vocabulary is a great method to kickstart your language learning process. This article will cover some tips on building vocabulary in the language you want to learn, but make sure you supplement this with learning grammar and speaking!

1. Learn prefixes and suffixes

Most languages have prefixes and suffixes that are applied to many words. If you learn what each prefix and suffix means, it will be a much easier journey in the future remembering the English translation of the vocabulary word you are studying, as well as for other words which have the prefix or suffix.

2. Create example sentences

If you truly want to know about a vocabulary word, you need to understand how it’s used in the language. Try creating example sentences that use the particular vocabulary word you are studying and see if the sentence makes logical sense. Not only will it make it easier to remember the vocabulary word after, but you will also know the context you need to place the word when speaking or writing. Additionally, you can search on the web of native speakers using the vocabulary word in sentences to better understand the word.

3. Flashcards

Flashcards are known to be one of the best learning-based tools. As such, these benefits apply when learning a new language’s vocabulary through flashcards. On one side of the card, write the vocabulary word of the foreign language; on the other side, write the English equivalent(s). The reason why flashcards are a great method to learn vocabulary is that they enforce active recall. How? When reading flashcards, you look at one side of the flashcard and try to guess in your mind what the equivalent word is. This enforces the idea known as active recall; you have to think in your mind on a possible answer, and as such your brain can place this information into your long-term memory. 
If you don’t want to make flashcards on paper, you can always find flashcard apps or websites. Some examples include Quizlet, Memrise (this one is specific to language learning), and Anki. In fact, you can find pre-made vocabulary lists on these sites, meaning there is no time wasted on creating your own!

4. Separate the words in different groups

Learning a bunch of random vocabulary in a language is extremely difficult. Instead, create vocabulary lists of different themes within said language. For example, make a vocabulary list for vocabulary words related to the beach. This makes learning the vocabulary word much easier as compared to learning vocabulary words at random.

5. Find synonyms

Trying to learn a vocabulary word is much easier if you know a few synonyms for this word. Additionally, there might be a circumstance that you forget the particular vocabulary word when you’re speaking; and in those circumstances, you can easily recollect the synonym you learned for it and apply it there! It’s a win-win situation.

6. Speak it!

Just speaking the word over and over again can help with internally learning the vocabulary word. Not only that, it can improve your pronunciation of the word to make you more fluent in the language! Combine this step with step 2 to better prepare yourself for speaking the language. Aside from practicing your pronunciation by yourself, find a friend or family member to practice with! Setting aside time to practically speak in the language will give you the opportunity to apply your theoretical knowledge, sharpen your conversational skills, and develop your quick thinking.

7. Try visual aids

When dealing with a vocabulary word you just can’t seem to memorise, try to draw (whether on paper or in your head) the particular thing or action which happens with the particular phrase. Through this, your mind will make cues; when you see this vocabulary elsewhere, ultimately your mind will associate the vocabulary word with the picture.

Learning languages can be extremely taxing; as such it’s important to take regular breaks when studying to ensure your mind can recuperate. However, once these steps are taken into action, you can rest assured be able to memorize your vocabulary list in a jiffy!


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