Probably the most common question that we get from our students at KSTVS is “Is there a quick and easy way to learn a language?” While the answer is rather “no” than “yes”, there are definitely a lot of techniques you can use to facilitate and maximise your learning experience.
Have you looked at our list of language learning tips yet?
We would like to share a couple of other pieces of advice which you might find helpful to memorize new vocabulary and then efficiently use it.
Apply various types of memory
Some people need to hear a word to memorise it, others have to see or write it before they can remember it. It is good to know which type of memory is working best for you, but if you use visual, auditory and kinaesthetic types of memory all together, that will definitely give a boost to your learning.
All our courses are designed to be relevant to a large number of people. However, we all have different needs and purposes, and once in a while some students ask: “Why are we learning this word? It’s not something I’d use every day”. On the one hand, this remark seems quite fair. On the other hand, however, think of an episode when you stumbled trying to express yourself. Was it a word like “bus”, “restaurant” or “paper” that you so desperately lacked? Or something that goes beyond the beginner level, like “achieve”, “flea” or “thoroughly”?
Large vocabulary is one of the attributes of a fluent language speaker, and if you want to become one, embrace the idea that there are (almost) no useless words. You never know, who you might have to speak to and what about, so why not be open to all chances and be prepared?
So, what can you do to retain a word which you are not likely to use right after the class or even a week later?
Think, how this word refers to you personally, what it stands for in your personal reality. Imagine a situation in which you could apply this word. Literally, picture it to yourself, think how and who you would say it to. For example, if you have learned the word “chubby”, think of a baby you smiled at yesterday, or a person you know who has got chubby cheeks. Imagine, you are describing them to a foreign friend, make up a sentence, say it to yourself a few times. Make it meaningful to you.
Meaning vs. Translation
In general, there is nothing wrong with translating new vocabulary, but very often students waste a lot of time trying to translate a new word or phrase into their first language instead of getting the idea of it. The sooner you will get into the habit of linking a word directly to an object or an idea rather than to a translation, the easier it will become to understand new words, seize the meaning from the context and enlarge your vocabulary more efficiently.
It is natural for people to think in their native language. The problem is that when you easily and quickly build a long and complex sentence in your first language and then try to translate it into the language you are learning, you very often find yourself lacking words and constructions. Again, if you get used to avoiding translation whenever it is possible, it will save you a lot of time and effort. But even if it seems impossible to you so far, make your sentences simpler. Adjust your inner native language voice to the level of your second language. Replace the unknown words with the ones you already know. You will find out that you can say much more than you thought you could.
Practice makes perfect
Practice is the most important thing when mastering any skill. Get out of the classroom, speak to people and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Watch movies and TV shows, listen to podcasts, read books or blogs in the language you are learning. All these small things together will make a big difference!
Have you ever used any of the tips above? Do you find them helpful? Do you have any other tricks up your sleeve? Feel free to share your experience in the comments.