10 Ways to Build Your Vocabulary in a Foreign Language

  • 20,654 views
Uploaded on

While without grammar little can be conveyed, without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed. …

While without grammar little can be conveyed, without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed.
- David Wilkins, British linguist

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
No Downloads

Views

Total Views
20,654
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
35

Actions

Shares
Downloads
372
Comments
2
Likes
211

Embeds 0

No embeds

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
    No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. WAYS TO BUILD YOUR VOCABULARY IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE 10 Image © Chris-Håvard Berge | Flickr
  • 2. While without grammar little can be conveyed, without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed. - David Wilkins, British linguist “ ”
  • 3. There is a long held assumption that grammar is more important than vocabulary when learning a new language.
  • 4. But linguistic research has demonstrated that vocabulary is actually more fundamental than grammar. (Barcroft, 2004; Lewis, 2002; Wilkins, 1972)
  • 5. Author Keith Folse knew the perfect Japanese structure to ask: “Excuse me, where is the ____?”
  • 6. Author Keith Folse knew the perfect Japanese structure to ask: “Excuse me, where is the ____?” What he didn’t know was the word for flour. Image © David Pacey | Flickr
  • 7. Author Keith Folse knew the perfect Japanese structure to ask: “Excuse me, where is the ____?” What he didn’t know was the word for flour. Image © David Pacey | Flickr After consulting a Japanese friend for the translation, what he actually ended up with was the word for flower. Image © Swaminathan | Flickr
  • 8. Sometimes, one word can make all the difference.
  • 9. So, how can you build your vocabulary in a foreign language? What resources do you need? What’s the best way to memorize it? We have a few suggestions! Image © Jennifer Steen Booher | Flickr
  • 10. Use Language-Learning Software 1
  • 11. Language-learning software can be a very effective vocabulary builder, especially for beginners! Image © Jeff Geerling | Flickr
  • 12. Image © phip_s | Flickr Put down the index cards. Most software programs come with hundreds of common words and phrases, so you can spend less time making flashcards and spend more time actually learning.
  • 13. If you’re in search of a program, sign up for a free trial of Transparent Language Online, which presents thousands of vocabulary words in a suite of interactive activities that will help you learn them quicker and retain them longer.
  • 14. If you’re in search of a program, sign up for a free trial of Transparent Language Online, which presents thousands of vocabulary words in a suite of interactive activities that will help you learn them quicker and retain them longer. (Pitch over, we swear!)
  • 15. Study Cognates & False Cognates 2
  • 16. Chances are, you already know dozens (if not hundreds or more!) of words in your new language, but you just don’t realize it.
  • 17. Chances are, you already know dozens (if not hundreds or more!) of words in your new language, but you just don’t realize it. HOW?
  • 18. Chances are, you already know dozens (if not hundreds or more!) of words in your new language, but you just don’t realize it. HOW? They’re called cognates.
  • 19. Cognates are words with the same etymological origin, AKA they sound the same (or very similar) in both languages. Image © Doblonaut | Flickr
  • 20. Cognates are words with the same etymological origin, AKA they sound the same (or very similar) in both languages. Recognize any words on this Spanish sign? Image © Doblonaut | Flickr
  • 21. Take time to memorize the cognates in the language you’re learning. A Google search for “[language]-English cognates” should lead you in the right direction.
  • 22. Beware, though! You should also search for and memorize false cognates, or words that sound the same but actually have very different meanings.
  • 23. Beware, though! You should also search for and memorize false cognates, or words that sound the same but actually have very different meanings. In Spanish, for example, embarazada does not mean embarrassed… it means pregnant! Now that mix up could be embarrassing! Image © clappstar | flickr
  • 24. Study Synonym Pairs 3
  • 25. Cognates are extremely easy to memorize. But if you’re beyond the beginner level, you probably know most of them. What’s next?
  • 26. Cognates are extremely easy to memorize. But if you’re beyond the beginner level, you probably know most of them. What’s next? Synonyms and antonyms!
  • 27. Learning synonyms may seem like duplicated effort. If you know the word for “funny,” you should be all set, right? Image © Don LaVange | Flickr
  • 28. Learning synonyms may seem like duplicated effort. If you know the word for “funny,” you should be all set, right? Image © Don LaVange | Flickr But what if someone tells you: That was… hilarious amusing entertaining silly hysterical ?
  • 29. When you learn a new word, use a thesaurus to discover its synonyms. This practice will increase your understanding of the word and add variety to your vocabulary. Image © mrd00dman | Flickr
  • 30. Study Prefixes & Suffixes 4
  • 31. Another trick to significantly expand your vocabulary is to study common prefixes and suffixes in the target language.
  • 32. For example, if you know the Spanish prefix “con” (with) and the verb “vivir” (to live), deciphering the new verb “convivir” (to live together) becomes a lot easier. Image © Brent and Amanda I | Flickr
  • 33. Each prefix and suffix you learn opens the door to hundreds of new words, yielding a huge return on your investment in your vocabulary.
  • 34. Read, Read, & Read Some More 5
  • 35. The more you read, the more vocabulary you’ll be exposed to. Read actively, not passively, to absorb as many new words as possible. Image © Shutterhacks | Flickr
  • 36. The more you read, the more vocabulary you’ll be exposed to. Read actively, not passively, to absorb as many new words as possible. Image © Shutterhacks | Flickr Don’t rush.
  • 37. The more you read, the more vocabulary you’ll be exposed to. Read actively, not passively, to absorb as many new words as possible. Image © Shutterhacks | Flickr Don’t rush. Highlight unfamiliar words and look them up in a dictionary.
  • 38. The more you read, the more vocabulary you’ll be exposed to. Read actively, not passively, to absorb as many new words as possible. Image © Shutterhacks | Flickr Don’t rush. Highlight unfamiliar words and look them up in a dictionary. Revisit the word in the context of the sentence.
  • 39. Read a variety of materials, from short stories and novels to newspapers and blogs, to acquire vocabulary at varying levels of difficulty and a wide range of topics. Image © Ol.v!er[H2vPk] | Flickr
  • 40. Separate your leisurely reading from your active, vocabulary-building reading. Image © Chad Kainz | Flickr
  • 41. Separate your leisurely reading from your active, vocabulary-building reading. When reading to boost your vocab, limit yourself. Stick to just a few pages of a novel, one news story, one magazine article, etc. and really take your time. Image © Chad Kainz | Flickr
  • 42. Keep a Journal in the Target Language 6
  • 43. Keeping a journal in your target language is the perfect way to find words you didn’t even know that you didn’t know. (What a mouthful!) Image © Walt Stoneburner | Flickr
  • 44. Take a few minutes to write about your day. Want to mention something you did or experienced, but don’t know how? That’s probably a word you’ll want to know in the future, so look it up! Image © Refracted Moments | Flickr
  • 45. Image © photosteve101 | Flickr Highlight the new words in each entry. At the end of the week, flip through your old entries and review these new words to keep them fresh in your memory.
  • 46. Investigate Word Origins 7
  • 47. If you struggle less with finding new vocabulary and more with just remembering it, try your hand at a little etymology! Image © Trish Hartmann | Flickr
  • 48. It may help to associate a new vocabulary word with its origins. Image © William Warby | Flickr For example, the English word “hippopotamus” is derived from the Greek words “ippos” (horse) and “potamas” (river).
  • 49. It may help to associate a new vocabulary word with its origins. Image © William Warby | Flickr For example, the English word “hippopotamus” is derived from the Greek words “ippos” (horse) and “potamas” (river). Associating “hippopotamus” with “river horse” gives you a strong visual, and may help you recall the word more easily.
  • 50. Looking up the origins or literal meanings of words and expressions will paint a mental picture that you can look back on, rather than just relying on rote memorization.
  • 51. Follow Native Speakers on Twitter 8
  • 52. Looking for slang, idioms, informal expressions, abbreviations, and all of that juicy stuff you’ll never find in a dictionary?
  • 53. Looking for slang, idioms, informal expressions, abbreviations, and all of that juicy stuff you’ll never find in a dictionary? Check Twitter!
  • 54. Follow politicians, athletes, musicians, actors, or everyday native speakers of your target language and see what they’re saying. Look up unfamiliar words, or expressions that don’t quite make sense. Image © Adam Fagen | Flickr
  • 55. For example, the Portuguese expression “Escrevo o que eu tô te falando.” literally means “Write down what I’m telling you.” That’s a little strange, right? If you look it up, you’ll find that it’s actually used to say “Mark my words.”
  • 56. Watching and interacting with native speakers on an informal platform like Twitter will give your vocabulary a much-needed boost in the colloquial department.
  • 57. Learn a “Word of the Day” 9
  • 58. Use a word-a-day calendar or online Word of the Day service to learn one new word each day!
  • 59. Transparent Language offers Word of the Day services in 25 different languages, so you can discover a unique word each day!
  • 60. Listen to Music 10
  • 61. Similar to how exploring word origins helps you build vocabulary by providing strong mental images, listening to music gives you something memorable to associate with a new word.
  • 62. Have you ever noticed your brain’s seemingly endless capacity for song lyrics? Think of how many songs you have memorized in there! Image © Roadsidepictures | Flickr
  • 63. Search YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, last.fm, etc. for music you enjoy in your target language and look up the lyrics. Image © eldeeem | Flickr
  • 64. Pick one song at a time, and look up all of the unfamiliar vocabulary in the lyrics. With enough listens, those new words and phrases will be engrained in your mind, just like your favorite songs in your native language.
  • 65. Vocabulary building should be a goal for language learners of all levels. The greater your vocabulary in a language, the better you will understand others and express yourself. Use these tips to get started, and never stop acquiring new vocabulary!
  • 66. Ready to build your vocabulary? Sign up for a free trial of Transparent Language Online and start learning thousands of new vocabulary words and phrases in 90+ languages! GET MY FREE TRIAL NOW!