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New Vocabulary: Tips and Tricks

Whether you're learning Spanish, French, English, or even new science or social studies vocabulary, developing vocabulary is the key to a world of new conversations. When approaching a new set of vocabulary, different techniques work for different kinds of learning. Watching movies, listening to music, and interacting with people in the new language are fun and effective means of immersion. When you hear unfamiliar terms, sound them out and jot them down to look up later. When preparing for a test or working with a textbook, a systematic approach can help reinforce and practice new terms. With a new set of thirty words from a textbook chapter, follow these four easy steps to quickly learn up to thirty terms in one sitting:

1. Make a list of new words in the target language.

2. Attempt to translate them on the same line in a second column, using cognates as clues to recall the term in your native language.

3. After attempting to translate all the vocabulary, use a dictionary or textbook to fill in the gaps from what you don't know.

4. Finally, fold the paper so the original list is hidden and all that's visible is the list in your native language. Make your best attempt to fill in the new vocabulary in the target language, and repeat step 3 to check for errors in spelling and gaps in memory.

As an additional study tool, you now have an easy review list to look at after a little time lapses so you can commit terms from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. If you mark the ones you miss, or fill in your missing answers with another color, then there is an obvious visual clue to help you recognize phrases that need additional review.

Good luck! Bonne chance! ¬°Buenas suerte!

Comments

Hi Claire! Great post! This really does work--I used a similar method all throughout my Spanish high school classes (which were pretty vocab-intensive). I usually even found this more effective than flash cards. Thanks for sharing with our community! -Lana
Hi Claire! Great post! This really does work--I used a similar method all throughout my Spanish high school classes (which were pretty vocab-intensive). I usually even found this more effective than flash cards. Thanks for sharing with our community! -Lana
Thanks, Sarah! As an important note, it's best to have time to review new vocab over several days, going over missed words additional times for reinforcement, even as you start on your next new list. Good luck to you, and feel free to let me know how it works for you!
Thanks, Lana! I'm glad you've also found this a useful tool. Any other ideas you'd like to share?

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Claire P.

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