How to Expand and Recall Your Vocabulary When Studying a New Language

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Vocabulary is one of the most essential components of any language. While grammar is nice to know, the knowledge of what sequence to put those names, feelings, and concepts will do you little good if you do not know how to speak or write those things in that language. This article intends to highlight some suggestions and advice on improving upon your vocabulary and also better retaining the vocabulary you pick up.

Active Engagement is Best

When you set out to learn a new language, either as a hobby or as a means of advancing your viability in the marketplace, you will likely take every opportunity to use that language. By focusing on active vocabulary instead of passive vocabulary when learning a new language, you are better able to retain the words you learn. Especially if you can engage in a spoken conversation with another speaker.

Passive Learning

Passive learning is the form of education that many are familiar with from most classes in public school beyond languages courses. Passive learning involves studying your textbook, writing out answers in your homework and tests, and so on. It is dry, uninvolved and slow to take root. As foreign language courses are a standard element of most school curriculum beyond grade school, try and remember how much vocabulary and grammar you can actually recall from those language courses. Unless you took a language course you regularly use, chances are that you only remember a handful of words and phrases. And that’s likely just because the teacher incorporated some active components in their lesson plan.

Active Learning

Active learning directly involves the student. Having a conversation is one of the quickest ways to grasp a language’s vocabulary. A side benefit of learning from fluent speakers is that it gives you opportunities to learn regional dialects, as well as how certain terms taught passively are used to address specific examples or versions of that term’s definition. In short, you gain context with your vocabulary. One reason why active learning is better retained is that usage settles into the part of your brain governing life experiences. You fondly remember having a conversation, so you can better recall the vocabulary words you practiced and learned. In short, its okay if you want to learn a language from textbooks and software, they still are quite helpful with exercising your visual memory (like with character-based languages), but the best way to broaden your vocabulary is to actively learn and apply it in multiple aspects of your life. Learning is more than simply studying. It also has a lot to do with your state of mind and energy. All in all, there are a lot of ways to learn a language, and active learning will definitely help you to hit the ground running if you’re a traveler.

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