In this post, I will go over some helpful techniques to use on your path to improving your vocabulary level. These methods and strategies work and they are what should use for me to learn more than 3000 words in 2 months (which is pretty decent progress). Luckily, all the methods discussed here don’t require any financial investment (like premium vocabulary courses you can find online) and they are free.
At first, some of these methods might seem hard or not worth your time but once you start using them you will realize just how helpful they are. First of all, let me go over the basics (just for those who don’t know what vocabulary is).
What is vocabulary?
Vocabulary is very simply put, all of the words you know. The more words you learn, the better your vocabulary becomes. It’s as simple as that. But… if it was that easy everyone would have a million word+ vocabulary, right? Wrong!
You see, for some people learning new words is so effortless that they don’t even realize they are doing it. For them, all it takes to learn a new word is just reading an interesting article about something they like and the next thing you know they have added 10 more words to their vocabulary. But… for some people this is not the case, instead, it takes them months to learn one new word. Don’t be that person!
Don’t let yourself get discouraged by my terrible drawing of a bird 😉 And don’t let the language learning process discourage you either! It’s hard work but very rewarding in the end. So what are you waiting for? Start using these helpful techniques and you will see that the process gets easier over time.
Varieties of methods
Varieties of methods to use to learn vocabulary
1- Reading: This is the most common method, almost everyone who has ever wanted to learn a new language started with reading material (I did). Be it novels, articles, or just words you learn through context.
2- Reading + Listening (shadowing): This is one of the most powerful methods you can use to increase your vocabulary. The idea is simple but extremely helpful, you read or listen to something while at the same time saying the words out loud (or in your mind if it’s audio only).
3- Sentences: Another very common method used by people learning a new language is using original sentences. You can do this in many different ways, one of them being translating the sentence from your native language into the target language and then writing it down.
4- Flashcards: One classic method which is still very useful today. There are tons of flashcard applications online which you can use to make your flashcards or just download ones that other people have already made. But… keep in mind that making your flashcards is the most effective method (in my opinion).
5- Spaced repetition: This is not a separate method but more like some vocabulary “supplements”. Some (free) applications allow you to use spaced repetition and they come in very handy when learning new words.
6- Language exchanges: They are great to meet people who speak the target language and then practice with them. You can do it in many different ways, e.g. by using tools such as Hello Talk (which also has an app) or iTalki.
7- Duolingo: This is a free language learning application with tons of vocabulary lessons for many different languages. I don’t use it but some people might find this helpful.
8- Memrise: It’s another popular language learning application that has some good vocabulary courses as well. However, it’s not my cup of tea but you might find it helpful.
9- Native content: This is content that was created by native speakers or for native speakers. You can find thousands of these lessons on YouTube, most are very useful and quite good quality.
10- News websites: There are some really good news websites out there that are quite helpful for learning new words. Some of them can even teach you about grammar points but most of the time they only focus on vocabulary.
11- Blogs: There are some blogs out there that have a large amount of high-quality content and people tend to share them with others. One example is FluentU which has a lot of short video lessons which are extremely helpful.
12- Audio courses: These are courses for beginners mostly because the vocabulary used in them is simple to understand and doesn’t require much prior knowledge. I have checked out a few different ones but most of them are not very good quality.
“If you want to get better at speaking English, you need to learn new words. How do you do that? Here are three important tips.”
1) Read a lot of books in English
2) Watch movies in English
3) Listen to music and talk with native speakers
“First, read a lot of books in English. You’ll automatically see new words and learn their meaning. Reading a dozen books every month is a good beginning.”
“Second, watch movies in English. Many people think that watching movies in another language is difficult. But it’s not as hard as you might think—the important thing is that you enjoy it.”
“Third, listen to music and talk with native speakers. Listening to the radio is a great way to hear natural English. And talking with someone can help you use new words.”