5 Tips To Improve Your Foreign Language Vocabulary

How To Improve Your Foreign Language Vocabulary

Learning a new language can be difficult; after all you’re learning a whole new sentence structure, word pronunciation and new words for everything in general. Even if you’re at a higher level of language knowledge, there is always room for improvement, and one of these ways is to increase your vocabulary. Here are a few sure-fire ways to increase your vocabulary in your alternative language.

1. Mnemonics
This fancy word (pronounced: new-mon-iks) refers to a memory device that helps learners recall pieces of information. For example, if you are trying to remember a variety of vocabulary that have a common theme (i.e. household chores, cooking, etc.) it can be easier to create an acronym using the first letter of each word to create a more memorable one. An often used mnemonic device that may be familiar to French learners, is the DR MRS VANDERTRAMP acronym which helps learners remember which verbs take on the verb être when being conjugated into the passé compose. Another mnemonic device that can be used to help you remember is to create a catchy tune.

2. Word Associations
When trying to remember a word, attempt to make word connections to your first language. For example, if you’re trying to learn the word jurer in French (translation = to swear) you may remind yourself that the juror in a courthouse must swear to tell the truth. Finding connections like this will help you to recall the word you need at a later time.

3. Cognates
Cognates are words that share similarities between another language, and often sound the same but are spelled differently. An example of this is the word chocolat in French. Not only does this word sound like chocolate it means the same thing, only it is spelled differently. By looking for cognates you will realize how many similarities there are between the languages.

4. Repetition
Repeat, repeat, repeat the word as many times as it is necessary for you to remember it. Repetition goes hand-in-hand with variety – the last tip on how to improve your vocabulary.

5. Variety
Apply your new vocabulary to a variety of new situations to ensure you get maximum memorization. Use the new words in sentences, verbally and in written form. You can also use pictures to help you associate the word with a person, place or thing. Also, listen to the word used by other people to ensure that not only can you use it in a sentence, but understand it being used by another person. If you learn your new vocabulary in context, you have a better chance of remembering each new word.