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Learn Vocabulary - English Study Guide

Updated on August 6, 2009

A recent questions session on Hubpages asked "How do I learn Vocabulary". Well as I am in the process of learning Italian I thought why not pass on some tips, tricks and processes I use.

Learning any language is complicated enough but the best advise I can give is vocabulary is key. If you can't remember a particular tense, structure or grammar do not worry. If you have sufficient words in your language arsenal you will over come any problems. The more words you know the easier it is to try another. Even if your first attempt results in a blank stare.

Today in the Chemist I was trying to get some tablets for cystitis, not a pleasant condition or topic of conversation granted but illustrates my point perfectly. My requests for "something for a water infection" bought about comments relating to purifying wells. At this point I realised I needed some new words. Luckily I was able to discuss irritation, bathrooms and urine ,....hooragh result achieve. Plus the 10 other women in the Chemist had a story about the strange foreigner in the store again.

How to build your vocab

The key to increasing your vocabulary, is to regularly build up lists of related words. This makes it easier to remember as they all interlink and have a common purpose.

List 10 words each day and repeat them whilst shopping, on the bus, at the traffic lights or my favourite, to the dog, whilst walking. Each morning I try and get 10 new words, like things in the countryside, (hill, river, meadow) ten animals, parts of the body. It is easier if there is some connection with your days activities. So if you are shopping perhaps ten vegetables or ten types of stores.

While you look up the days list, read over yesterdays list as a reminder, a quick recap. It is important to write them down so as you can visualise the word in your head, I find this helps fix it in my mind. Say it out loud as well makes sure you remember it. At the end of each week have a quick review of all the words and test yourself. All this doesn't take too long, normally about 10 minutes, over breakfast.

If you do this every week day, then every month you will have 200 new words. Before too long you and the dog will be fluent. The second thing about learning a language is fear of making mistakes. Don't worry even native speakers massacre their own language at times.



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    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 7 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Thank you Shades, you description of speaking Spanish describes my every waking day. But it is true that people love that you try and speak and I know I am a constant source of amusement with my sentence structures. My latest vocabulary building trick is comics, I have found some wonderful Italian comics that are fun to read and constantly give you new words and sentence structures.

      Thanks for reading my piece.

    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 7 years ago from California

      This is a delightful hub. Acquiring vocabulary is an effort that you have to decide matters. I'm an English speaker and I still try to acquire English words. Learning a new language it is much more important. My Spanish is horrific, but you are quite right about having enough vocabulary and being able to find SOMETHING that works. We went to Mexico a few years back and I got some really, really strange looks from folks, but they were kind and patient and if I kept throwing words at them, they were willing to put in the effort to figure out WTF I was talking about. I actually make a few friends that way. Frankly, I think they just liked the fact that an American actually made the effort to commit to learning the language and didn't fall back on the "you should speak English" crutch. (Plus I think a few of my blunders were probably kind of hilarious from their side of the picture.. )

    • profile image

      Study in London 8 years ago

      Finding the page from searching google organic.very nice for the topic.Great and Thx

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Thanks for sharing with us. I hope it useful to increasing my English language ability. great hub.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image

      elisabethkcmo 8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      thanks for the input, as a nurse, I want to learn Spanish and there are helpful ideas for me


    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 8 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      I tend to end up doing the reverse by inadvetantly using a purely innocent phrase and somehow making it totally inappropriate. An "O" or "A" in the wrong place makes Italian filthy.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for this informative article.

      I find that the best way for me to learn vocabulary is to use the new word in a most outrageous way.