How can I learn vocabulary easily

Learn Vocabulary: The Best Professional Tips

Foreign language skills are now part of a CV like apps are part of a smartphone. English is actually the least. Better if you can read, understand and speak a second foreign language. If only not that much learn vocabulary would be ... new nouns, irregular verbs, conjunctions - hell! Some people cramming, cramming and cramming, but the new vocabulary just doesn't go into the head, sentence structure and grammar unfortunately remain far too German, the accent as well. This can have something to do with general language skills, but it could also be due to the Learning technique yourself lie. This is how it works learn vocabulary today…

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Mistakes in learning vocabulary

Two common mistakes are made when learning vocabulary. The first concerns the method - it is not a strategic approach, it is simply learned somehow. Often be there few needs-based methods taken from school, which mostly only consist of the fact that the vocabulary from the foreign language is contrasted with the German meaning.

Voilà: Translation done, now please memorize it! Unfortunately, this less than creative method often doesn't work. Another common mistake is that time management - Schoolchildren and students in particular are familiar with this. Instead of a systematic approach, learning takes place the night before the test - often for hours - but far too much is forgotten.

In the following, we therefore present various methods that are suitable for learning vocabulary. Also follow afterwards Time management tipswho help to implement your project.

How can I learn vocabulary quickly?

If you don't have to learn vocabulary to pass the time, you want one thing above all: It should happen quickly. Unfortunately, there is no golden way to do this, because learner types are different - and thus the Access to knowledge acquisition.

There are these possibilities:

  • Language trips

    One of the best ways to learn a new language and its words is through language travel. When you are surrounded by people who only speak their language and you can hardly avoid it, you have no choice but to communicate in the foreign language. And the longer you stay abroad, the better. Sure, after two weeks in Rio de Janeiro, nobody comes back with fluent knowledge of Portuguese. But it gives you an initial feel for sound, pronunciation and first sentence fragments.

  • Language courses

    You approach the matter much more systematically in a language course. The learning materials are already structured according to a certain concept and alternately convey grammar knowledge and new words - so you have no choice but to automatically learn vocabulary. With the successful completion of a course - mostly in the form of a written and oral exam - you will receive a certificate of your progress. Another advantage of this method - for example as a VHS course - is learning in groups: this way you can motivate each other.

  • Self-directed

    You need significantly more intrinsic motivation and self-discipline if, for example, you are learning vocabulary using learning materials from correspondence courses. The big advantage here, however, is that you are tied to little or no time requirements. This flexibility often enables you to take part in a learning unit from time to time. Thanks to modern technology, you can choose between different media: Do you want to learn with an audio book, app or language tandem partner via Skype?

All of these routes have different advantages and disadvantages. Language trips combine the holiday feeling with the practical, but are usually more expensive than a language course lasting several months. If you are looking for suitable snacks for in between meals, you can use language apps such as Babbel and Duolingo Learn vocabulary. The first offers a free test phase, the second is completely free of charge.

Which method is the most suitable for learning vocabulary depends not only on the type of learner, but also on the Budget and goal ab: Anyone who learns a language because they want to order food on vacation will proceed differently than someone who learns for professional reasons.

A simple trick helps

A simple but effective trick for yourself learn vocabulary: Eliminate all the things that remind you of your mother tongue as you study!

Objects, photos, even people, that bring us to our home (and thus our mother tongue) can be extremely disruptive when learning a foreign language, according to a study by social psychologist Michael Morris of Columbia Business School.

These cultural markers act like anchors of language: they ensure that we mentally stray too little from our cultural area - and that it is correspondingly difficult to deal with the new language.

Tip 1: learn vocabulary with a story

But there is one more Trick to Learn Vocabulary: Make up a story about it.

It's just that we have words only then memorizeif we use them frequently and actively. To do this, we have to know what they mean. However, a simple translation does not provide our brain with enough memory anchors. A lively one Story or anecdote but yes - even if it was just invented.

This is where donkey bridges come into play. The English verb to negotiate means “negotiate” in German (spoken: niegoschie-äit). How can this be remembered? For example, you can use the verb in various components pick up: ne-go-tiate. It then sounds like the German word “nie” and the English words “she” and “ate” (simple past of to eat).

Neither the German translation nor the associations “she” and “essen / aß” sound similar to “negotiate”. That doesn't matter, it is important to come up with a little story now, for example: She never negotiates while eating, there is only one favorite dish for her.

In the case of the Vocabulary and foreign words you can even go as far as attaching small notepad to individual items in the apartment. The more colorful the better. Because even these memoranda in the literal sense remind you of them again and again Everyday storiesthat you associate with these objects. This way, the vocabulary is memorized unconsciously and much more easily.

Tip 2: Learn vocabulary with index cards

This method is a little more labor-intensive and at first glance old-fashioned, but it has some advantages. You take yourself different colored index cards and an index box and design as follows:

Write the vocabulary you want to learn on the front. You can, for example, for each Phrase a specific color choose, say, red for nouns, green for adjectives, and so on. Write them on the back German meaning.

Don't forget to write down different cases or different plural for nouns, you should also write with irregular verbs add the respective forms, for example in English to do, did, done.

Now divide the card index box into five different subjects in order to learn the vocabulary effectively:

  • In the first compartment come the cards with the new vocabulary. You learn them and as soon as you can memorize them, the vocabulary moves to the second subject, otherwise they are left behind in the first subject. This subject will Every day learned.
  • in the second compartment check your vocabulary every two days. As soon as you know them by heart, the cards go into the third compartment, otherwise they go back to the end of the first compartment.
  • The vocabulary in third subject become once a week tested, it is best to choose a day on which you definitely have time - routines make learning easier. Here, too, the same method: if you have mastered the vocabulary, the card can go into the next compartment, otherwise it goes all the way back to the first compartment.
  • The cards of the fourth subject become every two weeks checked, take another day of the week here.
  • The vocabulary from the fifth compartment become once a month checked on a fixed weekday. Once you have mastered them, they can be taken out of the file box entirely.

To the Check learning success again, you should sort back into the first compartment after two months. If you remember all of the vocabulary, the index cards will quickly end up in the fifth compartment. If this is not the case, you have deepened your knowledge in this way.

Learning vocabulary made easy: in your sleep

Yes, you never stop learning. And yes, lifelong learning is the motto. But somehow the learning sticks too job at. And sometimes you just don't feel like working - how nice it would be if you just did Learn vocabulary while you sleep could!

This is apparently also what some researchers have thought and investigated whether and how this can work. A study from 2012 by the scientist James W. Antony from Northwestern University and another study carried out in 2015 by Thomas Schreiner and Björn Rasch come to the result: Yes and no'You only learn vocabulary to a very limited extent in your sleep.

For this purpose, the test subjects were given pieces of music and vocabulary during sleep The next day it was checked to what extent the test subjects remembered what they had heard. There is one demonstrably positive influence on vocabulary already learnedif these are repeated in different phases of sleep. Such vocabulary can then easier to remember become.

However, they are by no means entirely new learn vocabularylet alone whole sentences or grammar. The reason for this is obvious: while we sleep, the brain is shielded from external influences, that is, it cannot absorb the information.

It is therefore clear: the good old method of constant repetition is still the most reliable for learning vocabulary.

Tip 3: Learn vocabulary with all your senses

Our brain can feel more easily remember foreign wordswhen information comes from different Sense organs be connected to each other. This is what scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig say, who even came up with their own artificial language for their research: Vimmi.

Vimmi is similar to Italian and should ensure that all study participants were starting from scratch and that they were definitely not familiar with the new vocabulary. Now the young subjects should last a week Cramming vocabulary. In the first experiment, they heard the word and then looked at a picture or gesture that went with the word. In the second experiment, they painted the vocabulary in the air or expressed it playfully with a gesture. Which technique was more effective?

Answer: It was best for the participants to take part in a remember new vocabularyif you yourself with gestures had expressed. They were also able to remember a word better when they had heard the term and its translation and additionally a picture saw of it. What had no positive effect, however, was tracing a term and observing a gesture.

The magic word is therefore Multi-sensor technology. A vocabulary to be learned must include, if possible many sensory perceptions linked. This is the best way to remember them. The researchers illustrated this using the example of the apple. Who, for example, the Spanish word for apple (la manzana) want to learn, should make an apple gesture ("bite into it powerfully"), have an apple aroma on the tongue and at the same time look at a still life with an apple. Learn vocabulary with all your senses.

Tip 4: learn vocabulary with tests

For students it is clear: Learn vocabulary one for the vocabulary test - otherwise rather not. Adults, on the other hand, usually want to continue their education - because of the language. And right here it seems one important overlap to give.

Cognitive psychologists at the University of Erfurt measure the so-called (but not undisputed) Testing effect of great importance. It says that we can remember what we have learned - for example vocabulary - longer if we can acquired under test conditions to have.

In an experiment by the Erfurt researchers, all test subjects first read a short text about the appearance and habits of the honey badger. A third of the subjects should read the text two more times - for simple repetition. The second group should write down the most important information from the text in their own words, i.e. themselves taking notes. And group three should write down the most important content on a sheet of paper without looking at the text - one Test simulation so. Afterwards, final learning tests took place in which the material was queried - either after five minutes, after a week or after two weeks.

Result: Those who want to keep what they have learned in mind for a short time, will benefit most from Taking notes. After two weeks, however, the subjects had the greatest benefit, the content retrieved from the head had. Under test conditions, the content is not only memorized superficially, but also over the long term.

How can you use that for yourself now? For example, by speaking and speaking regularly to yourself learn vocabulary tests. Ask yourself questions or summarize foreign-language texts in your own words - without any teaching materials, but under pressure and time pressure. You could also use your parents, children, siblings, friends, etc. to take on the role of strict auditors. That obviously helps, also with learn vocabulary.

Integrate the foreign language into your everyday life!

As soon as you have built up a certain vocabulary, you start to incorporate the foreign language into your everyday life. This is much cheaper these days than it used to be, as many services are available free of charge on the Internet. We have some useful tips here that are also fun:

  • Read

    For a start - depending on the language level - it can be with a daily newspaper to begin. The advantage: you record relevant news, learn something about the country, the culture and the way of thinking. If it is news of international importance, you may have already heard the content in German, this will help you with this Developing vocabularythat you don't know yet.

    Do you dare Books to read in the foreign language. The trick is ultimately the same as described above: you mentally link a story - and it is immediately easier to remember. If you vocabulary Not enough for novels yet, don't be embarrassed to start with children's books. They offer simple stories in simple words - ideal for studying basic vocabulary.

    Some people have this way Harry Potter Devoured in three different languages ​​- knowing how the story ends (similar to international news) helps and promotes understanding Sense of achievement. Those who shy away from books and who find news too boring can also comics grab: Classics are Asterix, Tim and Struppi or Calvin and Hobbes.

  • Look at

    In the age of DVDs, streaming and digital television, you can't just access an abundance at any time foreign language films and series fall back, instead you have the option to get the spoken word via subtitle to display. Subtitles are not always used word for word, but most of them are recorded.

    This way you can see the correct spelling of the word you hear and get a direct feel for the correct pronunciation. Foreign TV channels like Dutch television, they often have English-language films or series on offer, some of which are subtitled in Dutch. The Franco-German cultural broadcaster Arte also subtitles talk shows, for example.

  • Listen

    For example, you could only speak foreign languages ​​at home Radio station Listen. For the English language is BBC probably the best-known and most reputable news service, which also has many Download and podcast options offers.

    In this way, you could record news on topics that you like, regardless of time, just as you like. Some hear Podcasts in the morning in the bathroom, others doing housework. Even if you don't focus 100 percent on what is being said, you will pick up content.

  • Move

    And one last tip on how you can integrate your new favorite language into everyday life and learn vocabulary: Introduce your Smartphone, Your laptop and your tablet! Change the language settings; For example, you can set a different language for WhatsApp and even get suggestions (with auto-completion).

    These can be helpful if you are missing a word or are unsure of the spelling.On the other hand, caution is advisable, as some words do not make sense at this point or, at worst, the wrong one.

Time management methods for meaningful learning

There are always phases in which learning is not that much fun, a beginning has to be found or counterproductive behaviors hinder learning success. You can contain these dangers with a few tips from time management:

  • Realize what you are learning for

    It is easier to motivate yourself if you have a specific goal - for example: I want to get a good final grade in this foreign language in order to increase my application chances. Or: With the acquisition of these language skills it is possible to study abroad. This helps you to use the time that you have set aside for learning in a disciplined and focused manner.

  • Create a learning plan

    For learning vocabulary, you should set yourself fixed learning units and write them down, for example, in a learning plan. On the one hand, clear routines help implement projects. On the other hand, you visualize your project in this way.

  • Take regular breaks

    Breaks are important so that we can regain our strength for new tasks. On average, you should take a break at least every 90 minutes - it doesn't always have to last an hour - just a few minutes are enough to stretch, stretch your legs and let in fresh air.

  • Turn off time wasters

    One of the worst time wasters is the smartphone: you are just reading the meaning of a word and suddenly there is an acoustic signal for a Whatsapp message - what do you do? Keep learning unmoved or check quickly whether the message could be “important”? In the majority of cases it will not be a question of life or death, nevertheless many tend to have a "just take a look" - that is already enough to tear you out of the flow and often leads to the fact that we for the things that we do want to get things done, need more time. So it's better to put your smartphone in flight mode and avoid any distractions.

  • Learn in bites

    With this tip you kill several birds with one stone: Use the Pomodoro technique. With a small timer, you divide the planned learning time into units of 25 minutes, then you take a short break. The short learning units help to motivate yourself more easily, because 25 minutes sound much more attractive than “two hours”. Second, you automatically treat yourself to the relaxation you need to refresh your brain cells.

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