Learning a new language’s vocabulary is often difficult for adults, unlike young children whose super-flexible brains grow the connections that are necessary for learning a second language. The numbers of words used in a particular language often scare a lot of people, for example, the Oxford English Dictionary contains 240, 000 English entries, the “Hanya Da Cidian” dictionary contains 370, 000 Mandarin Chinese words, the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language” contains 200, 000 Russian words, and many others. Cramming is definitely not the best way to learn a language! In this article, we’ll give you some tips on the best ways to learn a new language’s vocabulary; to put a little spring in your Chinese language learning step!
The importance of vocabulary to Language learning
Vocabulary is said to be the foundation of any language, in other words, it is the basis for the development of all the other skills: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking, writing, spelling, and pronunciation. It is the body of words used in a particular language, just like the bricks used in building houses. Vocabulary is very important in language learning, just as the linguist David Wilkins argued, “Without grammar little can be conveyed, without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed.” It is only when you know a certain amount of vocabulary that you can start speaking.
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Choose a vocabulary list that fits you the best
We know learning the vocabulary of a language takes time but it is important you find a proper list that fits your purpose of learning the language before you get started because your vocabulary conveys an impression of who you are. Vocabulary helps others understand you more and helps convey meanings effectively. A deep vocabulary allows you to be more intentional about your message.
Your words during an interview will convey an impression of you and your abilities which is what employers will deliberate on. Therefore, you should choose a vocabulary list that meets your demand. For instance, if you want to take an examination, it’ll be a good idea to choose vocabulary books for that examination or maybe you want to increase your daily conversation ability, if so it’ll be better to go for books that will help with your conversation vocabulary instead.
Use the most effective ways to memorize words
Learning new words is a huge part of learning a new language and yet it seems to be so difficult to accomplish because a lot of people assume it must involve rote memorization. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to go through that stress as there are shortcuts which can make it easier. For example, many languages have rules that guide their word formations; for example in English, there are root words, affixes (prefix and suffix). It is the same in Chinese also, as there are rules that can help you to memorize words in groups. In addition, there are interesting games online which you can play during your free time.
Remember, the goal of language learning is always to communicate, but this won’t become a reality unless if you use new words. As Spanish people say, “la repetición es la madre del éxito”, or, in English: “repetition is the key to success”. This is true, because it is only when you practice that you will be perfect; the more you use the words, the better you’ll remember and recall them. How can you achieve this? You can set aside some time to study vocabulary every day, you can talk to others about topics that features these words, you can write essays with these words, and so on. It doesn’t necessarily matter how you do this, the most important thing is that you practice a little every day.
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