Top 10 Tips to Pick Up a New Language – #3 – VOCABULARY

By Manu Venditti | All Levels

Sep 07

 

Today we look at one of the most important aspects of learning a language and becoming fluent: VOCABULARY.

Vocabulary is an essential component of a language and the more words you know, the more stuff you can talk about!

There are thousands of words in each language and no one knows all of them.

And by that, I mean, no one speaker of a language knows all of the words in their own native language!
There’s more… it’s estimated that most speakers of a language get by their everyday life using just 1,000 words.
Some people use more (2,000 or even 3,000), some people use less (as low as 600 words).

This is GREAT NEWS for us learners of that language! 

All we have to do is find out what these words are… and the research has been done for us, already!

Just google “top 2000 most frequent words in [language you are learning]”.

Or check out this Wikipedia page.


So what can we do?

Focus on Vocabulary for the first 3 months of your language learning (while you are studying the grammar, as per Tip #1).

For example: 
– try to learn 20 new words every day for 100 days

After just over 3 months you will know 2,000 words! Hopefully the most frequent 2,000 words of the language you are learning!

Research suggests that knowing the most frequent 2000 words of a language allows you to understand up to 70% of any everyday interaction. How amazing is that?

There are many ways to learn, memorize and retain vocabulary. You have to find the one that works for you.

The two most powerful method are: 
using mnemonics (creating funny ridiculous stories with each word you are trying to learn)
using Time Spaced Repetition software (software that automatically tests your memory at specific intervals)

 

Try out these two free apps/websites: 
Memrise (www.memrise.com)
Quizlet (www.quizlet.com)


THE TAKEAWAY
1. MAKE A LARGE VOCABULARY YOUR GOAL
2. LEARN THE MOST FREQUENT WORDS OF A LANGUAGE (TOP 2,000)
3. SPEND THE FIRST 3 MONTHS OF YOUR LANGUAGE LEARNING JOURNEY LEARNING WORDS AND GRAMMAR
4. USE TECHNOLOGY TO HELP YOU REMEMBER WORDS 

Looking for a Structured, Ongoing program to Learn Italian? Check out 'From Zero to Italian' then!