Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced Spanish language student, if there’s one thing that everyone learning Spanish shares in common, it’s the need to expand their Spanish vocabulary. For this reason, it’s critical to develop good strategies for learning Spanish vocabulary.
Learning vocabulary can be a tedious and ponderous experience unless it’s approached in the right way. Old fashioned methods that relied on memorization, such as writing lengthy lists of words you need to know and going over the lists time after time is a great cure for insomnia! Alternatively, it can be an interesting, enriching, and rewarding experience, provided that you use imaginative ways for learning Spanish quickly.
Mnemonic techniques are a great way of helping students to expand their Spanish vocabulary. Mnemonics are systems for improving and assisting the memory. Mnemonics are tools that helps us to remember facts and information. They come in various forms such as songs, rhymes, images, acronyms, and phrases and are really useful in Spanish vocabulary acquisition as mnemonic devices are such a fun way to learn. Here’s a very well-known example of a rhyming mnemonic in English that gives you the date you need to memorise in a way you won’t forget: ‘In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the Ocean blue’. An example of a song mnemonic is the ever-popular A-B-C method that children learn to memorise the alphabet. You can use exactly the same mnemonic technique to use by putting Spanish vocabulary into a song. It’s as simple as that. One of the most powerful types of mnemonic for remembering vocabulary is the Memory Palace. You may be familiar with this concept as it’s the method competitors in memory competitions use to remember vast amounts of facts and information. I’ll be taking a closer look at Memory Palaces in a later blog. Mnemonics are one of the most effective methods for learning Spanish vocabulary.
Proven strategies for learning Spanish vocabulary include Quizlet, a free website that many students find helpful. Quizlet has a database of millions of study-sets that cover thousands of topics, and uses technologies such as text to speak audio, images, interactive diagrams, and progress tracking to make learning Spanish vocabulary engaging and fun. Accessible on any Smartphone, tablet or PC, Quizlet is an excellent tool for vocabulary retention. Students can create their own custom-made flashcards on Quizlet or access premade study sets that other students have created. It’s an excellent way to ‘learn on the go’.
POST IT EVERYWHERE!
Another of my handy methods for learning Spanish vocabulary is the ever-popular use of post-it notes. Simply write down the words you want to memorise and stick them all around your home! Once you’ve covered every square inch of your home with post-it notes you’ll be amazed how quickly the words become embedded in your memory. Post-it notes are a great way of making Spanish vocabulary literally stick!
Flashcards are excellent ways for learning Spanish vocabulary. You can either make yourself a set of flashcards, or better still, download one of the many apps that have pre-made flashcards. MosaLingua is a good app that focuses on the essentials, with pre-made flashcards for useful words and phrases, Anki is another, and Quizlet has already been discussed. Looking through your flashcards for as little as ten or fifteen minutes a day will help embed vocabulary into memory.
REPEAT AND REPEAT
Repetition is one of the most important strategies for learning Spanish vocabulary. When you want to learn a word, get into the habit of speaking it out loud several times. Practice makes perfect.
Try to avoid overloading your brain with new vocabulary. If you try to memorize fifty words a day, your brain won’t be able to cope with the information overload. I’d suggest you limit yourself to learning ten to fifteen words per day maximum. Even at the lower end of the scale, you’ll still be learning 70 words a week, 280+ words a month. Native Spanish speakers only have an active vocabulary of 10,000-15,000 words, so by using the strategies for learning Spanish vocabulary outlined above, you’ll be expanding your vocabulary quicker than you think.