One of the indicators of good command of the English language is the depth of the vocabulary.
It is difficult to argue with this, because without a sufficient number of words, you will not be able to feel comfortable in the circle of interlocutors, work correspondence or other life situations.
Learning something new is always a challenge and self-improvement. Usually this process seems difficult and unpleasant to us, but it is within our power to change everything.
Let’s figure out together how best to learn new English words and expressions and keep them in memory for a long time.
Methods of learning new words
In order to learn new words, you will need personal interest, patience, time and your own dictionary. Whichever memorization method you choose, you will need to write down the information and return to it later.
Actually, let’s start with the traditional method of learning new words. Write unfamiliar words in the dictionary and indicate their definitions or synonyms. You can record the translation of the word in Ukrainian, but for the best effect, we recommend using only English.
Also, be sure to add examples of phrases or sentences, as information is best remembered in context.
Come up with examples from your own life, so it will be easier for you to remember. For example, you are studying the word “unbreakable”. Then you can come up with the following sentence:
My country is unbreakable
In order to make it easier to remember, write out words according to a certain topic, group them. For example, if you want to learn the meaning of spicy, it is better to learn it together with other words that can be combined on the topic of “taste”. Alternatively, you can always go further and look for cognate words to learn together. For example, not only thank, but also thankful, thankfully, thankfulness, thankless, thanklessly, thanklessness.
If possible, put colored stickers on objects at home with the names of different objects or simply with other words that you want to learn. Stick the stickers on the most visible places. Every time you pass by, you will pay attention to the sticker, see a word or phrase and, accordingly, remember what was written. It’s very convenient that you don’t need to do anything special.
You can remove the sticker only when you are sure that you have learned the word or phrase.
You can buy special cards or make them yourself by cutting paper.
A word should be written on one side, and a meaning, translation or picture on the other, which will help you understand what it is.
Cards can be assigned based on content or your knowledge. For example, put those that you remember better separately. Systematically check yourself with them.
You don’t have to be an artist to prefer this memorization method. It is best suited for learning whole expressions or idioms.
Choose several of these and draw simple pictures. Do not write text, try to visualize everything. On the Internet you can find examples for inspiration and even sites for creating simple sketches.
This is very convenient, because you can save the drawing and return to it later.
When you meet a new word, try to mentally imagine it or feel the emotions associated with it. For example, “cold” will definitely make you feel cooler, “happy” will make you happy, and “childhood” will evoke pleasant nostalgia.
You can also find associations with English words in the past. Match the new phrase with the memory and repeat it several times to link them together.
When you need to remember, return to this memory. Some words can be accompanied by movements, facial expressions or gestures. The word “shout” should be shouted and the verb “whisper” should be pronounced very quietly. The brighter the image in your head, the better. Then don’t forget to write the new words in the dictionary and draw a small association picture next to them.
If you better perceive information by ear, then the listening method will be more effective for you. Here, various videos, podcasts or audio lessons come to the fore, where announcers speak words out loud.
You can independently choose what to listen to, pick out new words from the author’s speech, find out their meaning and try to remember them by turning on the repeat.
However, you also need to get your dictionary and be sure to write everything down there. Then you can read out loud and store the new information in your memory.
Say the new word out loud as many times as you need to remember it exactly.
People with a higher level of English can learn new things by listening to online reports, foreign news, songs by foreign bands, watching movies and TV series.
How it all works: you choose a video you like, watch it and translate individual phrases, sentences or even whole paragraphs into English. You can try to understand the unfamiliar words you hear from the context. When you’re done, find out the meaning of the words or phrases and evaluate how well you translated. This is an original way of learning that will help to imprint new material in your memory.
Make up short stories from new words. Let them relate directly to you or your experience. Write down what you think of and read it.
For example, if you need to remember the phrase “at first light”, you can recall your own experience when you set off on a long journey very early. If we leave tomorrow at first light, we should arrive by 3 in the afternoon — if we leave tomorrow at dawn, we should arrive by 3 p.m.
How not to forget the studied material?
We have familiarized ourselves with various methods of learning English words, and now we can consider options for helping ourselves to retain new information in our memory.
At the end of the 19th century, the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted experiments to determine the potential of memory. In the course of experiments, it became clear that a person forgets most of the information in the first few hours after studying, and as a result of repeating the studied material, the rate of forgetting decreases significantly.
According to the obtained results, a repetition system for long-term memorization of new information was derived. The scheme looks like this:
- the 1st repetition— immediately after the end of the reading;
- the 2nd repetition— 20-30 minutes after the first repetition;
- the 3rd repetition— 1 day after the second;
- the 4th repetition — 2-3 weeks after the third;
- the 5th repetition — 2-3 months after the fourth repetition.
Therefore, in order to better remember new information, you need to return to it regularly. Open your dictionary, reread words, phrases and sentences, because this is the key to success.
Communication, communication and more communication
Very trite, but this is a basic rule – use what you have learned in your speech. We understand that this is not always appropriate, but you should use new words when you have the opportunity.
It will be enough to say the learned word several times in everyday situations so that it will definitely be remembered. If there is no opportunity to share what you have learned, create it yourself.
When meeting with friends or at lunch with colleagues, offer to tell them what you learned. We are sure that they will find a few minutes to help you on your way to a better command of English.
This method of memorizing words is not often mentioned, but it is very helpful. If you want to learn a new word, expression or idiom, teach your friends. When you explain certain information to other people, you yourself will remember it better.
Feel free to share your knowledge, the main thing is to find those who will be interested.
If there is no one around, imagine a friend or character from your favorite movie to whom you are explaining something interesting.
Not all at once
Decide how many new words you are willing to memorize per day, build your schedule and regularly return to the new words for revision. Don’t try to remember everything at once.
First, choose the most used or most useful expressions for you. It makes sense to learn what you will definitely need, and over time you can add more complex words or phrases. This is important in order not to lose motivation and be productive.
Whichever way you choose to repeat words, remember that only by repeating and practicing will you be able to consolidate new lexical items as an active vocabulary.
Also, do not forget about the importance of the right approach to learning. To begin with, choose what is interesting and important to you, gradually increase the load.