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How To Learn Vocab: The Ultimate Guide

When trying to master a language, vocab is key. However, the initial process of learning unknown words can be both laborious and daunting and there is nothing more frustrating than seeing a word you’ve already studied and forgetting its’ meaning. Here are our top tips to make learning vocab simple, easy and effective long-term.

Selecting the right words

The average speaker only needs 800-1000 words for everyday conversation and writing; that might sound like a lot, but if you think about that in terms of 100-word vocab lists, that’s only around eight or ten. Therefore, jotting down every single unknown word you encounter is not necessarily the best approach. When reading an article, be selective with which words you choose; prioritise the most important words and phrases that you are likely to encounter again.

Another good tip is to watch film or TV in the target language with subtitles. In addition to learning how they are pronounced; you can take advantage of browser extensions (such as LLN- Language learning with Netflix) that will allow you to make vocab sets of unknown words.

Setting measurable and realistic goals

Although it might seem like a good way to quickly expand your vocabulary, learning hundreds of new words every day is not very feasible. You’re less likely to select crucial words and be able to store them in your long-term memory; let alone the fact that it’s time-consuming and unsustainable. It is important to create a daily habit that can be sustained long-term.