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Friday, February 12, 2016

A Way to Quickly Learn Foreign Vocabulary

I have done around 19 pages of my French grammar book (small hurray!) and I realized I am facing a problem with vocab.

Each topic starts out with a vocab list, this is one of the lists of verbs: 
How am I going to learn all of it and stick it in my memory?? And then repeat this for every topic? I'll probably spend more time memorizing verbs than anything else. 

So I remembered one of my own tips: Keep it easy. 

Now this looks more manageable. I choose 5 verbs from each list, small enough to seem easy, and many enough to make it a little bit challenging. I write them on a sticky note and I transfer them to each chapter I advance to. 

How do I choose the words? I set some simple guidelines: (always keep it simple!) 

1. It must be a word I am likely to read or use. So the word 'tordre' (twist) is out, but 'attendre' (wait) is in. I am more likely to use 'attendre' in a sentence than 'tordre'.

2. It must be a word that I cannot understand easily. Some words in French are close enough to their English equivalent that translation is not really necessary. You don't need to learn French to guess that 'descendre' means 'to go down', but you may need to know that 'pretendre' means to claim. That puts 'pretendre' in my list. 

3. Very common words that I have encountered before are out. 'Manger' (to eat' is a word I have seen many times. So are 'je', 'tu', 'il' and 'elle', so I won't bother with them. 

Lastly, as a motivation, 
4. I want to learn positive words. 'Perdre' fits all the criteria mentioned above, but has a negative connotation. I'd rather learn 'gagner' (to win) first. That is a much more positive meaning to learn! 

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