Learning Spanish: 10 tips for learning vocabulary

There are many words in Spanish which you can hear once and remember for life. In general, these words fall into the following categories:
  • Words that sound similar to the English word. (Restuarante=restaurant)
  • Words that have a close connection to another word with a similar meaning. (Colegio=school)
  • Words for which you can instantly think of some other connection. (Reloj, which means watch, sounds a bit like Rolex!).
Unfortunately however, it can take a bit of effort to remember most words. The following tips may help.

1. (Most important) Keep a pocket sized note book and pencil with you (a rubber too if possible!). Whenever you hear or see a new word you want to remember, write it in the left column and the English translation on the right. Always include the article (el or la) if it's a noun so you learn the gender too.

It should look like this:

Una acera      :        A pavement
Recordar        :       To remember
El Gusano      :       The worm

2. Don't add more than 7 words a day.

3. Keep your writing as neat and clear as possible.

4. Add any notes or tricks which might help you remember the word.

5. Throughout the day, whenever you have a spare 2 or 3 minutes, cover up the English transalted column on the right and guess at the meaning of the Spanish word. Keep going down the list until you know them all.

6. Afterwards, cover up the left Spanish column and guess the Spanish word from the English.

7. When you've got the word, and it's gender, make sure you can spell it too (thankfully not difficult in Spanish as words are spelt as they sound).

8. When you're confident you've learnt the word, tick it off.

9. Test yourself again that night and the next morning, covering up the English and them the Spanish as before, going over the more tricky ones a few extra times.

10. Remember to go back over words that you've previously learnt every now and then. make a separate list for any that you have forgotten.


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