How to improve vocabulary? The best ways to memorize new words

Andrei Kuzmin / 29 May

How to improve vocabulary?

Every student who is learning a foreign language asks this question. There are several basic ways to improve the vocabulary, which we will cover in this article:

  1. Listening to and repeating the words you want to memorize
  2. Using the flash card method
  3. Creating associations with visuals
  4. Memorizing sentences and phrases containing new words
  5. Pronunciation of new words
  6. Memorizing new words along with their synonyms and antonyms
  7. Watching movies and videos in the language you are learning

To answer the question "How to improve vocabulary?" it is also necessary to understand the individual or innate features of your memory. For some people it's better and faster to remember new words by listening, for others, writing and reviewing the written text is more efficient. Many people find it effective to memorize words using pictures or photos. So, you can choose the combination of methods for improving vocabulary that will work best for you.

Let's analyze each method separately and consider the possible tools for achieving maximum efficiency:

  1. Listening to and repeating the words you want to memorize

Many people remember new words best with the help of frequent listening.

You can find a large number of audio recordings that can play new words from the material you are studying, but what if you have already learned half of the words on the recording, but are struggling to memorize the remaining words? Let's admit that it is unnecessary to listen to the entire audio recording again and again, if you have already memorized a significant number of words. In addition, the number of repetitions and the size of the pauses between words for each person should be individual based on the characteristics of your memory.

For this purpose, we developed a unique LingoCard audio player, in which you can delete all learned words and only listen to ones you really don't know. You can adjust the number of repetitions of words (or their translations) and the length of pauses between the words to the setting that will work best for you.

It is also possible to create and listen to your own learning material from any text files. Simply upload a text with translation onto the player and listen.

This method is especially effective if you do not have free time to study, because you can listen to the learning material at anytime and anywhere.

Currently, a large number of audio books on certain topics are available. To memorize new words, you can also add them to your list on our application and then listen to them using the player.

  1. Using the flash card method

The most popular method of improving vocabulary is creating flash cards, where one side of the card has a hard-to-remember word, and the other side has the meaning or translation of the word.

After creating a deck of cards, you start to look through them, gradually setting aside the cards you have already studied, until you have learned the whole deck.

After a couple of months of using this method, I already had several hundred cards that were extremely inconvenient to carry around. I also wanted to change the order of words I memorized, for example: alphabetically, in reverse alphabetical order, randomly, in subjects and so on.

So I decided to use a smartphone, but I could not find a simple and convenient application. So then I had the idea of creating a new application for smartphones, and a couple of months later I developed the first mobile LingoCard application with flash cards and one database. It was necessary to make cards with the voicing of any words and create several databases with the most used words. I began to discuss implementation options with some professional developers I knew. The guys liked my idea, and as a result enthusiasts began to join the project. After implementing new ideas, we decided not to stop there and developed several more unique tools already available on two operating systems: Android and iOS. We have hosted our app for free on Google Play and the Apple Store for all countries and all nationalities.

Improve vocabulary with flashcards

  1. Creating associations with visuals

Many people have good visual memory and for them it can be very effective to create associations with visual images. For example, if you see an object the foreign meaning of which you cannot immediately remember, you can take a picture of this object and write a word on it in the language you are studying.

With our application, it is possible to create flash cards with photos from the camera or any pictures from the Internet. Thus, if you have good visual memory and can't remember some words or expressions, you can just copy this word into the search engine and download any suitable picture, attaching it to a flash-card.

  1. Memorizing sentences and phrases containing new words

It's a very effective way of improving vocabulary and learning a foreign language. Thus, you immediately remember a bunch of words and sentence structure. This allows you to retrieve a ready-made sentence in a conversation without a need to recall each word separately.

If the words you are learning have multiple meanings, this method can be very productive. This is very common for example in English, and to understand the usage of a word, it is better to memorize it in a sentence.

More than 120 thousand different thematic dictionaries are collected on our site and about half of them consist of phrases and sentences.

  1. Pronunciation of new words

Frequent and correct pronunciation of the words you are learning helps to memorize them perfectly.

This method is good to use after listening to the pronunciation of words with a subsequent repetition.

Try to pronounce them in combination with other related words or in sentences.

We supplied all language cards with a listening function in any language to hear an example of the correct pronunciation.

After starting the audio player it's very effective to repeat the pronunciation of words during pauses, and for this purpose it is better to increase the length of the pauses between the words in the settings menu of the player.

  1. Memorizing new words along with their synonyms and antonyms

An excellent technique is to memorize words with their synonymous or antonymous equivalents.

Most people think with the help of associations, and memorizing new information can be very effective in conjunction with learning combinations of similar or opposing words.

You can use this technique by creating flash cards with synonyms and antonyms.

Download dictionaries with synonyms and antonyms from the Internet or find them in numerous self-taught tutorials of the language you are learning. After compiling the training material you need, you can transfer the data to text files and upload to our application. As a result, you will create your own uploaded database of flash cards for your study material and it will be possible to learn any combination of words using all of our tools.

In addition, a large number of cards created with synonyms and antonyms are already available in our databases.

As a result of using this method, you can memorize several new words with their similar or opposite meanings, which will allow you to significantly improve your vocabulary.

  1. Watching movies and videos in the language you are learning

This is probably the most accessible and effective method of improving vocabulary, which can be used directly from native speakers.

It's a great method for memorizing new words right from the language environment. When learning a new language, it is especially important to understand the slang and idioms that can be found in feature films.

You need to decide what type of foreign language you want to learn. For example, English has many divisions such as American English, Australian English, British English, and so on. Based on the type of language you want to learn, you need to select films that were shot in the appropriate country.

Watch movies first with subtitles for better perception. If you hear a word that you cannot remember at once, you need to write it down in the dictionary and repeat it later.

When a hard-to-remember word comes across in a movie, I usually pause, translate, and copy it to the LingoCard application. Then I listen to all the words in the player and remember them using the cards.

To consolidate the material, the next time you can watch the same movie without subtitles - if you selected a very interesting movie, the second viewing will not be boring.

As a result, with each movie you watch, you will need to create fewer and fewer new cards, because your vocabulary will constantly expand.

Do not forget about regularity; set a goal to view at least one movie a week in the language you are learning, or even better watch all films only in the language you are learning and after a while, you will master the new language.

Try using all available methods to determine which one is the best for you.

Improve vocabulary for foreign language

When you decide on the choice and understand for yourself how you improve your vocabulary best, you need to remember the main postulates of effective learning:

  1. Regularity. You need to practice every day.
  2. Choose only the most effective tools for training
  3. Determine the best time for studying and learning new material
  4. Analyze the volume of the material studied
  5. Set a clear goal for the amount of material to memorize daily and the total volume

In our mobile applications, we have tried to implement all possible methods of improving vocabulary and now they are available to people anywhere in the world. You only need to install the application on your smartphone and register in the system to save your words on the cloud server.

We are working to create an international educational platform for people of all nationalities, which gives the opportunity to study any foreign languages and have a language practice around the world. I hope that our developments will significantly improve your learning productivity and will help you to significantly improve your vocabulary.