Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 67

My little blue vocabulary book

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by : 
KirstyBlogger

In my bag I always carry the same essential items: my keys; my purse; some loose change; my mobile phone and my little blue vocabulary notebook. This year I am living abroad in Germany and I am trying to learn as much German as possible. I always knew that living abroad would be a great way to learn a foreign language but one thing I didn't realise was how many new words and phrases I would come across every day! I see and hear new words everywhere: the announcements in the train station; menus in cafes; on social media; the local newspaper and of course from my German-speaking friends. New words are all around you when you are in a foreign country!

At first I was slightly overwhelmed by the large amounts of German I didn't understand - speaking German in Germany is definitely very different from in the classroom! I kept on looking up new words and by the end of the day I had forgotten most of them already. It was very frustrating. After a month of worrying that I would never be able to improve my language skills I went to the stationery shop and bought a small notebook which easily fits into my handbag or even into my back pocket! I set myself the goal of writing five new words or phrases a day into my little blue book and soon enough it became one of my most valuable language-learning tools.

I don't have any rules about which words I write down. Most days I write down words that I learn from my colleagues at work, words that I have read that I don't understand or words that I have learned from seeing them in context. For example, I have learned the names of many fruits and vegetables from looking at their labels in the supermarket (a very unexpected source of vocabulary!) and I have learned many words that I have heard on TV or on the radio. It doesn't even matter if I know how to spell a new word straight away. If I hear a word but I don't know how to spell it, I write down how I think it sounds and look it up later.

My little blue vocabulary book is now like my sidekick. We are like Batman and Robin; we go everywhere together. Setting this small daily goal has made me feel much more in control of my language learning and I am already seeing an improvement. I will continue to use it for the rest of my stay in Germany and also when I return to university at home in September.

Discussion

How do you learn new vocabulary? Do you have any tips?

Comments

Sergelen's picture
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Sergelen 31 May, 2017 - 12:57

In my opinion, the best way to improve vocabulary is just always meet those new words. As mentioned above we don't learn vocab, it just becomes a part of my memory, gradually. I tried to write down new words on my small notebook, unfortunately I usually forget that in my home or work office lol...

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7 users have voted.
rania789's picture
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rania789 3 December, 2016 - 21:46

If you want to learn any new words first try to guess their meaning then make sure they are right by looking them up in a dictionary then use them to keep them

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22 users have voted.
lincoln2000's picture
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lincoln2000 1 December, 2016 - 22:15

I feel you... i'm spending a year abroad in the uk. I am German so for me it is the other way around but there are just so many new words every day. I have a little vocab book as well, mine is yellow though :)

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23 users have voted.
KirstyBlogger's picture
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KirstyBlogger 13 December, 2016 - 07:49

Hi there lincoln2000! I hope your little vocabulary book is helping you. Mine is nearly full already!

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hadia's picture
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hadia 30 November, 2016 - 13:24

Currently, we have about 900 new vobulary words that we have to learn. They are really difficult. And it's quite a task to learn them. Our Engkish Professor says that we shouldn't cram them. Instead, read at least 5words daily and it would be imprinted in your mind. Because you don't learn vocab, it just becomes a part of your memory, gradually.

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25 users have voted.
KirstyBlogger's picture
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KirstyBlogger 13 December, 2016 - 07:47

Hey hadia. Wow, 900 words is a lot! I always find that if I cram vocabulary for a test I forget it again very quickly. It sounds like you have found a geat method to learn all your new words!

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hadia's picture
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hadia 13 December, 2016 - 08:32

Hi Kristy!
Thanks for you comment.
Yeah, there's too much to learn. I hope I'd memorize them all till the end of next year. ( Next year 2017, In late Aug, I'm having my Exam.) ;))

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26 users have voted.