Themes > Cross Culture > Learning new vocabulary
Learning new vocabulary

When you are learning a language, it is important to consider how you should learn and to be aware of some useful strategies. This is particularly important when you learn new vocabulary.

When people learn new words, they usually write them down. The way in which they write these new words down is important in helping them to remember the words.

One very common method, for example, is to have a vocabulary book in which to record all the new words. Some people write the words down in a list alphabetically or in no particular order, just as they learn them.

These are not very useful ways of recording new vocabulary as it can be difficult to find the new words again and, more important, learners do not usually remember the contents of a list if the words are not associated with one another in some way.

  • If you record words in lists, it is much more useful to record them according to the subject, for example, taking one important word like "credit", and writing down a number of words that are often used with it:
credit account
credit balance
credit card
credit control
credit limit
credit note
  • Another idea is to list a number of words associated with a particular area of business. For example with "factory":
machine tools
shop floor
conveyor belt
  • Another useful way of writing down new vocabulary is to draw a word diagram about a particular subject, for example:


advertising budget advertising strategy
advertising campaign
mass media lesser media
  • When you learn a new word, you also need to know which other words you can use with it. For example, with the word "payment" there are a number of different verbs which can be used:

to stop to receive to make
to delay


to demand
to confirm to defer to cancel

  • You can also write words down in "families" showing the different parts of speech, for example:



(to) compete competition




competitive competitively

(It also helps to mark the word stress as
we have done here by underlining).

All these strategies are much more useful than just writing a word down on its own. These ideas will help you when you are revising and trying to remember the new vocabulary that you have learnt.



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