Alot of people have asked me how I learn and remember new vocabulary and whether I have any ‘special method’ or ‘tips’. I’ve never given much thought to this topic, but since there were a few people who asked me that recently, I shall devote a post to it ^^
Please note that the following is my personal opinion and there is NO best way of learning vocabulary. You have to find the method that best suit your OWN learning style.
1. No flashcards / vocabulary lists
I’m not a believer of flashcards. I don’t believe in memorizing new vocabulary. The number of words in a new language is so large, how can you expect to memorize them? And definitely not vocabulary lists (especially those in books). I’ve seen some books with titles like ‘500 must know words in Korean’ or something along that line. Or books that claim to contain all the words that you have to know in order to take TOPIK etc.
It’s a total waste of money.
Apologies if I sound too biased, but I simply don’t believe in preparing for language tests that way. It may help you pass TOPIK if you have an excellent memory, but such memory are often short term and you will probably forget all of them 2 weeks later.
However, I quite like using interactive online resources that are similar to vocabulary lists. Eg, videos that introduces basic vocabulary while showing the picture or those sites that pronounces the word when you move the mouse over it (you get the idea). They are an excellent way of remembering some basic vocabulary when you are still a beginner. The interactive nature of such sites make it easy for beginners to learn new words in an interesting way.
2. Read widely
By reading widely, you come across words that you already know and also new vocabulary. Seeing familiar words strengthens your memory of them and you get to see how they are used in different contexts. New vocabulary placed in context (sentences) make it easier for you to guess their meaning without checking the dictionaries, and also make it easier for you to remember them after you checked out their meaning.
Below are the steps I usually follow when reading a new chunk of text. (I don’t follow through all the time though xD )
1. read the text and underline words that I don’t know
2. check the Naver dictionary for each word
3. write down the meaning and a sample sentence from the dictionary in my notebook (repeat)
4. re-read and look through my notebook (Do not memorize by heart)
5. practice writing the new words a few times on a piece of rough paper (hahaha i don’t do that always)
6. re-read the text and make sure you can understand everything, preferably without checking the notebook ^^
I can’t stress more on how each individual has their own unique learning style that best fit them. So, just take the above as one possible method! ^^ The best thing to do is to experiment with a few different methods and fine something that suits your character! Learning a new language is a long journey and you will only go far if you enjoy it~~