10 Ways to Improve Your Vocabulary in a Foreign Language

Increasing your vocabulary is a key factor in language learning, and luckily it doesn’t have to be a painful task! Here is a list of the 10 best techniques and tools that will help you boost your vocabulary in a foreign language:

  • Make it fun! Find subjects that interest you and make you excited – This may sound obvious, but many people get stuck in learning a second language because they approach it in the wrong way! By focusing on things you like, the learning process will become more enjoyable; you’ll memorize faster and learn easier! 
  • Take a language course – taking language classes with a native teacher who can teach you not only the language but also the culture of the country where your target language is spoken, is a smart move. Soon enough you will start sounding like a native speaker. 
  • Vocabulary builder apps – these are great tools to help you not only build, but also memorize new words with quizzes, learn synonyms and antonyms and more. Memrise and Vocabulary.com are good ones to give it a try. 
  • Keep a word notebook – you can use your phone, or a notebook to write down new words in a context, rather than just making a vocabulary list. Creating sentences and/or illustrations will make the memorization process more efficient. 
  • Read a lot – this is one of the best ways to get acquainted with new terminology, so choose topics you are interested about, and start reading! I personally find e-readers very handy because you can look up the dictionary and Wikipedia, highlight words/passages and take notes. 
  • Watch and observe – watch movies, videos, listen to songs and podcasts. This has been said over and over for a good reason. Exposing yourself to the language you’re learning, and paying close attention to new terms and the context they are being used can really make a difference. 
  • Identify cognates – finding a correlation to your native language and the language you’re learning, and identifying cognates is a great help. You will be surprised to find out how many words you already know! 
  • Practice – if you do all the above but don’t practice, your progress will be limited. So, go out there and talk to native speakers. If you can immerse yourself in the country where your target language is spoken, even better! Enroll in an internship program abroad, take a gap year or just travel abroad. Your vocabulary will increase a lot! 
  • Be curious – Ask questions and be eager for knowledge. Learning about new topics, and diversifying your learning techniques are a great ways to keep you motivated, and as a natural consequence, enrich your vocabulary. 
  • Review – This is essential. Always review new words learned to keep them fresh. Applying the newly acquired terms will help to transfer them into your long term memory.