If you’ve ever formally studied a language in school, you’ve probably dealt with the usual awful assignment: Copy each of these vocab words/phrases x-times in insert target language and x-times in insert native language. Well, that’s great. You memorize the word for the test and then promptly forget it.
But memorization isn’t all bad. Go ahead and memorize – just remember that the point is to keep remembering, so memorizing it in one sitting isn’t going to do any good. You have to keep using the word, keep practicing it in conversation, writing, listening, etc.
For the summer, I’m coming up with a vocab learning plan. It might not pan out exactly as follows, but here’s what would be awesome for my Korean self-study (if it works).
- Naver vocabulary lists: These things are beautiful. After you sign up for a Naver account (which is really annoying and I should probably put up a ‘how-to‘ for it), you get access to all kinds of extra things, like an @naver.com email, blogging, online cafes, saving your favorite webtoons/online manhwas, etc….and creating vocabulary lists on the Naver English Dictionary site. Don’t know what the difference between 병명 and 별명 is? Search on Naver Dictionary and add them both to vocabulary lists that you can study the various meanings, synonyms, antonyms, sample sentences, usage, idioms…
- What goes into my vocab lists? Lately, I’ve been putting any kind of word (noun, verb, etc.) that I don’t recognize and am interested in knowing – usually from my language partner’s messages. I have at least a couple words every time she messages that I just…
- This horrifyingly large collection of unused notecards (I have more – not pictured): I used to hate index cards because I associated them with painful memorization techniques that never worked for me very well because I wasn’t interested in the topics that I wrote on them. Pythagorean Theorem? Bleh. The classification of a diatom? Ehhh. But now it’s different. I can use them for things I want to learn. This box with its evil empty index cards? I’m going to use it for words from my vocab lists throughout the summer. So, I have approximately 3 months to see if this method works for me ㅋㅋ;;
- Sticky notes: I have far too many of these, too, and even though I use them for putting random notes to myself all over my desk or scribbling down Korean phrases for quick reference later (also putting these all over my desk), I still seem to have a bazillion or at least a couple hundred of these. I’m using these on verb vocab cards – I put the Korean infinitive on the blank side, its translations on the lined, and the present, past, future and sometimes adjectival conjugations underneath a sticky on the blank side. That way I can not only quiz myself on the translations but also the conjugations – because what’s the point in knowing only the infinitive?
As I’m learning these words, I’m coming up with sentences using them (sometimes writing them on the cards, sometimes saving them on my computer or scribbling them down in my Korean notebook (great site by the way, but no relation to the huge notebook I keep for language studies). I’ve also made sure to use them in my replies to my language partner – and so far, I’m remembering a small but useful amount of new vocab.
Other ways I learn/reinforce vocabulary are through watching dramas and looking for familiar words/phrases, reading song lyrics while listening to the song (I suggest going on YouTube and watching lyric videos for your favorite Korean songs), and attempting to read random news articles on Naver.
Do you have a favorite method of learning/remembering vocabulary? Tell me about it in the comments^^
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