Do you feel like you're stuck on a learning plateau, unable to boost your vocab past the beginner level?
One of the main culprits is probably your vocab study habits.
This post will help you to change your study methods from the beginner's mentality to the advanced student's approach.
How Dinosaurs Affect Your Spanish Vocab Study
First I want to point something out to you if you’re feeling stuck in your Spanish studies.
It’s the dinosaur model of language learning, invented by someone on the internet, but it’s amazingly accurate.
So you see on the y-axis, we have the number of new words learned, and on the x-axis, the amount of time spent studying.
At the beginning, you’re up here. You’re learning new words every time you open a book or listen to any Spanish because you haven’t been studying for much time, so literally everything is new, and you’re learning a bunch.
As time goes on, you start to feel like you’re learning less and less. There is less “new” and more “review”, so you may be feeling stuck or like you’re not learning as much.
Then once you get to the advanced level, you may feel like you’re hardly learning at all.
This is all because as you study for more time, as you get better and better at understanding and using Spanish, you shouldn’t be always focusing on learning more and more new words.
How Beginners Study Vocab
As a beginner-level Spanish student, you take what vocab is given to you in the programs or books that you’re using, and you try to use that in the real-world when you go practice.
This is GREAT when you’re a beginner, but now that you’re moving beyond that or you’ve already been beyond that for a while, you have to kind of reverse that process.
Take what “real-world” Spanish gives YOU and THEN you study THAT. You study what you come across while consuming real-world, native-speaker Spanish media.
And how exactly should you do that?
Well, first you should “discover” your new words from real-world, native-speaker Spanish media, like books, TV, movies, news, conversations with tutors or friends, etc.
Then, you can study the new words you find with a Deep Words Table, which we’ll go over now, and then be sure to use the new words by applying them to your life.
This is an example or a Deep Words Table. It’s like a flash card, but on steroids, and it’s designed to help you remember new words by placing them into your web of neural connections that already exist.
You can do this by writing the word, the definition, synonyms and near-synonyms of lesser and greater intensity, antonyms. This will connect it to words you already know!
Then, you should write an example sentence and also you can note where you learned about it to help jog your memory in the future about the context and meaning of the word. Connect it to memories and emotions that you already have, and you won’t forget it.
And this part is really important. For the example sentence, you must write a sentence that applies the word to YOUR LIFE, to a memory, an experience that you have had. Because emotions and experiences are deeply connected with memory, so don’t just invent whatever sentence comes to mind. Make it personal!
Want to learn more about how to boost your Spanish vocab like a pro and move past the beginner level? Enroll in our Free Spanish Vocab Booster Training now.