As a student of both Greek and Latin, learning vocabulary is my own personal hell. It takes me a lot of time to memorize the lessons’ vocabulary and I normally forget them by the next week. Sometimes I even mix them up, like I’m doing Latin words in Greek alphabet and so on.
I had to make a system that would help me with this and now that I’m revising for the upcoming semester, I thought that I’d share it with you.
Practice saying new words out loud (or writing them).
Study vocabulary several times a day for 5-10 minutes at a time.
When learning vocabulary, practice conjugating new verbs or declining new nouns and adjectives.
Don’t panic. Language learning is a cumulative process.
Don’t study for several hours in a row without a break. You’ll go nuts, and it will be less likely to become part of your long-term memory.
Don’t be a passive learner. If you use all your senses, if you use the language to create new sentences, you will learn it better.
Don’t study vocab for more than 15 minutes at a time, preferably no more than 10 minutes at a time.
Don’t leave the vocabulary for the day before a test. You will feel overwhelmed and you will not be able to memorize everything you need.
Find the best place to write. One of my friends prefers to write on paper but I have a little board where I can write with really big letters and different colours. I find it that it visually helps me a lot.
I always start by classing the words in different columns (adjectives, verbs, substantives, invariables words, prepositions, etc) and following the alphabet order.
- I write each word at least 10 times from Greek or Latin to French and then 10 times from French to Greek or Latin… Because French is not my mother language I make sure that I understand 100% the word I’m studying. My teacher from last year loved to use a lot of synonyms and it was terrible for me because sometimes I couldn’t find the word he wanted us to use. (Mr. P. I still hate you).
- Help yourself with etymology. Most of the words in French (and luckily for me in Spanish) come from both Latin and Greek so I always try to find the connection. For example, the Spanish word “avaricia” comes from the word “avaritia” in Latin… But be really careful with the faux amis.
- Test yourself. I normally study 10 words and then I rewrite them with their meaning without making any mistakes. If I get to do this three times in a row then I consider it done.
- Make flashcards. This helps me a lot to revise because it’s not as tedious as rewriting them. I have an app on my phone called Flashcards+ and it’s an amazing tool for reviewing vocabulary when I’m taking the subway or waiting for the bus. I only use flashcards to revise the words I already know.
- Revise from time to time all the vocabulary you have learnt. You’re going to forget words so it’s really helpful if you at least read them.
- Make a list of the words you always forget and study those before a test.
Well, that’s it. If you have any other suggestion, be sure to tell me!
PS: English is not my mother language either so I’m really sorry if there’s any mistake.
Useful material, this, for any language study. Never give up or it will always be a What-if.