4 Ways to Up Your Vocab in Your Target Language

by Lee-Anne

This week I posted about vocabulary on our IG page. I enjoy learning new words even if my grammar isn’t up to scratch. Learning new words can help as you listen or watch content in your desired language which helps get more clues on what’s being said especially if there aren’t any subtitles.

In this post, I’m sharing 4 ways to increase your vocabulary in your target language that isn’t a strenuous task but can be a part of your daily life. Let’s go!

Write your daily tasks in the desired language

As a bullet journalist, I realise that I write all my tasks in English. But it never dawned on me until I started thinking creatively how to engage in a language, in the written form, that I could do more daily activities in Chinese or Korean instead of relying on English. If you are a beginner, actively looking up words for your day may actually help you remember them because it’s in the context of your day’s task rather than a list of things you wrote in a wordlist.

Switching your phone to target language

I must admit, I did do this early on in my Spanish studies in 2020, and I realised I didn’t look at my phone as often because I couldn’t understand anything – so great trick to wean yourself off of your phone. However, the exposure level was insane. I got to see the date, the news, apps all switch to Spanish. I switched everything back as it interfered with Google and switched everything into Spanish. I was not ready for the switch but if you are at a higher level and can handle that adjustment, go straight ahead! Either way, you’ll be engaged on a moment to moment basis if you do this “big switch.”

Think in your target language

Not the same as speaking aloud since no one can correct you but ultimately, I found that when I think in a target language I am not stammering or thinking what comes next. In fact, I am more likely to speak without the fear of making mistakes and getting corrected along the way. It’s the same as talking to yourself in your target language, but processing your daily activities – regardless of level. In beginner stages, we usually learn daily routines, clothes, food, drink etc. So, we do have enough vocabulary to make baby sentences. It is a good start.

Switch your interests to your target language

For me, this one is a big one. Watching shows is fine but how about interacting with the same interest/hobby (or new ones) in another language? For me, when I was studying Spanish, read and listened to the Bible in Spanish. It’s the exact same translation as my English one so I know if I need some help, where to go. But this has stopped me trying to work out every word and listen for context. I gain much more that way. I also enjoy cooking and search out culinary blogs, IG pages and YouTube videos in Spanish, Chinese or Korean and learn that way. What are you interested in? Have you found any resources in your desired language to expand your vocabulary?

With so many resources available, it is pretty easy to find something in your target language but it takes some research and patience to find what you really enjoy. Of course, there are lots of other ways such as writing in your diary, learning songs, writing stories and many more ideas online.

I hope this helped! Let me know what you think.

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