“What’s the secret to learning a new language?” There isn’t one shortcut or technique that works for everyone. One area that many language learners often struggle with is how to use new vocabulary words.
One suggestion is to keep a vocabulary notebook.
This could be a traditional notebook, or you could use an app:
Choose what works best for you. Make it accessible and portable.
When you come across a new vocabulary word or phrase while reading or listening, write down the word or phrase. If you have time, write out the whole sentence in context.
After you’ve collected several words and phrases, go back and put them in your vocabulary notebook.
apparition noun – ghost / unexpected appearance of someone or something.
“Several previous tenants had been scared off after seeing the apparition.”
“Yokai are apparitions in Japan.”
nosocomial infections adj. – infections originating in a hospital (medical)
“A number of nosocomial infections have been reported at the Nakano Egota Hospital in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward.”
“Visiting hospitals during flu season might make patients’ conditions worse due to nosocomial infections.”
farm out phrasal verb – pay someone outside your company do to some work
“We farmed out all of our accounting to an overseas vendor because it was more efficient.”
“I want to farm out my work to a sub-contractor and focus on more critical tasks.”
Search for the word or phrase and see how others have used it. This will give you a better idea of how it’s used either in the news, in publications, or in academia.
Here are a few places to look:
The most important part of your vocabulary notebook is reviewing and using the language. I recommend reading through your list a few times a week, but at least once a week. Keep a tally on how often you use the word or check it off after introducing it into your vocabulary.
Additionally, try to use the word or phrase while speaking or writing:
“Did you see the UFO flying over Japan? I hope it was just an apparition.”
“Hospitals are hotspots for nosocomial infections.”
“Many companies farm out their back-office tasks.”
Build an easily accessible vocabulary list and start improving your speaking, writing, and listening skills. Try to incorporate new words into your speaking and writing. Have fun learning new words and phrases and seeing how they are used.