Jump to content
Linguaholic

Learning Vocabulary from Books


Recommended Posts

Hello everyone! First off, I'm new to the forum! In my 7 or 8 years of studying languages, I never knew there was a forum like this. But I mean, nowadays you can find a forum for anything on the internet, so I can't say I'm surprised. 

So my question is about a particular study method. Now I know everyone has their own style, and I'm a fan of the "whatever works for you" idea. For me, I'm native in english, and I have a high C1 in Spanish. I've used a number of different methods to help get me this far, but one tool to supplement has always been learning from reading, then pulling vocabulary and doing flashcards.

I am a big fan of Lingq. It has never been my main tool of study, but it has always helped me improved my reading comprehension.

That said, I've run into a little issue that annoys me a little, and I wanted to see if any of you have run into this issue with other languages, and what you've done to help out....

 

I am currently reading a book in Spanish called "La Sombra del Viento". It's a really popular book in quite a few languages. The truth is it's a pretty easy read for me, but there are some words I've come across so far that I didn't know. Luckily I'm reading it in iBooks, and when I run into those words, I can define them right in the app. However, while I look them up, I can never remember them. I like using flashcards for this purpose, but I can't figure out how to get these words to flash cards without doing them manually one by one.

From this, I have two questions:
1st, has anyone else had this issue? And if so, what have you done to go around it?
2nd, does anyone else have any other methods for going about learning vocabulary in text?

 

Thanks everyone for your help!

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Shawncfer said:

Hello everyone! First off, I'm new to the forum! In my 7 or 8 years of studying languages, I never knew there was a forum like this. But I mean, nowadays you can find a forum for anything on the internet, so I can't say I'm surprised. 

So my question is about a particular study method. Now I know everyone has their own style, and I'm a fan of the "whatever works for you" idea. For me, I'm native in english, and I have a high C1 in Spanish. I've used a number of different methods to help get me this far, but one tool to supplement has always been learning from reading, then pulling vocabulary and doing flashcards.

I am a big fan of Lingq. It has never been my main tool of study, but it has always helped me improved my reading comprehension.

That said, I've run into a little issue that annoys me a little, and I wanted to see if any of you have run into this issue with other languages, and what you've done to help out....

 

I am currently reading a book in Spanish called "La Sombra del Viento". It's a really popular book in quite a few languages. The truth is it's a pretty easy read for me, but there are some words I've come across so far that I didn't know. Luckily I'm reading it in iBooks, and when I run into those words, I can define them right in the app. However, while I look them up, I can never remember them. I like using flashcards for this purpose, but I can't figure out how to get these words to flash cards without doing them manually one by one.

From this, I have two questions:
1st, has anyone else had this issue? And if so, what have you done to go around it?
2nd, does anyone else have any other methods for going about learning vocabulary in text?

 

Thanks everyone for your help!

Hi and welcome to Linguaholic! Very interesting questions indeed. Let me think about it. I might come up with some answers later. Can't think of a good answers right away, though. 

Best wishes

Lingua

Link to post
Share on other sites

Starting to read a book in a foreign language that you planning to learn, is a good way to get a good grasp on the language. Whenever you encounter a word you don`t understand, just look it up online or use an app. It will stick with you and you just learned a new word in said language.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read a few children´s books in spanish to help learn.  Not really young books because they often have silly words, but stuff like the 10-12 year old age has a really good vocabulary and the sentence structure is pretty simple so you don´t get lost in complex sentences.

Link to post
Share on other sites

First off, welcome to the forums!  

I attempt at reading books in Japanese all the time as a method of immersing myself into the language.  Remembering vocabulary by simply looking up the meaning and writing it down doesn't do anything for me either.  In fact, I find that I have to make use of it a couple of times before the word sticks.  I need to practice saying it, writing it, and reading it.  Then, when I see it or hear it outside of studying, I comprehend it.  So, you're not alone there.  My tip for learning the words in the text that you want to would indeed be writing them down manually.  Other methods can be online flash cards, looking up example sentences from online dictionaries and thesauruses, and writing stories or short blurbs incorporating the words you're learning.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was very young I learned a lot of my vocabulary just from reading comics so by the time I went to school where English was being taught as a standard second language I didn't have much trouble anymore. I think this method is really very helpful indeed as surely books will always have the proper syntax although I guess the biggest drawback is that sometimes the way they are written won't lend themselves well to conversational versions and speaking like it might feel like you are reading off of a Textbook but I suppose it is a good enough start and will surely be very helpful in learning proper structure. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to remember the word and have it stick, then the best option is to manually do it one by one. I know it sucks, but it really helps. I do the same for Japanese... whenever I come across a word I don't know (or even a word I do know, but am shaky on it), I copy it down with the pronunciation and definition. Keeping a "vocabulary list" is a great way to track progress. I love mastering a word and then crossing it out on my list. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have learned vocabulary by reading books in the library and writing down the words that I am unfamiliar with. Then I go into the dictionary and search their meanings and re-read the book I was reading to give it context. I find that when I do it in a contextual way then I can remember the definition a whole lot more than just reading words straight out of the dictionary and not knowing their meanings. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only way I've successfully  memorized new words from a book or magazine is by writing them down in a notebook.  I am actually doing that with new words (English) that I didn't really know before (Since I started playing ''Alice madness returns'' I'm finding more new words).  It might not work for everyone, but it does for me.  I review my list every time I add a new word. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In order to perfect my English language, I read all the time. I read fiction, non-fiction as well as poetry. Probably, I have read more books in English language than the books in my first language. I also honed my Hindi language by reading books. Some of my favorite writers are the ones who write in English and Hindi.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Shawncfer,

> 1st, has anyone else had this issue? And if so, what have you done to go around it?

Definitely. Trying to remember and forgetting the words is something everyone has experienced. But just as impossible to remember all, it's impossible to forget all. 

> 2nd, does anyone else have any other methods for going about learning vocabulary in text?

There are two groups of people: (A) those who prefer rote memory and (B) those who prefer word analysis. Group A like to use flash cards, write new words on sticky paper and paste them around the house, read or listen to the same material repeatedly, etc. Group B like to check the etymology of the new word and/or think of a mnemonic to help remember the word. No doubt many people are between the two extremes. I personally prefer the second method. (See http://yong321.freeshell.org/lsw/) When I see the word, for example, derrotar ("to defeat"), I look up its etymology and realize its root is cognate with rout (as in "rout the enemy"). That helps a lot. But some words definitely can't rely on their origin to help, especially those from Arabic (unless you know Arabic). Then I spend some time thinking of a mnemonic for it.

If you have some specific words, maybe we can discuss how to memorize them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

While reading a book directly in the language you want to learn right off the bat could be useful, another technique I enjoy is taking a book I know already in one language and reading it in a new one. I already know roughly what happens that way so I'm able to sort of fill in the blanks and work out what words mean for myself that way. I find it a very useful technique for learning languages myself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well if you ever try to read a book in a foreign language I personally think that you should get some previous knowledge about the language, some vocabulary and stuff in order to somehow udnerstand whatever the book says without being like WTF? while reading it, it is also a good way to learn new words and all that kind of stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried learning Italian from a book I bought at a yard sale, but it was from the 70s. It was full of outdated slang that people don't use anymore. It is like if I were to go around saying "hip man" and "groovy" all day in America.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What I do is get old books from charity shops or order cheap, and when I come across something I don't know I highlight that word. Sometimes I keep reading without checking it in the dictionary if I can tell what the meaning is through connotation, and then I come back to it when I finish the chapter. If I really need that word, I check it, create a flashcard, put it in Anki or something. 

I feel as though books help me more with my grammar though. 

6 hours ago, sillylucy said:

I tried learning Italian from a book I bought at a yard sale, but it was from the 70s. It was full of outdated slang that people don't use anymore. It is like if I were to go around saying "hip man" and "groovy" all day in America.

Haha, yes people need to be careful of that!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/25/2016 at 5:09 PM, Trellum said:

The only way I've successfully  memorized new words from a book or magazine is by writing them down in a notebook.  I am actually doing that with new words (English) that I didn't really know before (Since I started playing ''Alice madness returns'' I'm finding more new words).  It might not work for everyone, but it does for me.  I review my list every time I add a new word. 

It is one of the reasons most schools teach language this way.  There has already been a lot of research done that shows that writing a word helps you learn it much faster than simply reading it over and over.  I remember taking French in HS and the teacher would have us write the word 10 times...  it felt so mechanical that I didn´t think it helped you learn, but probably the first time you write a word it does help you learn it more.   The other study I saw said that typing the word did not have the same benefit for some reason.

Off-topic, but the same article I was reading said that the mental association was similar to how you can remember somene´s name better, and that is to make sure you are focusing on their face while saying their name.  This is why many people repeat your name while shaking your hand the first time they meet you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was learning english I found out that trying to read a book made me feel too overwhelmed and I often gave up. After a while I used a different approach, I started to read short stories in english on my computer and I installed a program that would allow me to get the meaning of a word by simply clicking on it. When I clicked on it, a small window would pop up and it would show me first the english synonyms ant then the italian meaning. I found it very useful, that way I was able to read longer stories after a while and understand most of what I was reading. It was a slow process but now I'm able to read a whole book without having to look up any word.

I'm using the same method to learn spanish and so far it's working. I think the trick is to pick stories/books that you like so you will be motivated to get to the end of them. I've also found out that e-readers are very useful tools, mine has several in-build vocabularies and it's helping me a lot.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Mary84 said:

When I was learning english I found out that trying to read a book made me feel too overwhelmed and I often gave up. After a while I used a different approach, I started to read short stories in english on my computer and I installed a program that would allow me to get the meaning of a word by simply clicking on it. When I clicked on it, a small window would pop up and it would show me first the english synonyms ant then the italian meaning. I found it very useful, that way I was able to read longer stories after a while and understand most of what I was reading. It was a slow process but now I'm able to read a whole book without having to look up any word.

I'm using the same method to learn spanish and so far it's working. I think the trick is to pick stories/books that you like so you will be motivated to get to the end of them. I've also found out that e-readers are very useful tools, mine has several in-build vocabularies and it's helping me a lot.

reading books is great, but after you have a decent sized vocabulary memorized.   Books allow you to learn things like conjugating verbs and word order placement.  But I do not think books are a great way to learn vocabulary.  Nothing other than straight out memorization works for that.  With books, you can know all the words, but then use the setting of the story to figure out the little sentence nuances and what they mean.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20/4/2016 at 6:52 AM, petesede said:

reading books is great, but after you have a decent sized vocabulary memorized.   Books allow you to learn things like conjugating verbs and word order placement.  But I do not think books are a great way to learn vocabulary.  Nothing other than straight out memorization works for that.  With books, you can know all the words, but then use the setting of the story to figure out the little sentence nuances and what they mean.

That's what I said! :)

My advice would be to read short stories at first because they are less overwhelming than whole books, and when you have a good vocabulary you can go ahead and read the book. Staright out memorization doesn't work for me for example, I get bored after a while and then I give up. I need to contextualize the word and understand its proper usage, I prefer to learn new words while I'm doing something entertaining, I've found out that it's the best approach for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

If you're going to write your new words in a notebook, may I advise that you write the word AND the sentence you saw it in? That's gives you some context when you go to your vocabulary notebook and study. 

Something I like to do in Russian with new words is to find the root the word comes from, and then find other words with that same root. For instance, заявка "application" (one of many meanings) and some other words using the same root:

  • заява "denunciation"
  • заявитель "bidder" "applicant"
  • заявить "to apply"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...

I'm not sure why it's an issue to write down on notecards.  I find that i learn better when I write it down because you practice writing it instead of just memorizing what it looks like.  I do find that I don't like the tablet I have because transferring words and their meanings to the flashcard app is annoying and time consuming.  I have better luck transferring on my computer then sending it to my tablet. 

When writing down text whether it's from a book, newspaper, graphic novel (manga and manhwa), and even subtitles from shows, I put a star next to the slang words. I do this for two reasons, one is that slang definitely ages quickly as mentioned above.  Also, I'm learning Korean and you have to be careful about how you talk to people who are older or of higher status than you out of respect.  Most Asian languages seem to be like that as far as I know.  I reserve slang for very casual informal language and not part of the speech I use in most conversation with people I don't know closely.  Also, I write formal language in black and informal language in blue, because pens in those colors are cheap.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes when I don't know a word, I'll google it and define it. Afterwards, I like to study the word and see if I can dissect it and find a Latin root or find a root that is similar to a root in English. This technique usually works very well for me, although words don't necessarily always have familiar roots. The ones without familiar roots, I just have to memorize.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Similar Content

    • By Pomme_de_Gavin
      Salut! I'm probably more lazy than most, but I've always struggled with remembering vocabulary. I took French in high school and college, and have had an "on and off again" relationship with practicing ever since. There's always so many things I want to do, and French ends up taking a backseat.

      I'm a developer, so me and a few friends made a free chrome extension to fix this. It immerses you in French or Spanish vocabulary on any website you visit. It's a pretty cool way to pick up new words, and it's really subtle, so you can keep it on for months at a time - and stay up to date with your vocab forever! We'd love it if you gave it a shot and let us know how we could make it even better for language learners

      Check it out here! www.usefluent.co

    • By tessietoto
      Hi everyone,
      We'd like to introduce a website to help learners improve their English at https://lingonut.com.
      Lingonut helps you learn by reading and listening to fun and educational news. Each article comes with vocabulary notes and a quiz. In the future, learners can also save these notes to track their learning.
      We're working hard to make the website a useful learning platform. Please let us know if you have any suggestions!
      Hope this helps! Good luck and have fun learning!
    • By Alena
      Hi everyone, 
      I wrote an article where I collected my thoughts & my friends' experience on the most powerful approaches to improve vocabulary and empower language learning. Check it here https://wordy.tilda.ws/how-to-improve-vocabulary.
      Hope you will find it useful and entertaining! 
      That would be interesting to know your approaches as well 
    • By Alena
      Hi all, 
      We are a group of enthusiasts whose hobby is language learning. We know how difficult it could be to learn new language and improve vocabulary, so we decided to build an app that will always be with you and will allow to quickly add the words you meet while learning language. 
      So far we are preparing the following ways to add new words: 
      by typing them with a keyboard (usual way for most of flashcards) by taking the picture (you will be able to take a photo from a book and add several words in a row, translation can be added automatically)  by speaking them / from the audio  We are now preparing Beta version of Wordy Flashcards app and will be ready to release it in AppStore soon, please check it at Wordy Flashcards Generator web page . 

      Look forward to your contribution! 
    • By Kam
      Could you help me, how can I improve my speaking task:
       
      From my point of view, the Polish education system has many failings, but the main failing is an attitude of many teachers in Polish schools. Firstly, the relation between student and teacher is too weak. It means that the teacher should discuss more with students. Moreover, the teacher ought to teach more individually. For example, if some students have many problems with speaking, the teacher should help him by giving advice, how to improve his speaking. I mean that the teacher should not only point out mistakes but also the teacher ought to help how to resolve the problem. In this case, the problem of students’ speaking. In other words, the teacher should be an instructor, who gives the student a helping hand.
      A few years ago I heard in some English Podcast that ‘teaching is not just testing”. I totally agree with this statement. The most important value of teaching should be helping how to improve students’ abilities. That is why, I think, that the teachers and lecturers should reduce the number of tests during the school or the academic year.
      Let’s move on to another disadvantage of the Polish education system. Personally speaking, I think that a core curriculum is inappropriate. In Polish middle schools, secondary schools and universities there are many unnecessary subjects, which are time-consuming, for instance: chemistry, Information Technology or biology.  If some students are not keen on this subjects, and they are sure that these subjects are not their cup of tea, they should learn at the same time their preferred subjects such us English or Mathematics  to polish up their abilities. If a student is not a biology fan, he should not waste their time in a subject which is not prospective for him or her.
      The best solution to solve this problem is a new curriculum. The student is aware which subjects can be useful for him in the future, and which subjects are completely unnecessary for him or her.
      To sum up, if we want to improve the Polish education system, Polish teachers should be more patient and should work with students more individually instead of working in groups. I do not want to criticize working in groups, but in my opinion, working in groups is less effective than individual work. What is more, teachers should reduce the number of tests because the tests take too much time. As I meant, the core curriculum should be also changed because there are too many unnecessary subjects.
×
×
  • Create New...
The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...