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betita03

Increasing Spanish Vocabulary

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Just like learning other languages, in order to increase our Spanish vocabulary we must use it often as we can. Speaking to someone who is fluent with it is one of the ways to increase vocabulary. We should also try using it in writing stories or articles. A Spanish dictionary in our side is a great aid as we journey in learning Spanish.

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Some people find Ilya Frank’s Reading Method quite helpful for increasing vocabulary. Just google it. I have a couple of books, but they are for Russian speakers, so I can't recommend them. I'm sure he has a selection of books for English speakers who learn Spanish as well.

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Find nice ballads in Spanish and try to decipher by yourself the lyrics. Don't look for the lyrics online or in videos, the idea is to train your ear. It is very rewarding doing it on your own and it helps training the ear.

I also suggest to turn off the subtitles if it is a movie you've seen before.

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I found listening to the radio very helpful, too, both actively as well as in the background.  I would listen to kinds of radio formats -- talk radio, news, music, etc. -- so as to immerse myself in the language.  When I heard unfamiliar words, I would look them up and learn how to spell, pronounce and use them in the proper context. 

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I also suggest to turn off the subtitles if it is a movie you've seen before.

This is definitely helpful and something that I do when I can.  It helps immensely if you already know the context when the words start flowing. 

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I also found that doing translations helped me increase my vocabulary when I was studying Spanish.  I had a particular interest in poetry and so I would try my hand at translating poems in Spanish to English. 

Translating is a more active process than just listening to the language or reading -- which both have their benefits, of course -- as I would look up words that I didn't know.  I seemed to retain these new words pretty well. 

After I did my translations, I would then compare them to the official translations and that was yet another learning experience. 

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I homeschool my son and am doing my best to teach him basic Spanish (Hahaha! The blind leading the blind!) along with his other subjects, so with his programs I'm learning new vocabulary and alternate words for words I already know. I also have a good vocabulary book that breaks down various categories for words in Spanish, and I just picked one and am going to try to learn the categories one-by-one.

Tonight, I'm actually spending time looking for hymns and Christian songs that I already know in English to help me learn the words in Spanish. I plan to buy the mp3s so I can listen to them in the car, and my son will benefit from this also. One set I've found seems to be pretty good, because they want to preserve the message behind the songs as much as possible, so the translation is pretty close to the English, unlike general Spanish-translated songs I've heard.

There are so many different options and resources available now, it's just a matter of figuring out what I like and what works best for me - and then having the time, of course, to spend on it.

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Well listening to Spanish radio is a good way to increase your vocabulary. Then you get all the slang and the up to date contexts so you know how to use the words. Also I like watching movies in Spanish.

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Thanks for the tip as I don't often practice Spanish while I write nor while speaking with others. I can see that to be very helpful, but what if you aren't as fluent as they are? I can't seem to keep up when listening to my colleagues that speak Spanish fluently.

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I make a point of watching movies in Spanish all the time. I've also bought books in Spanish that I've already read in English, so that, while I'm reading, if I get stumped I can refer back or use context that I'm already aware of to parse out the meaning of something I don't know. It's not quite translation but it's more active than just listening -- and a little less time consuming of course. I also like attempting to read without directly translating because it helps me curb the impulse to simply have an equivalent for every word in Spanish that I see rather than understanding Spanish on its own.

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The best way would be to speak with a Spanish speaking person yes? What is the word for that - like Francophone for people who speak French?

If any of you are interested in skyping with me, do ping, and I shall respond. :)

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While it's not perfect, there's a pretty cool little extension for google chrome (and probably for other browsers if you look for it) called "language emersion." It replaces words at the rate you set, like 3/4 of the page etc., and puts them in the language you are learning. If you don't know the word, you can hover over it and see the google translate definition. Google Translate is not the best, so this has some translating issues, but it's overall a very cool way to learn.

Also, radio is a great way to learn new Spanish as well.

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I keep a language notebook, writing things down by hand. (Helps retain in the memory better that way.) When I watch movies on DVD, sometimes I put on subtitles in Spanish, or set it so the movie uses the Spanish dub. I usually do this with movies I have watched a lot and know by heart. That way I don't have to stop and try to remember what they were saying in English.

Other than that, a little TV in Spanish, which I started again recently. And some music. But I find music the hardest, so I listen to slow ones when I can, or look up lyrics online and try to follow along.

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You can also do what I do... write all the new words you learn in your notebook and keep it nearby.  Check the list daily and try to use those new words as much as possible, both in the written and spoken form :)  As you said practicing the language is important, for me the vital part of learning English was when I used it as much as possible in the written form, then I did it in the spoken form and everything went much smoother then.

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I agree completely with the comments about immersing yourself in the language - radio, television, movies and books are a great way to give you the motivation to look up that word you don't recognise yet. Another cool way I've found is using Flash Card sites on the Internet like Quizlet which have lists of e.g. the top 1000 Spanish words and use a tried and trusted memorising method to increase your vocabulary.

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Reading and watching movies in Spanish should not be neglected either :)

I agree, because this is how I'm unintentionally learning Spanish, thru watching movies that have Spanish dialogues in them and by reading the subtitle. Sometimes, some English shows that I watch also have some Spanish lines that get translated in English, but I learn better when I repeteadly hear the word and see it's translation, like the word "que" for example. I hear it all the time.

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