Building a Large Spanish Vocabulary
Someone might ask the question, "How long do I have to work on my Spanish vocabulary?". Well, as someone who's been speaking Spanish as a second language for about 20 years, my answer is never. As Spanish speakers, we always want to be interested in building new words and phrases into our vocabularies. Getting better at Spanish is challenging and keeps it interesting. Anyway, that's the goal of this lesson -- to give you tools and ideas on how to build a very large vocabulary of Spanish words.
Words with the speaker symbol have been recorded by a native Spanish speaker.
Speak and Write New Words
For folks starting out learning Spanish, a great way to build a huge vocabulary quickly is by learning lists. Lists of colors, days of the week, months of the year, seasons, hobbies, body parts, household items, car parts, planets, -- any list you can get your hands on is a good list to learn.
Even before you begin studying Spanish, you already know a lot of Spanish words amigo. Use cognates to your advantage and increase your vocabulary -- you can get more information on cognates and some examples on this page about cognates.
Read, Read, Read
There is Spanish reading material for beginner, intermediate, and advanced Spanish readers. And reading is one of the best ways to increase your vocabulary. Newspapers, magazines, fiction books, non-fiction books -- Read what interests you. Think about what you like to read in English...Chances are very good you can find Spanish material about what interests you.
I'm a big fan of compulsive note-taking -- although I work with computers a lot, I still like to write notes to myself with old fashioned pen and paper -- so it comes easy to me to write down a new Spanish word I hear, and later look it up and memorize its meaning. If you can do it, this is a great habit to get into for building Spanish vocabulary.
To Remember it, Write it out
Of course, no one wants to forget new words and loose the hard work they've done to learn them. Many times, you are exposed to new words by seeing them with your eyes and/or hearing them with your ears -- now, really help plant those new words in your mind by writing them on paper. By regularly using and writing new vocabulary words, you increase your chances of remembering those new words for when you need them.