I did it my way!

How did you get on with learning your first 20 words? Haven’t tested yourself yet? Don’t panic! Get a blank piece of paper and try and picture them and just go for it. Who knows? You might even come up with some new words that you’d forgotten you knew!

When I tried to write my words out from memory today, my head hurt! I’m no neurosurgeon, but I can guarantee that I was flexing a brain muscle that hadn’t been used for a while. They say that learning a new language can delay the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s by several years and today I could actually feel why. I also felt a small thrill as I checked each word in the dictionary; a little frisson of fear of getting it wrong, but as I ticked off each word, a sense of achievement grew. And then I had it – a perfect 20 out of 20. It isn’t often that we can get something perfect as an adult and it felt rather fantastic!

As I checked each word in the dictionary, I tried something new. Nearly every language method that I have come across teaches topic based vocabulary (including my own). But I decided to unleash my curiosity instead. For every original word, I looked one up that caught my interest; either because it started with similar letters, or for its usefulness, or that I was simply curious about. So when I looked up ‘drink’=la bebida I decided that ‘to drink’=beber would be useful. When I looked up ‘knife’, I must confess my eyes were drawn to ‘knickers’ =las bragas.

Original vocabulary Wild Vocabulary I looked up
1. La bebida=the drink beber=to drink
2. La taza=the cup
3. El tenedor=the fork tener = to hold
4. El cuchilla=the knife la cucharilla = spoon
las bragas
5. La leche=the milk
6. El café=the coffee
7. El zumo=the juice la manzana=the apple
8. La cerveza=the beer la botella=the bottle
9. La mantequilla=the butter
10. La mermelada=the jam el embotellamiento=the traffic jam
11. El azúcar=the sugar azucaro/a=sugary
12. El vino=the wine
13. El vaso=glass
14. El aeropuerto=the airport el avión=the plane
15. El coche=the car
16. El autobús=the bus la parada de autobús=bus stop
17. La casa=the house casar=to marry
18. La piscina=the swimming pool nadar=to swim
19. El perro=the dog
20. El gato=the cat

Challenge: Go wild with your dictionary. Look ‘around’ your original words and come up with 10 that you are interested in. You are far more likely to remember words that you have learned in an active way like this, than those that are chosen for you. You might also want to start sticking your post-its on the thing that they describe