Guest Post - Frequency Dictionaries are your Best Friend!!!

Hey.

Today we're starting with a guest post from Melissa. She is a polyglot who has been studying languages for over 9 years. I really liked her e-mail so I thought it would be nice to share it with you too:

 

Frequency Dictionaries are your Best Friend!!!

 

I could scream this at the top of my lungs a million times. 

 

When people don't know where to start learning vocabulary, I tell them this: 

 

Buy a Frequency Dictionary right NOW for your target language with the top 5,000 or so words and start dissecting it. 

 

This can even be helpful for those of you who are Intermediate to Advanced levels!

 

These are my personal favorite things to do, to get the most out of a frequency dictionary. 

 

How to use Frequency Dictionaries to help you learn any language:

 

  1. For beginners, know that there will be some words that you are likely not to understand how they function in a sentence, but that is normal.

    Some frequency dictionaries have sample sentences build in, and some do not.

    If you have a frequency dictionary that does not provide sample sentences, you should try and find a native speaker who can help you learn how to use it in a sentence. And you should choose how many words you want to do a day, and try to stick to that number.


  2.  Create five sentences for each word and have your native speaker check them.

    And as well, ask them to provide you with sentences in which they use that word in their everyday conversations.


  3. After doing about 100 words, go back through them, and now draw [an image of] one sentence that you made for each word.

    If you are not very artistically inclined, print out pictures to create the scene or Photoshop some pics together.

    Sometimes, there will be sentences where it will be hard to give them images, if there is a will there is a way: do it anyway.

    Don't choose the easy sentences to avoid having to come up with pictures for the hard ones because the more you think and search for the images to associate with the sentence, the more that sentence becomes ingrained in your head.

    Which also means, you will remember that grammar structure and those words and what those words mean.


  4. Repeat the steps above until you hit the end of your dictionary. You'd be amazed at how many words you will remember by the end because of these exercises. You will also have an enormous awesome collage of pictures ;) 

 

For Extra Credit Students Only:

 

  • A) For those of you who wish to go the extra mile, create a story that incorporates at least five (aim for more if you can!) of those sentences you just created pictures for and read it aloud to your native friend. Discuss it with them; make sure it is coherent.

  • B) The more than extra mile, now add images to the entire story you just wrote. You can use the same pictures you used for some of the sentences before if they still make sense within the context of the story, but these may need to change. 



You may now be looking at your computer screen and telling me I'm crazy.

 

Still, one last thing I would like to say is, for those of you who don't know who I am (and that is probably all who read this lol): I've been studying languages for about nine years now and trust me when I say that I have made a million errors learning languages, so I am providing you with a way to learn from them. 

 

It has been proven that associating imagery with words in a foreign language is infinitely more efficient than merely translating those words. 

 

Good luck and happy studying!