As you are developing your Spanish vocabulary and Spanish skills, one helpful trick to speed up your progress is leveraging your prior knowledge using a few simple tricks.
When you are practicing or speaking in Spanish, you will not be able to access to every word in your vocabulary in an instant – you may, in fact, find yourself regularly forgetting words have already learnt completely.
You can avoid awkward pauses or give a sense of a higher skill level by practicing a very different skill to simple rote memorisation of vocabulary.
Remember the game Taboo?
The aim of the game is to describe a word without using similar words provided on the game card.
Here are a few examples, you have to describe the word above the line without using the words below the line:
I played this game at Spanish class when I was attending regular lessons. Its a great game and a useful skill for stretching your mental muscle.
In the class I pulled this word: La Ventana – Window
Before I tell you how I described it, what would you use with your already existing Spanish vocabulary to describe a window?
I described it as follows and I stopped when someone got the answer …
“En un edificio, hay cosas que puedes usar a ver fuera…”
And that was enough, someone in the class guessed it straight away. The vocab that I used was not complicated, it just took a little creative thinking to find another way of describing a window.
Try to practice this technique often. Once you have developed this skill it is a very powerful way to keep the flow of a conversation going without losing momentum. You won’t have to stop and look up a word or ask if the person speaks english.
Next time you have an opportunity, find a friend that is also learning Spanish and practice this skill. Pick 10 words at random from a Spanish dictionary and see if you can describe them with the vocabulary that you have already have attained.
As you get better with this technique you will find that you can express a whole range of ideas and concepts without learning any more vocabulary.
Connecting vocab like this could open new doors, and help create new links to new words that you have never learnt before.
Here are a few more examples that I put to you as a challenge:
How could you describe the color orange? La naranja
How could you describe the sea? El mar
How could you describe hot food? La comida caliente
How could you describe being sad? Triste
How could you describe a pen and paper? Lápiz y papel
There are hundreds of ways of describing these words and once you have developed the skill, finding them will get easier.
What can you come up with for the above, leave a comment below I would love to see how you would describe them.