Learning Spanish vocabulary or the vocabulary of any language is a big task. Put simply—it takes focused effort overtime.
But there are ways to increase the effectiveness of your vocabulary learning process.
In this week’s mindset podcast, I introduce an idea called deliberate versus emergent strategy for vocabulary acquisition.
The idea is that you learn vocabulary through two basic approaches:
- Words you learn deliberately and,
- Words you learn by accident.
What do I mean by learn by accident? As you practice, you will stumble across new words in a random way.
When you listen to podcasts or read newspaper articles or catch up with Spanish friends you will be exposed to lots of opportunities to discover new words. Those new words will likely be very different to another Spanish student practicing in a similar way to you.
Imagine two Spanish students pick up a Spanish newspaper. They both choose an article on a topic they like. Hopefully they choose different articles. They then spend an hour reading and looking up the words they discover in the articles.
After an hour both students will have learned new words. It is very likely the words will be pretty different. And, they will be words that the two students did not plan to learn before they started reading. This is an example of what I call emergent vocabulary acquisition.
On the other side, a deliberate vocabulary learning strategy is a process where you choose a set of new words to learn deliberately. You make vocabulary lists and you schedule time to sit down to learn these planned sets of words.
All Spanish students are going to learn vocabulary through one of these two methods.
In addition, you need both methods to be successful at acquiring a rich Spanish vocabulary in the long run.
But, if you want to be more effective—speak Spanish faster, you should focus on how you go about your deliberate efforts.
The strategy you have the most control over is the deliberate strategy. The emergent strategy is by its nature is random.
In today’s podcast, I will talk about these two methods and how you can refine your deliberate strategy for learning vocabulary more effectively.
Quote from the episode:
“Effectiveness — often even survival — does not depend solely on how much effort we expend, but on whether or not the effort we expend is in the right jungle.” – Stephen Covey.
What are your deliberate and emergent strategies for learning Spanish vocabulary?