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Learning Tip for Beginners (A2) in ANY language (especially self-taught learners)

As beginners we often think we just don't know anything. We feel we can't make sentences due to our limited vocabulary and we sound like children.

Quite often, we're wrong!  We know more than we think, but we are overwhelmed by more advanced texts and dialogs which make us unsure of our own abilities. Here is a tip for proving to yourself how much you DO know, and expanding your vocabulary at the same time. 

Step 1:

Try to think of 10 verbs for each letter of the alphabet and write them in a list. Here is my list for Welsh...

A: aros, ailgylchu, arafu, anafu, addo, ateb

B: bwyta, bwydo, byw, brwsio

See...I don't know 10 verbs for either A or B. But now I am very sure which verbs I DO know, because I was able to list them myself without looking at any reference material.  (Of course, some letters, like X, will not have any verbs. Just skip those. If you are learning a language that does not have an alphabet, you can adapt this for characters or sounds. )

Step 2: 

Look in a dictionary and find verbs that start with that letter that you want to know and look useful to you personally, and add them to your list. (Sometimes you will find a verb that you know, but didn't think of...add it! ) Here is what my "A" looks like now... 

A: aros, ailgylchu, arafu, anafu, addo, ateb, arbed = to save, awgrymu = to suggest, archebu = to order sth, adeiladu = to build

Don't forget to cross-reference these verbs to make sure you have the correct translations.

Step 3:

Learn your new verbs by your normal method. Do you use Anki, Memrise or Quizlet? Then make sets. Make a new list a month or two later to see how many you can list again. I assure you, it will be a much longer list! 

What is the benefit of this??

Unlike with a word list you can find in a book or website, this lists shows you your exact current knowledge and allows you to build a personalized vocabulary. We all speak differently and use certain words and phrases more frequently than other people. This is an organized method of helping you find which words you need to express your style,  and not what a teacher or linguist who wrote a vocabulary book tells you that you need. 

Verbs are the power stations of a sentence, so it makes sense to get a good collection of verbs as a beginner. This will make you sound like less of a child. However, this method can be used for adjectives/adverbs  when you are more advanced. It can also be used to review words you have learned before, but have forgotten.

Happy Learning!

3 مارس 2018 06:06
Comments · 7
Thank a lot, Berengaria. Excellent idea.
3 مارس 2018

Everyone is so busy making verb lists now, adding new verbs from their dictionaries and making targeted lists on memrise that they have no time left to reply to your post.

I think your advice is really appropriate for A2 students.

3 مارس 2018
3 مارس 2018
I really like this idea.
3 مارس 2018
Good idea for any level of learning!
3 مارس 2018
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Language Skills
Danish, Dutch, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Welsh
Learning Language
Danish, Dutch, Italian, Welsh