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Do you think it is better to learn just one meaning from each word or learn all the meanings at once?
When a word have like 5 meanings, it feels like I'm learning 5 new different words.
May 23, 2020 4:38 PM
Comments · 6
The best is to learn words in context and then only learn the meaning necessary for that text. Otherwise you're overwhleming your brain. You'll add the other meanings later automatically when you come across the word again in another context.
May 23, 2020
Neil writes:
“When a word have like 5 meanings, it feels like I'm learning 5 new different words.”

Often the meanings are related, but when they’re different, I agree with you - it is like learning five words. In that case, it is useful to study them as five separate words, learning the meanings in order of usefulness to you. Miriam says how to do this in her comment, and I agree wholeheartedly. It's not clear how she got downvoted, but here’s a thumbs-up from me.

By the way, Neil, I find sentence structure and pronunciation to be key for my Brazilian students learning English. As the English has a lot of Latin vocabulary, lexicon is usually the easiest part.
May 23, 2020
For all it's worth: I share Miriam's, Phil's and Sunny's views.

@Phil: As for the downvote; I think Miriam made the mistake to come to Nikola's and my aid in another thread, thus subjecting herself to the wrath of our dedicated downvoters.
May 23, 2020
I agree with Miriam. Just drilling yourself in all the meanings of the word at once is not productive or useful in any way. I used to make this mistake when I was just starting learning English. I still remember how I would write down all the meanings of "put up" or "get" and I spent unnecessary amounts of time trying to emboss every meaning onto the back of my eyelids, which still resulted in my not being able to use the word properly, which of course left me frustrated and consternated. Nowadays I learn new words only through context, e.g. I see the word "spoil" in the sentence "the thieves divvied up the spoils", then I practice making sentences with the word in this specific meaning only. Then later, for example, when I see the same word but in the sentence "Don't spoil the ending [of the movie]!", I practice making sentences with it where spoil means ruin, and so on. This is way more useful. Just like Rome, your vocabulary can't be built in a day, it builds up over time as you come across the same word in different contexts and situations, so you master the language from the bottom up.
May 23, 2020
Most of the time I find that the different meanings of a word are related in some way. I look to see how this is. I don't think you can really learn a new word just that first time. I use flashcards and see it over and over. I also make sentences to use it in context.
May 23, 2020
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Language Skills
English, Portuguese
Learning Language