Community Web Version Now Available
Professional Teacher
Vocabulary - how do you proceed with new words?

Once I've learned a word I usually remember it. But how do I learn them to begin with?


I can't learn new words easily. I try to memorize lists, I try to create a context for new words in short phrases, I use flashcards, I scribble them on images, I draw related scenes, I stick post-it notes, I circle them in texts... No substantial results.


As I can't learn any other part of the language (e.g. grammar) if it's not associated to a familiar phrase, I always fall behind in my lessons because I forget the new words. It is very frustrating.


(I did try to disconnect grammar from vocabulary, but I ended up with empty rules in my head, with no meaning and no visible use.)

Feb 6, 2015 7:03 PM
Comments · 5

Thank you again Martin!

February 8, 2015


It is not required to spend 20 minutes per day. You can do this once per week if you want! But doing it several times per week will, of course, speed up the process! But using the goldlist method, it's important not to review the word list before 2 weeks, because the words should be stored in your long-term memory. If you start reviewing too fast, you will use your short-term memory, so the words will disappear after a few months. But if you review after a longer period, for example two weeks, a month or half a year even, the words are gone from your short-term memory, and your review will strengthen the words in your long-term memory instead! :)

February 8, 2015

Thank you Martin, I have just read what you mentioned. 

I started learning Portuguese in 2010 ,and at that time I used to write lists of words,10 new words a day.  I repeated  them several times that same day, and then some days after I used to read that list again.And it worked for me to learn those words. One day I was studying Portuguese grammar,  the variable and invariable parts of the sentence,and  I thought:"What I´m doing? I need to do this with Russian." And I started to study Russian again, and now I have a large amount of sheets of papers with words.

Now thanks to this discussion,I will try to use the Gold List.



February 8, 2015

Thanks, Martin, this had some usable advice.

I have one objection, though, about study time.


People who have trouble concentrating can't accomplish much in a short time. So, if they study for 20 minutes they really may have not even started yet and need a couple of hours to obtain what a concentrated mind would accomplish in 20'. If they interrupt, they will need additional time to concentrate again.

February 7, 2015

I have used the Goldlist Method with success. You can read about it here:


February 6, 2015
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Greek, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), German, Russian, Spanish