How to learn vocabulary – Introduction
This is supposed to be a guide on how to learn vocabulary, especially using an app called Anki, from my own experience with it. It’s essentially for people who are looking for a method of learning vocabulary, but I believe it can be just as helpful for anyone who is learning a language. At least I tried my best to make it that way. Although I am talking a lot about Anki here, most points are universal and about vocabulary learning in general so I believe this may still be helpful for people who prefer things like Memrise, Clozemaster, Tinycards etc. Also if you keep saying things like “I don’t like flashcards”, you should read it even more. I hated the idea of flashcards too, but the ones I’m talking about here are nothing like the flashcards you have in mind.
I've seen quite a lot of people asking regularly on the forum for help with learning vocabulary and a few people have asked me about it personally so I've been thinking about writing such a guide for a while. I thought it could be a good moment when I saw someone asking for advice on that referring to the methods from the book Fluent Forever. I've read this book some time ago and I still think it was the second best thing that happened to my languauge learning so far (right after Duolingo), so I can't recommend it more. I know this guide may look intimidatingly long and it may take a while to read it but I hope it will help those who get through to the end at least half as much as that book helped me. I've learned myself that you can save at least a year of ineffective learning when you decide to spend a few days reading such a book. And I do believe learning vocabulary is the most important thing in language learning. I tried to make it shorter and leave only the most important points so I hope it will take less than a few days to read this :D It’s shorter than most of all those ridiculous grammar guides, anyway. I hope writing it will also be helpful for me, because it will be much easier for me to help people asking about this topic.
I’ve split this into a few major topics and described each one briefly under the headline. Some of them contain universal points about learning vocabulary in general while some are technical things for Anki. You can skip those if you don’t want to use this app (though I highly recommend giving it a try!).
(I will be referring a lot to the book I've mentioned but it isn't a summary of it or anything like that. In fact this post is essentially an answer to the question "are Anki and the methods from that book actually good?". Learning vocabulary is one of the things I've worked on the most during my language learning so I wanted to share my experience with that.)
I’ve split this into two posts (plus this introduction) because I thought it could get laggy like some posts on the forum do. Besides, it should be more comfortable to read this way. I’ll put the links to the two parts below. Thank you for reading :)