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Fun Ways To Expand Your Vocabulary In Spanish

               
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        The word, school is, in my opinion, synonymous with the word, boring. Even if you find your Spanish class interesting, more times than not, the teachers teach it in a way that does not keep you interested at all. As a result of this, we do not learn as much as we should nor as much as we could. Here, I will teach you some fun ways to expand your vocabulary in Spanish.

1. Music Methods 

        For me, music means fun. For those of you who have musical talents, and a passion for learning Spanish, it could be fun to combine the two together to expand your vocabulary. Below, you can check out my list of possible activities.

Freestyle Rapping
  • The musical Spanish learning activity that was the most fun for me was freestyling. For those of you who do not know, Freestyling is what many rappers do, when they put on an instrumental and improvise a rap to it. This has been big in the United States for decades, but in the Dominican Republic, it is fairly new. In Spanish they actually call it "Improvisando" or "improvisar" in the infinitive form. The way that I would freestyle to learn new vocabulary words was to make a list of those words, find out their meaning, and then to put them to use. I would put on a beat, and rap sentences using those words. This is a great exercise, because not only are you learning words, but your brain is also working as it would in a typical face to face conversation in which you typically take a few seconds to respond to someone. 

Here is a video of Mozart La Para "improvisando" with random words.

  • For those who do not think that they can freestyle, You can also watch freestyles in Spanish, and then generate a list of new words that you heard during that freestyle. It is very hard to understand exactly everything that the artists say, because of slang, but if you get the gist of it, I'd say you are in a pretty good spot. If you can not get the gist of it, do not get discouraged. Just keep trying. 
Translation Of Songs
  • Another musical learning technique is to translate songs from English to Spanish, or Spanish to English. This is kind of similar to the previously mentioned technique, but different at the same time. I think that translating songs is much easier than translating a freestyle. When a rapper is freestyling in another language, you don't really know what will come out of their mouth next, but when listen to music, most times you will already know what the song is about. It usually doesn't jump from topic to topic. Also not everyone likes Rap, so translating songs gives you a lot more variety and keeps you engaged because you get to hear what you like. 
2. Active Methods

        For those of you who are extroverted and would like to do something more than just sit around and listen with music all day, there are a few activities to that you can do to keep you active and entertained as well. 

TPR
  • The most active way to expand your Spanish vocabulary is a method called TPR, which stands for Total Physical Response. This technique requires you to have either a native Spanish speaker or a buddy who knows a lot more Spanish than you, to help you out. TPR does not use English to teach Spanish at all, and is the closest you can get to being immersed in Spanish. The way it works is, to review a list of Spanish vocabulary words. Then your helper will give you a command in Spanish, and you have to do that command. If your action in response to that command is wrong then the helper will tell you in that Spanish that it is wrong and you will have another opportunity to get it right. For Example, here is a list of silverware in Spanish; cuchara, cuchillo, y tenedor (spoon, knife, and fork). Your helper will tell you,"Agarra la cuchara." (Grab the spoon) If you reach for the knife, the helper tells you, "No, no es la cuchara. Eso es el cuchillo." (No that's not the spoon. That's the knife)  Then you will have to try again.  I think this method is the most effective of them all. 
Interview a Spanish Speaker
  • Another active extroverted way to expand your vocabulary is interview a native Spanish speaker. You can pick a topic and ask them questions, while you record the conversation. Later you can review the conversation, and anything that is unknown to you can be noted, so that you can study it.
Word Games

A game of Scrabble can help tremendously.
  • If you have friends who can help you, word games can be a fun way to learn. For example, you can play charades, but instead of using gestures, the Spanish word or phrase would have to be explained in Spanish, until someone guesses it correctly. Scrabble would also be a great game to play as it helps not only with vocabulary but also with spelling. you could make it a little more interesting by having to define the word that is spelled, and using it in a sentence correctly. 

Pick Up Lines/Tongue Twisters.
  • I know it sounds weird, but pick up lines (Piropos in Spanish)  and tongue twisters (Trabalenguas) can help expand vocabulary in a fun way as well. They are structured weird, and sometimes use words with double meanings. They will definitely keep you engaged. 
3. Traditional Methods

        For all of those calm, introverted people, traditional methods may work perfect for you. These methods are the same ones used in school, but they are used in a different way, where you are in control of them.

Books

  • If you love reading, then books are a fantastic way to expand your Spanish vocabulary. The only reason that books seem to bore us in our classes is because, we do not get to choose them most of the time. The teacher usually chooses some old piece of literature that we can not relate to nor enjoy, but when the power is in your hands, you can read whatever you want and get so much more out of it. There are many genres to choose from. I would recommend reading The Bible, and Don Quixote de la Mancha, because they are full of vocabulary words, and they both have versions in Spanish. (They are also the most read books in the world!)
Writing
  • Writing is very fundamental, but yet a great way to retain new words. There are a variety of ways to write things. I used to get a list of new vocabulary words, and make a poem using those words. If you do not like poetry, but you still like writing, you can get a list of new vocabulary words, and write a short story using them. You could even write and essay. It doesn't matter what you write as long as you are trying. 
Conclusion

        The next time you are feeling burned out because your language class is so boring, try one of these methods to reawaken your Spanish learning drive.

Comments

  1. I like the tongue twister idea. Is it possible to have a or recording of you doing it, as a point of reference?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for checking out the post. And of course it is possible. I'll have it up this week.

      Delete

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