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How to learn a language
How to learn a language

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Week 6: Vocabulary


This week of the course is written by Tita Beaven.

Do you know how many words there are in English? And how many words there are in the language you want to learn? How many words do you need to know to speak a language? And what does it mean to know a word anyway?

Why is learning vocabulary important, and does the size of your vocabulary really matter that much? According to research, vocabulary size is one of the greatest predictors of both first and second language reading comprehension, and is a central aspect of second language learning. This week, you will start by looking at the above questions in a bit more detail. However, if you have tried learning a new language, you probably find remembering the vocabulary really tough, so this week I will also talk you through how your memory works, and you'll learn some memory techniques.

By the end of this week you will be able to:

  • estimate the number of words you need to learn in a language
  • differentiate between receptive and productive vocabulary
  • engage with different strategies to remember new words
  • engage with different ways to retrieve vocabulary you have learned.