Download PDF – French vocabulary : How to learn and memorize it ?

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Use writing

Write the words you want to memorize, several times in French and in English. Then, take a sheet of paper, write the word in English and try to write properly the words in French.

Word of the day

Another funny way, if you do not want to/can not learn a lot, if you do not have to study for an exam, is to choose at least one word for each day, but you can choose two ou three words at the same time. Your goal is to remember those words well at the end of the week. Do not forget to put them in sentences, in a context. Making mental picture, and for example imagine yourself in the picture.

Use illustrations

You can use a dictionary with pictures, flashcards or textbooks or workbooks that provide images with the vocab. Making an association between the image and the word. Maybe creating a mental picture which takes place in a context, for axample, the word is « house », and beside the word there is the picture of it, instead of just thinking the word and the picture, you can have the imagination of yourself going into the house. It will give to the mental picture an emotionnal load that makes the remembering better.

Learners : learn french vocabulary with pictures for lessons and vocabulary

Study French with an audio support

Some people have difficulties to remember the vocabulary, expressions when they study it with workbooks or with long French movies or videos. If you really want to study with movies I suggest you to take a short one. An effective way is to listening to songs with the lyrics, it is easier. Then, you can listen to the songs without the lyrics. Another way is to listening to audiobooks, short ones are the best, or find play lists on the internet. Some textbooks (but not everytime) provide CDs so you can train your oral comprehension and pronunciation. You can also find nice French videos on youtube.

Take the moment which is the best for you to memorize   

For some people it is easier to study in the morning, they learn better and faster, for some others the best time is during the evening, or before going to bed. We all have a different way to retain the information, so pay attention to that before beginning to learn something new. Use the better time to take advantage of it, to get more fluency.

Find an app that you like using it

It could be an app or a website : Memrise, Duolingo, Anki, Mosalingua are the famous ones. You can use them on your mobile phone or your computer. Some of them, maybe all ones (I am sure for Duolingo) use one of the best memory techniques which is the spaced repetition system, it is the well known method for the long-term memorization. I mean they organize the words for the learner, they give them back to him just before he is about to forget them, so if you practice everyday you will get the vocab quickly. You can use them to learn French writing, to practice the speaking and increasing your word-stock. For more fluency, to have like an immersion-like experience.

Students, learners : learning french books for children for vocabulary

Study with cognates

Cognates are words that have the same sound and the same meanings in the two languages. I suggest you to create a list of French words and another one with the translation in English, in two columns , one column for the French words and one for the English words. To exercise you can hide one column and try to find the correct word in the other language.

Here is an example :

Kilomètre Liberté

You have to repeat the vocabulary

This is THE memory techniques to know to learn and memorize vocabulary fast. When you learn them for the first time, the words and expressions goes in your short term memory. With a daily repetition (several times a day but fort a short period of time) you will store them in your long-term memory. It is more efficient to study a few minutes a day than three hours in one time, in one day, in one week. In this way you will not break your mind, everytime you will have enough strength to study and remember well.

Memorize words that share the same root at the same time

Let us see an example with the word chanter (to sing) → chanteur/chanteuse (singer). The root that they share is chante. You can make links between them easily, so you can remember them easily. I suggest you look for that kind of words and putting them in your daily learning routine.

Poire (Pear)
Poterie (Pottery)
Jardin (Garden)
Jour (Day)
Grand (Tall, big)
Rue (Street)
Douce (Soft)
Simple (Simple)
Agriculture (Agriculture)
Marin (Marine)

Students : learn french verbs for pronunciation and vocabulary

Do not try to study all the words of a given list, first find the most useful ones, learn them while putting them into sentences, in a context, use your imagination. Better than that, put them in a little story. When you have mastered them, study the other words.  

Have a look at others articles to find resources with lessons, flashcards, to be like in immersion, to be your own teacher, your own French teacher.

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Thank you for reading this article !
Thomas 😀