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Using context to remember new words
Home > Guide > Vocabulary > Memorizing > Context

Using words in context enhances greatly the chance you will remember them. This can be as simple as reading a text where the words are used, memorizing a dialog from a film or a language program or learning a song. You can also be exposed to the word in a memorable context.

For instance you travel to Russia and see shop signs with 'obuv' with shoes in the shop windows. You will probably recall the Russian word for 'shoes'. If you have a conversation with somebody in your target language, the thrill of speaking in that language will probably help you recall a few words that were repeated several times during that conversation. Here the context serves as a strong mental branch on which you can hang the memory of the word.

It is always a good idea to learn words with a phrase as an example. For instance, if you learn that French for 'to eat' is 'manger', it is better to learn 'He already ate'/'Il a déjà mangé' or 'She is eating an apple'/'Elle mange une pomme' than just learning the word alone. The phrase will help you recall the word better and improve your chances of using it correctly when speaking. Depending on how you work on vocabulary learning, you can either find example phrases in dictionaries, or cut and paste a phrase you found in a real text you were reading.

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