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Hi everyone,

I am a young french student in languages (english and spanish) in prospect to become a conference interpreter, and I love reading. Then I read a lot of english and spanish books to improve my vocabulary. But I don't know if I have the good learning method. So I would like to know:

When I face a new word, should I look for the translation of the word to my mother tongue (that is what I am currently doing) or should I look for the definition of this word in the foreign language I am learning?

Thank for reading me. -Myswom.

asked 24 Oct '12, 11:50

myswom's gravatar image


edited 24 Oct '12, 12:46

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Hello myswom,

I think it depends on the time you have. If you have the time to look for the definition first - this will most probably trigger your own imagination and you will come up with one or several possible translations yourself. Thereafter you can look up the word in a bilingual dictionary as well and find out whether you were right. Most probably this approach will help you remember the words much better than just looking them up in a bilingual dictionary, simply because you had to put more effort into it.

I myself also love to read books in foreign languages, but of course, I also want to get on with reading - so I mark the terms or idioms I don't know or don't know so well with a pencil (which some people might consider a sacrilege...) and look them up later. (As a rule I can get the gist of the text without looking up the terms right away). With some books I even end up writing a glossary which is great fun if you don't have the time pressure of a conference date looming on the horizon. And you never know - this particular vocabulary might come in very useful one day - or you will remember exactly which book taught you a particular idiom.

All the best and HAVE FUN!!!!!

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answered 24 Oct '12, 13:25

AlmuteL's gravatar image


edited 24 Oct '12, 13:27

Hi, Almute: I did not expect to make a glossary out of a book can be fun, I'd like to have a try later.

And your way of dealing new words is impressive, interesting and instructive. thanks for sharing. :)

(12 Jan '13, 06:21) Paris Si de ...
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question asked: 24 Oct '12, 11:50

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