Why is vocabulary so important?
Expanding your Spanish vocabulary is key when you want to improve your overall skills or prepare for an advanced exam such as DELE C1. Indeed, once you covered the basics, you must understand the nuances and perceive differences in Spanish words.
This will help you make sure you understand correctly the texts you read and the documents you hear. It will also make your language richer, more precise and more articulate when it’s your time to speak or write. That’s why having a broad vocabulary can be help you complete reading, writing, speaking and listening tasks with ease.
So, how can you proceed? How do you find new vocabulary to memorize? Where do you look for it? What’s the best way to memorize it? What topics should you cover?
In this post, we will answer this questions and look at some of the best ways to broaden your Spanish vocabulary: word families, collocations, synonyms and semantic fields.
The first way to make sure your vocabulary is coherent is by creating word families. These word families are created by adding different prefixes and suffixes to a base noun. This will not only help you learn new words but also notice the patterns inherent to the Spanish language:
Another interesting way to practice new vocabulary is by forming collocations with usual verbs. Collocations are pairs of words which automatically come to our mind when we think about a specific verb or noun. For example, let’s take a look at the verb tomar, exemplified below:
As you see, there are plenty of nouns with an article (el sol, un café, el pelo, una decisión) and without an article (parte, nota, conciencia, medidas) that are always associated with the verb “tomar”.
Not only will this technique help you improve your fluency, it will also make you sound more natural and idiomatic.
Could you create similar ones with generic verbs such as “dar”, “echar” or “poner”? What about more specific verbs such as “cometer”, “plantear” or “adoptar”?
One of the best ways to broaden the vocabulary is including as many synonyms as possible to a specific word we often use. For example, with “interesante”:
Could you create similar ones for the verbs pensar or decir, for example? You will notice we tend to stick to the same nouns over and over again, so try mixing things up next time you have to talk about a daily topic and include at least 3 variations of the same word in each conversation.
Another great way to learn new vocabulary is to work with semantic fields. These fields work particularly well with sectors that interest us personally or that often appear in the news.
The best way to practice with semantic fields is by elaborating mind maps with tools such as Goconqr.