Quantity over quality in vocabulary learning


Yet another thread at LingQ on vocabulary learning.

I am quoted as having said the following:

“To me a word is like a person you get to know and who is going to help you learn the language. You know lots of people without knowing them in detail. The more often you meet them in different situations, the better you get to know them. It is the same with words. The task in language learning is not only meeting words or friends for the first time but also getting to know them through frequent exposure. If you focus your efforts on trying to know a few words very throughly, then you won’t have the time to expose yourself to the words you have already met. We constantly need to see and hear even the most basic words that we are always getting to know better and better.”

I believe that reading and listening, and LingQing as much as possible, is the fastest way to accumulate a large vocabulary. Some people agree and some people don’t. Here is a comment on one of my YouTube videos from a person who understands what I’m talking about:

“In my mind, at least, the more my comprehension grows, the more naturally I can speak. If I was focused on speaking, however, sure, I could say a hundred sentences from a phrasebook, but if I can’t understand the response, what good is it? In my experience, focusing on output slows down the development of my comprehension, whereas focusing on input increases both my speaking and comprehension ability simultaneously.”

But these are the comments of language learners. For an in-depth look at what Paul Nation, a leading vocabulary learning expert, has to say, check out the following article.


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