Here’s how to increase your Spanish vocabulary

by Alison Maciejewski
January 19, 2021
friends talking together about how to increase their Spanish vocabulary

Increasing your Spanish vocabulary is all about exposure. Exposing yourself to new Spanish vocabulary will introduce you to new words. Repetition helps you memorise those words until they are a solid part of your mental word bank. So how exactly can you find new words and store them away for later? Alison is back with some clear tips for increasing your Spanish vocabulary.

Spanish vocabulary using different learning methods

Just like any learning environment, online Spanish classes involve your brain in different styles of learning. Remember when we talked about language learning styles? Experts tell us the best way to learn Spanish is to use a variety of study methods. This is true for both kids and adults learning Spanish. When you learn Spanish online, it’s easy to incorporate multiple learning styles into your #LanguageLearning.

  1. Visual – learn by using your eyes to read words and see scenarios when they are used
  2. Audio – learn by listening to words in Spanish and speaking out loud
  3. Kinaesthetic – incorporate physical motion into the learning environment

By using all three learning styles for your Spanish studies, you will exercise both passive and active learning. Applying this concept to Spanish vocabulary, here are specific things we recommend.

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1. Visual tips to increase Spanish vocabulary

Watching movies in Spanish is the ultimate “edutainment” or educational entertainment. You can literally sit on the sofa eating crisps and call it studying. By watching movies, you will pick up new Spanish vocabulary, see the visual mouth shape for native speakers as they say a word, and see context clues for when to say things in real life. Here are our top 5 films in Spanish as a starting point. 

If you’re a beginner and a film is too long, try a Netflix series in Spanish. I watched the Spanish programme Casa de Papel (Money Heist) when it became the most popular viral series in the world during the pandemic. Even if you listen to English-language dubbing, set your closed captions to Spanish. As you watch your favourite programmes, you’ll catch useful Spanish vocabulary in the subtitles. You can save new Spanish words in your mobile notes and check on them whenever you have a spare 5 minutes.

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2. Audio suggestions to increase Spanish vocabulary

For audio learning to increase your Spanish vocabulary, I’m a huge fan of podcasts in Spanish. In the audio-only environment, you can hyper-focus on pronunciation. This kind of learning helps to avoid common Spanish errors that native English-speakers make. Be sure to repeat difficult phrases out loud and listen to yourself compared to a native speaker from the podcast. 

For group learning, online Spanish classes are an excellent way to combine both visual and audio learning styles. You can audibly hear the difference between your native Spanish-speaking instructors versus student pronunciation. Plus written homework assignments and video chat Spanish lessons are a proven method for picking up new Spanish vocabulary.

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3. Kinaesthetic ideas to improve Spanish vocabulary

The third style of learning involves motion. You have to physically move your body while learning. This method is easy when it comes to tactile vocabulary. Sport is one easy way to incorporate motion. Let’s say you study abroad in a Spanish speaking country. You should consider joining a local football team or other athletics options. 

When I lived in Prague, I played for an amateur Czech football club called the Prague Raptors. At weekly training events, I got exercise and met native Czech speakers. Associating body movements with football terms helped me to absorb vocabulary quickly. I learned words for defence, ball, referee, and more. Thanks to kinaesthetic learning, I will never forget how to shout krásný gól (beautiful goal). The same works in Spanish.

If you aren’t the athletic type, look for other ways to incorporate movement. Last week for learning body parts in Spanish, we included a video with a song and dance. Does it feel silly? Sure, but try the dance when you are home alone. Using a tactile learning method, you will learn your “Cabeza, hombros, rodillas, y pies” in no time. That’s head, shoulders, knees and toes in Spanish.

The best way to learn Spanish vocabulary is no different than learning other information. For the quickest results, use a combination of visual, audio, and kinaesthetic learning styles. These methods will cement those new words in your memory permanently and grow your Spanish vocabulary over time.

Try an audio/visual Spanish class with a native speaker today. Register for a 7-day free trial with Lingoda

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