Learning new vobaulary

Any advice on how to learn new vocabulary?
It seems that many book based courses add new vocabulary that you are normally unlikely to use for many years …‘At the Zoo - Names of African Animals’ etc.
How might we build up a ‘really useful’ set of words most useful to us, where we live, what we do, the type of activities we are evolved in?
Would we perhaps learn ‘feelings, actions, etc’.
It is so hard to think of the general kinds of conversations we NORMALLY have with people and situations.

Gary Hiscott

Shwmae Gary,

One thing you could do is list all the words that you feel will be relevant to you, ie; what youre likely to use. Start small, keep adding as you go along, and once you’ve learned the word, cross it out!
It’s a method called “The Gold list”, (or at least a morphed form of one). One thing I would suggest is avoid link words for your list if you’re following the SSiW course, as you will most likely learn these link words through the course using the proven SSiW method. Then, you just refer to that list now and again and refresh your memory. Once you feel you are familiar enough with that word, scribble it out! That way, you concentrate more on the words that you want to know and know you will use, and less with the words you either already know or will never use. This is just a method I’ve used for vocabulary that isn’t covered in the SSiW course (Very useful vocabulary is learned here, but the focus is more on getting you speaking conversational Welsh quickly, and to help you be able to hold down a conversation. After all, it’s when you’re speaking Welsh in conversation where you will learn a LOT more vocabulary from the person or people you chat with).

As for vocabulary about feelings, there is a lesson covering feelings after Course 2 in the Vocabulary units (if you’re following the old course). It is advisable to follow each lesson in lesson order so you are familiar with other link words that will be introduced on the way).

But certainly, the gold list does help. I can’t actually remember where it came from, only I learned about it through this forum. There may still be a thread about the original gold list and who originally came up with the idea, if you want to search it and read for yourself, and use it how it can work for you.


I use memrise.com. While lots of people were at the SSIW party in the north last night the Carmarthen SSIW group was talking about memrise (and Grayson Parry, and future holidays and gooseberries and getting tangled up in Welsh numbers).

Memrise provides lots (and lots and lots) of lists of words which you can learn. Because the content is ‘User Generated’ (ie garbage in = garbage out) you need to be a bit careful, but you an make your own lists of words to learn, which you can publish or keep private as you like.

The thing about memrise is that it knows which words YOU normally get right, and doesn’t test you on them as often as the words you find more difficult. It is personal to you, both in how you use it, and how it tests you.

A couple of years ago I put up on memrise, for myself and ahead of time,
the vocab from the classes I was doing at the time. It really did make a big difference to the amount and variety of vocab I both used and recognised and I like to think that at least one of my tutors was quite surprised at what seemed like a leap and a bound in my progress.


Oh, and there is an app too, which doesn’t work in quite the same way, and has recently been updated/upgraded, but does link to the web version. You need to start with the web version though.

This might be an obvious question but how do you know when you’ve learnt a word?

If you get to use your Welsh in the wild as it were, and you’re using that word without thinking (or looking it up), then you’ve learned it!
If youre not lucky enough to use your Welsh, you might practice in your own time. When you go to check your list, if you’re instictively thinking “I know this word!”, you won’t need to keep it anymore! I still have words on my list that I just don’t use enough, but thought they were important enough to keep in my list until I do.
An example, Im now living in Wales, and I drive for a living. Some words I’ve had in my list have recently been scribbled out because I see these words all the time (on signs mostly) and I’ve learned their meaning.
Again, this list will work only if you’re using it to learn words you’re likely to use, whether its something to do with your work, your home life, your interests etc.

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Gary - get a conversation practice partner (an hour a week is ideal) and then just make a note of wherever you get stuck - you’ll have the most valuable list you could possibly build in just a few weeks :sunny:

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