From my experience as an ESL Teacher as well as a learner of a second language myself (Korean), I know that increasing your vocabulary can be a challenge. You may have some solid sentence structures in your disposal, but lack the vocabulary to use them beyond a few simple sentences.
Here are some of the best ways I’ve found to increase vocabulary:
- Use an iPhone app that allows you to practice on the bus or subway, or when you have a few minutes
- Write words on sticky notes on everyday items in your home (works best for nouns, but try adding verbs or adjectives, too)
- Repetition in context – sitting down and writing the words over and over doesn’t seem to help many people retain the words over a period of time. Instead, try repeating a list once a day for a week. For examples, try colours one week and see how many you can write down.
- Practice speaking with native English speakers. Nothing motivates you to increase your vocabulary more than the need to express yourself.
- Keep a page in your journal that you add to each day and review.
- Use an index card stack on a ring (stationary stores have them) and add a few words on one side with the translation on the other.
- Watch tv shows with subtitles.