The importance of vocabulary
of the time you spend learning the language should be spent on learning
vocabulary. When you have difficulty saying what you want to say, or
have difficulty understanding something, most of the time it is not a
problem of grammar, it is a problem of vocabulary: there is a word
which you don't know or have forgotten, or which is on the tip of your
tongue but won't come out. The solution is to spend nearly all your
study time learning your vocabulary.
Tip 1. Using 'flash cards' to
learn the vocabulary
The art of learning vocabulary is to move Yol\u Matha words from your short term memory
into your long term memory. This is done by constantly testing yourself
on your vocabulary items. If you have these written out on small cards,
they are handy to carry around, and handy to use for the regular cycle
of memorising and rehearsal which is required to activate the short
term memory. Through constant self-testing of the individual items,
some move quickly into the memory and the ones which don't, stay in
your pile of cards for constant revision until they are learnt.
Keep a supply of cards. Every time you find
a new word to learn, print the Yol\u Matha
word on one side, and write the English equivalent on the other.
Rehearse these cards constantly. About twenty cards at a time is a good
number. Some words are learnt quickly (these cards are put to one
side), and others may take a week to sink in.
Tip 2. How to use the cards
Each time you test yourself, place to one side the
words which you can remember immediately. Words which you forget,
memorise them quickly (short term memory) and place them again on the
bottom of the pile you hold in your hand. Keep going through the cards,
and before long the ones which you forgot a moment ago but have spent a
moment or two memorising, will reappear at the top of the pile. If you
remember them the second time around, that is the first stage in full
memorisation of the word. If you forget it the second time, memorise
the word again, and place the card at the bottom of the pile. Within a
minute or so, it will work its way up to the top of the pile again.
Each time you set out to do a few minutes
of vocab work, you will start with twenty cards, and keep working
through them, putting the ones you instantly recall to one side, and
working only with those which are proving troublesome. Within a few
minutes, you will have only a few cards left. These are the ones which
are proving hardest. Keep rehearsing them until you are reduced to a
single one, and finally shuffle them back into the pack and put them
aside until you have another few minutes to start the process again.
Tip 3. The importance of daily
Spending five minutes five times a day is the best
way to learn vocab. Keep adding new cards, and keep throwing out the
cards of words which you have learnt thoroughly. It is always best to
overlearn Yol\u words. If you only have a
limited grasp on them, you will soon forget them, or they will take so
long to come to the surface when you try to recall them, that the job
of making a sentence gets hopelessly bogged down.
Tip 4. Overlearn your words, not
In conclusion, don't worry about the grammar until
you have a big vocabulary. The grammar is relatively simple.
Concentrate on your vocabulary, and overlearn your words.