Yesterday I discovered a more thourough and rewarding method for learning Dutch vocabulary. Currently I’ve got 4-5 books upstairs that I’ve borrowed from the local library. In general I’ve just been reading these books, trying to get the gist, while occasionally looking up the one or two words that I find necessary. Now I’ve begun to translate everything I read out loud. This showed me that, even if it’s easy to get at the gist, it’s not always so easy to tell someone what any given text in a foreign language is about in detail.
Doing this continous translation reinforces my confidence in the understanding of my languages. It also helps me to remember key words and in which contexts they belong. Plus let’s not forget the fact that it’s scientifically proven that, in memorizing, it’s 10 times more efficient to speak out loud what you want to remember instead of simply writing it down any number of times.
This strengthens my command of individual words, since you can only remember what you understand. In looking up all the words I don’t recognize (or have trouble with translating) I’m in a sense imprinting them in my memory. For more on this please visit the site of Stephen D Krashen, here.
Combined with listening to French LingQ and RVI’s «Gesprek van het week», I think I’ll be pretty fluent when my stay in Flanders is over, or maybe even before I’m halfway there.