How to Learn Vocabulary

This week, I’m tackling the tricky topic of how to learn vocabulary. For a lot of language learners, memorising vocabulary is one of the most difficult and least fun aspects of learning a new language. It’s time consuming, dull and repetitive. That being said, if you do it right, you can lessen the amount of time you need to spend on it. So in this post, I would like to share some of my top tips for language learning!

Flashcards
Flashcards can be used in so many ways to aid vocabulary learning. You could try an app such as Anki where you can make different sets of flashcards, organised by subject and the best part is that you can use them on the go! If you prefer a more traditional method, the actual act of writing out the vocabulary on a card can actually make it stick in your head better. You can use them to test yourself, or check out this video I made for more inspiration on other ways to use flashcards:

Memrise and Duolingo
Memrise and Duolingo are a great way to practise vocabulary. If you don’t already know, Duolingo is a set free course online with lots of different languages available. It’s a great way of learning vocabulary, as the course is set up in little modules that are grouped by subject. If you have a set a vocabulary you already want to learn, you can use Memrise to create a course with your own words in.

Posters and Post-it Notes
Both of these can be a great resource for vocabulary learning. Writing out your vocabulary on a post-it note or poster will help in itself and then you can pop it up somewhere in your house where you will see it regularly – maybe by the door or kettle, so you’ll see it when you leave the house or make a cup of tea.

Frequency Dictionaries
Sometimes it can be difficult to know what vocabulary to learn. A great way of finding vocab to learn, is by using a frequency dictionary. This tells you what the most commonly words used in a language are. If you learn the most frequently used words, this will be a great starting block for being able to speak to natives.

Talking to natives/other learners
A great way of solidifying the vocabulary you have learned is to practise using it! You can practise with other language learners or, even better, a native speaker. If you don’t already know anyone who speaks your target language, you can search for a language practice partner on an app or website like Tandem.

I hope these tips help you to learn vocabulary! Let me know how you get on on social media.

Best Way to Learn Arabic Online

As you may know, I am a tutor of French and an Arabic and French to English translator. So, it can definitely be said that I know a lot about learning languages and especially about learning Arabic. My Arabic learning journey began in 2013, when I started my BA at Cambridge University and I continue to practise my Arabic to this day. Language learning is a lifelong process and you never stop learning!

Especially during these uncertain times, you may not be in a position to pay for language lessons, access them in person or online or find a tutor. As such, I would like to share the best way to learn Arabic online for free! I have found some free resources that you can utilise for your Arabic learning journey.

Learn Arabic with Maha
Learn Arabic with Maha is a youtube channel with lots of fantastic videos on speaking Arabic. She talks about different dialects and even has videos on how to correctly pronounce the letters of the alphabet. Perfect for complete beginners.

Duolingo
Duolingo may not be perfect and I am planning to do a full review once I’ve completed the course, but it’s a good starting point. It focuses quite a lot on learning the sounds and how they correspond to the letters of the alphabet. Again, a very good resource for beginners.

The Aswaat Arabiyya Project
This is an online project run by the University of Texas. It presents a collection of videos in Arabic (mostly in Modern Standard Arabic or Fusha) and transcripts so you can practise your listening skills. Some of the videos are quite complex, so better suited for more advanced learners.

The Writer
This is a TV series that is currently on available on UK Netflix. It’s not the world’s best TV series, but it’s interesting enough to maintain interest. You could try watching with English subtitles to aid comprehension or if you’re feeling more ambitious, try Arabic subtitles.

Ejtaal.net
This is a useful dictionary that is a searchable version of the infamous Hans Wehr Arabic-English dictionary. If you are reading a text and are familiar with how Arabic dictionaries work (you have to look up by the root of the word) then it proves very useful.

Almaany Dictionary
Another very useful dictionary. You can either use it as a bilingual dictionary between Arabic and English or a monolingual Arabic dictionary. The perfect accompaniment for your reading practice.

Reverso
Reverso is a great resource for searching phrases. If you’re reading a text and there’s a phrase you don’t understand, you can search the whole phrase and if it’s been written on the internet in English and Arabic, it will come up for you!

Quran.com
If you’re interested in reading the Quran, then this resource is great. It gives you a blow-by-blow account of the surahs in English and Arabic and also provides audio files of the surahs read with full vocalisation.

I hope these resources help you with your Arabic learning journey! If you are struggling to read a text and need it translating from Arabic to English, contact me on verity.roat@cantab.net for a free no-obligation quote.

Next week, I’ll be discussing my vocabulary learning tips, so if you’re interested in language learning, keep an eye out on my social media to read it when it comes out!

Translation FAQs

As you will probably already know, I am a translator of Arabic and French into English. You may have come across this page because you are looking for someone who can perform this service. However, you might have a few questions before you embark on your translation journey and I want to help!

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Honeymoon

Last weekend, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and it made me start reminiscing about our honeymoon (especially as I looked through all the photos from our relationship to make a photobook for him). I thought it would be nice to share with you an overview of our honeymoon; what we did, where we went and how much French I spoke!

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Best French youtubers

As a millenial, I grew up with Youtube during my teenage years and still watch it to do this day. While my tastes have varied as I aged, I discovered early on that watching Youtubers who talk in French can be really beneficial for practicing my listening skills. If you are interested in improving your French while listening to native speakers, here are some of the top French youtubers that I like to watch.

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Books in Translation

As a literary translator, I of course absolutely love reading. I even have a blog and an instagram page dedicated to books (among other things). I have worked on translating a non-fiction book and an epic poem/novella in the past and am excited to translate more books. But in this blogpost, inspired by Abbie of @Ab_read‘s fantastic post on Women in Translation, I will talk about some of my favourite books in translation that I’ve read. Admittedly, I haven’t read widely enough in translation, especially as I now read French and Arabic books in their original version, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!

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Medical Resources

As I said in my translation specialisms post, one of my specialisms is medicine. I chose medicine, because I have a history working within the medical field (I have provided medical role-play from 2012 and I write copy on medical devices) and I am interested in helping people. In this post, I want to showcase some resources that have helped me as someone with an interest in medicine, but who is not a direct member of the medical field. Please let me know if you have any more recommendations!

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Black Lives Matter Resources

I am a little embarrassed. The BLM movement has really experienced an upsurge in visibility since the wrongful death of George Floyd on 25 May and I have yet to speak about it on this platform. In my own, very small way I have been campaigning – I have included BLM highlights on both my professional and lifestyle instagram pages, where you can find a wonderful range of resources by people who are far better equipped to talk about racial issues than I am. But why haven’t I spoken about it on this platform?

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My Work Goals 2020: 6 Month Check In

Happy July! Can you believe we’re officially halfway through the year? I always set new years resolutions and this year I set some work specific ones, which you can see here. As we’re halfway through the year now, I thought it was a good time to check in and see how I’m doing on those goals.

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#ThatTranslatorCanCook Week Twenty: Macarons

This week, which may be my last #ThatTranslatorCanCook post for a while (see explanation below), so I wanted to go out with a bang. I’ve tried to make macarons in the past and failed, so when I found a recipe that claimed to be ‘unfailable’, I jumped at the chance to try them. My attempt was semi-succesful, thanks to our dodgy oven, but they tasted nice!

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