ACTIVITY 21: Listen to Sandra, an
English teacher, talking about her experience of learning Chinese.
What aspect of this is she describing? Choose the best
from the menu and then check the correct answer.
Now listen again to Sandra while you
check the transcription of her conversation below.
You were in China, I understand, and you had to
learn Chinese ...
... which is obviously a very different
language from English. Did you have any particular techniques or
strategies that you used which helped you learn the language?
Yes. I used to underline vocabulary that I really
felt I needed, for my needs, in, I had a. a book, so I'd underline
that vocabulary and expression in red so that I could really focus
And trying to maybe, with words, because Chinese is so different
from English, thinking 'Ah, I'll remember that word because it's
like this word in English', or making a strong image of the word.
And then the other thing that I really, really, helped me to teach
my students better is that you cannot sit down and learn vocabulary,
erm. like once a week, sitting down for half an hour with your
vocabulary book. But that, in a sense, you have to do it a little
bit and often, it's a little bit like doing a diet. If you're on a
diet, and you kind of starve yourself and think 'I'll lose weight'
and 'I've lost weight', it'll come back on again. Or doing
exercises: you need to do it a little and often.
So, the way that I learnt vocabulary, erm, was by copying those
words and expressions that I really needed. And also listening to
conversations and copying down things that I remembered when I came
Wh-what do you mean when you say you copied ...
I put them ...
... the words.
... into my vocabulary book. I found out, in
Chinese you have a
pinyin which is like a sort of transliteration system, so
it's the Roman alphabet. And, er, I'd sort of notice words that came
up again and again, and I'd make a note of them and ask my Chinese
friends what they meant, and put them in a special vocabulary book,
which I, it was small so I could keep it in my pocket.
And I'd just read my vocabulary book three times a day, just for
Erm, and then I'd do what I did last week because you forget
terribly quickly. So a little bit and often, I think, is the rule
for learning vocabulary. So that it becomes part of your routine and
it doesn't become this awful slog of learning lots and lots of
ACTIVITY 22: Read again the
transcription above and complete this
summary of the methods Sandra used. It is written as seven points of
advice on remembering new vocabulary in any foreign language.
The first letter of each missing word is given. Then
check the correct answers.
in your textbook which you need
One way to
a word is to find a similar
in your language; another way is to make a picture of it in your
not once a week but a
Copy words and
which is small enough to
into this book words which you hear people in
using again and a
Read your vocabulary book
Look over the words you learned
week so that you don't
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repasar todo lo que has aprendido aquí.