Increasing our vocabulary range is paramount to improving in our process of language learning. This is why it is so important to develop useful and effective ways of acquiring new words.
It is obvious that learning a list of words by heart is a useless waste of time as we will forget them as fast as we learnt them.
So, how can we add new words to our repertoire?
A very productive strategy is associating new words to those we already know. To do so, we can use what we call mind maps. A mind map is a visual network of concepts that originates from a central node. We add words to the network whose meaning is somehow related to the original source. Let me give you an example:
As you can see the central node is “food” and I have added new words that are semantically related.
We can also have more complex mind maps. For instance, and to continue with “food”:
In this case, from the central node different subcategories originate: “cereal, fruit, dairy products”. From these, I have added words that belong to such groups.
Mind maps can be done on paper, cartboard or by computer, depending on what makes us feel more comfortable and inspired. If you prefer the latter, there are different free online resources that will help you create and save your mind maps.