Evelyn* Reiter gehört zu den Schüler/innen in meinem LK, die besonders große Fortschritte vor allem im Bereich Wortschatz gemacht haben. Ich habe sie mal gefragt, WIE sie das macht. Hier ihre Tipps:
I read a lot of English stuff, mostly novels and the New York Times. Sometimes I go to Hugendubel and browse through interesting sounding books. When I see a word again and again which I don’t know, or if I like the sound of a word which I never heard or read before, I look it up and write it down in my private “Vokabelheft”. I revise the words I have collected regularly and try to remember the context. After some time I get used to them and they are no longer „new“ words.
When I use or read a nice collocation or metaphor in German, I often ask myself: “What would I say in English?” Then I go to Linguee and try to find the equivalent in English and check the result in the LDOCE. For example: buzzing with excitement – in heller Aufregung. I write that down in my exercise book, too.
Unless it’s a collocation I write only the English word and the German translation. I also look up other words from the same word family; e. g. to misjudge, a misjudgment. And I write down the phonetic transcription unless I’m totally sure how to pronounce it.
There are two reasons why I think the context is mostly superfluous. A lot of words don’t need any context, like honeymoon or conspiracy. In other cases I just remember the context, especially when I have the word from a novel or a movie. As soon as I revise my vocab, the whole context or scene comes to my mind. I can remember the context of a word from novels I read three years ago. Although I have never written it down, it’s like an invisible additional vocab to the word I’m learning.
It’s not that easy with vocab from the New York Times. When I don’t remember the sentence and I think I need it to memorize the word better or to understand in which context to use it, I look it up. Therefore I keep all the New York Times supplements.
I also watch CNN sometimes and DVDs in English. To listen to clear English helps me a lot.
* Der Name Evelyne stammt aus dem Keltischen und bedeutet „die Liebenswürdige“.