The Importance of Targeted Vocabulary in Language Learning

The Importance of Targeted Vocabulary in Language Learning

Published: May 14, 2024 | By: Lucas Weaver

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What is targeted vocabulary?

Every language learner knows the significance of vocabulary—it's the building block of speaking any language. But not all vocabulary is created equal. 

For learners who want to reach language fluency as fast as possible, targeted vocabulary learning is key. 

The targeted vocabulary approach focuses on words that are most relevant to your personal interests, professional goals, or everyday communication needs. By understanding and implementing targeted vocabulary learning, you can make your study time not only more productive but also more enjoyable.

Why relevance is so important for vocabulary learning

What exactly makes vocabulary "relevant"? Essentially, it’s the vocabulary that you are most likely to use based on your lifestyle, career, or the situations you expect to find yourself in. 

The relevance of vocabulary extends beyond just the frequency of use—it’s about context.

Learning words that you will use in everyday conversations or in your professional life not only helps solidify them in your memory but also makes your language learning journey more useful and engaging. 

This relevance often leads to a higher retention rate and a deeper understanding of the language, meaning you stick with your studying longer and become fluent faster.

This is one of the reasons why moving to the country of the language you’re studying speeds up learning so much. 

Not only are you immersed in the language, but the relevance of learning the language is sky high, since you actually need the language to do your daily activities.

How Targeted Vocabulary Accelerates Language Proficiency

It shouldn’t surprise you then that studies have shown that learners who focus on vocabulary relevant to their needs acquire language skills faster than those who attempt to absorb more generic vocabulary. 

For instance, a business professional learning English would benefit more from mastering vocabulary related to negotiations, presentations, and corporate communications than from memorizing random household item names. 

This focused approach not only builds confidence but also enhances the ability to use the language effectively in specific contexts.

When you apply these words in the real world it reinforces learning and accelerates the journey to language proficiency.

Methods for selecting targeted vocabulary

Selecting the right vocabulary requires a strategic approach. Here are some effective methods you can try:

Needs Analysis 

Start by analyzing any daily life situations in which you will use the language.

Are you learning it for travel, to advance your career, or to live in a foreign country? Based on your needs, create a list of topics and situations you encounter regularly, or expect to encounter.

Frequency Lists

Utilize frequency lists that are tailored for specific fields or activities. For example, if you are a medical professional, focus on medical terminology that is commonly used in your field.

Technology Tools 

Leverage apps and software like our Learning Paths or our AI flashcard maker that analyze texts from specific fields to identify commonly used words and phrases. These tools can help you build a customized vocabulary list that aligns with your real-world needs.

language learning using targeted vocabulary

Real-World Applications of Targeted Vocabulary Learning

Consider the example of Ana, a journalist who moved to Germany. She focused her learning path vocabulary on media-related terms and everyday communication.

This targeted approach helped her quickly adapt to conversations around her work environment and social settings, significantly improving her integration and professional performance.

 Language teachers also report that students using targeted vocabulary tend to show greater enthusiasm and perform better in practical language assessments.

The Benefits of Targeted Vocabulary Learning

Targeted vocabulary learning is not just about language acquisition; it's about making your language skills a seamless part of your life and career, meaning you can actually use them in your real life. 

By focusing on words and phrases that are directly applicable to your goals, you engage with the language in a more meaningful way, making learning a natural and enjoyable process.

How to start learning targeted vocabulary personalized for your needs

If you have more specialized language learning needs than what typical language courses might offer, you definitely need to check out our Learning Paths.

With a personalized learning path, you can choose specific topics in your every day life that you need to speak about. 

For example, if you’re a nurse, you could say “Teach me how to talk about shots, injections, and needles” and our AI will create a personalized learning path to teach you all the relevant vocabulary words and key phrases for that topic. 

You’ll also get easy to understand explanations for everything in your path, and you’ll get audio examples so you can kno wyou’re pronouncing words correctly.

Give it a try now and see how much better language learning powered by AI really is.

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Lucas Weaver from the Weaver School

Lucas Weaver founded The Weaver School in 2016. He's passionate about using the latest learnings in neuroscience and education to create the best language learning experience possible for our students, so they can quickly build effective language learning habits that will last for years. Lucas is a graduate of Texas A&M University and after 7 years of living in the Netherlands, he is currently traveling through Southeast Asia while learning their languages along the way.

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