While learning any language, vocab building is inevitable. The one problem I’ve with vocab building is not that I can’t memorize them… it’s that I can’t retain them.

Sure, anyone can sit down for 30 minutes and memorize 20-30 new vocab words, but how long would those words last in your memory? An hour at the most? Even those words you do manage to retain, would you immediately recognize them when seen in context? Would you use them at will when you want to?

A good way I found to retain vocab is use them in a sentence. But forming one sentence per word takes way too long, and you end up with sentences that uses the vocab in irrelevant places. So I came up with a good approach, to use two vocab per sentence instead of one. Whoooowwwww, genius! Right? Using two new words in a sentences really forces you to think about how your using the words, and not just the definition. When placed in context, the words are much more easily retained.

How to get started?

To start memorizing the vocab, I download Pauker flashcard program along with 1000 most common Turkish vocab for Pauker, cortesy of an user on Turkishclass.com.

(of course, you can use any flashcard program such as Mnemosyne  and Anki , but I used Pauker because the 1000 most common words were already nicely formatted for that program, ready to download) Pauker is nice in that it takes into account of your long and short term memory when it comes to repeating words. I won’t explain it here, just try it and see if you like it.

After memorizing the first 50 words, I waited a few hours and went back at it again. The next day, I use the Pauker’s built-in randomize feature to mix the words up, and started forming sentences in pairs (for a total of 25 sentences). I then posted these phrases to LiveMocha and Lang-8 to get corrected. Below are the corrected sentences that I formed:

  • En iyi olmak istiyorum
  • Bu masada ne kadar çok şey var?
  •  Kadın herkesi seviyor
  • Adam ile kadın parktalar
  • Elimi hergün kullanadım
  • Ya, bir çocuk var!
  • ‘Daha yemek yok mu?’ diye Messi
  • iki kişiyi görüyorum
  • Paris’ie gidiyorum için seni
  • Yeni yılıa başlıyorum
  • Bu yer evim gibi
  • O çalısmıyor
  • Bir büyük kediyi istiyorum, ve sonra bir kücük kedi istiyorum
  • Bak, bir kadın bana çok para vermek istiyor!
  • İki insan var, ama onlar kadınlar değil
  • Bugün işe gitmek istemiyorum
  • Ne içinde biliyorum
  • Her şeyi almayin!
  • Onlar ne zaman geliyor?
  • Kendim bu yapiyorum
  • Çık sonra ara
Note:I had to get various revisions to make this as error free as possible, but most likely there are still mistakes, even though they’re minor ones.
Try learning the first 50 words from the 1000 Most Common Turkish words (you can find them on Wikitionary quickly if you don’t want to download Pauker like I suggested. After you learn the 1st 50, see if you can understand what I wrote!