Vocabulary is best tackled as efficiently as possible, as it takes the most work to ingrain. Luckily, there are ways to handle vocabulary learning in a smart way that you will use until you are a fluent speaker in the language. At that level, however, you won't even notice you are using any technique because you are so used to using it in your first language. This is called "learning in context" and it's a part of the foundation that you need employ firmly and frequently.
So, let's look at some ways to effectively tackle vocabulary and get you understanding the language as soon as possible!
Step 1 Get a list
The first thing you'll want to do is grab a list of the most commonly spoken words in your target language. Starting off with 30-50 words is fine. Don't worry about that seeming like a lot, because you will be amazed at how quickly you will memorize them. You can get these word lists through a simple Google search for "<targetlanguage> most common spoken words" or at About.com, which I have a link for in the links section.
Step 2 Find sentences with these words in them
After gathering your words, you are going to want to find sentences with the words in them. Use Google, or Wiktionary, and find example sentences of these words. Once you have all of your sentences, put them on flash cards or a flash card program like Anki or Mnemosyne.
- It's best to get some of these sentences from official sources, so you don't start learning mistakes early on. You can be less cautious about this later on, as you learn the language and understand its flow.
Next I'll be showing you what to do with these sentences, so for now just gather them and sing along to the songs you chose from step one. That's one of the best things to do while gathering sentences and doing this slightly tedious task. Later on, finding these sentences is going to be much more fun. Until next time, get those sentences!