Written language. Vocabulary

Enrichment of personal vocabulary is a process that starts from your first word and never ends. Even in our native language we constantly learn some new terms, slang expressions, proverbs and so on, but these additions aren't as noticeable on the general language background. Vocabulary is like a foliage – at first, every single leave is distinct and visible, but lots and lots of them grow as time passes, so you lose count. Grammar structures are branches the leaves are attached to. Practice is watering and fertilizing – without it, the tree starts withering and leaves fall.

Vocabulary is divided into active – words we use relatively often, and passive – words we recognize in context and in speech, but rarely use ourselves. The former is way bigger than the latter; educated person's vocabulary consists of about 18-20 thousand words. At the same time, knowing 1000 most commonly used words, it's possible to understand 70% of everyday conversations. Eh, if only someone would've written a list of those magic words... Wait a minute, it already exists.

I might guess – things wouldn't have been more clear even if those words came with translation. Don't get too much into memorizing lists. Material is absorbed best when it's connected to something we already know – that's why it's easier to memorize words in context. Read as much materials on topics you're interested in as possible. Sports, psychology, theorem explanations, love stories, cooking recipes – search in Turkish for something you'd read in your own language with pleasure. Interest in the subject will help you read the text to the end and remember the words better. Irreplaceable aid when reading at the computer will be an installed dictionary like ABBYY Lingvo that shows pop-ups with translation when you hover over some word.

Songs are also useful for studying. Rhythmical text sticks in memory quite well, and along with it new words and figures of speech are absorbed. Upon reading some rule you can instantly remember examples from the songs it was used in.

One method of learning words that I've read many times about is writing them on pieces of paper or in a notebook and revising them from time to time. Personally I wasn't practicing this – sometimes I wanted to write some interesting word or phrase down, but was always lazy to do it. Instead I was repeating the word a few times in my mind and tried to use it in a conversation. However, if you're a more diligent person, or if you don't have much opportunity to practice, try using this method.

Conversation is the principal way of transferring words from passive vocabulary into active and of expanding it. I advise you to exchange mails first, personal messages on site – so that you'll have a chance to read the message at your own pace and write an answer. When you'll gain some fluency in making sentences, pass to online chatting – this will increase the quickness of perception and reaction. Your goal is to express your ideas in writing as correctly and precisely as you do in your own language. It's quite easy to learn expressing yourself in a slapdash way, and people you talk to are to understand yours in anyway. It's probably enough for some, I'm not the one to judge. But it's better to direct toward the global goals, and then the intermediate objective – everyday conversations in easy and understandable form – will be achieved much faster and easier.

And remember, "native speaker" doesn't mean "teacher". This person probably won't explain the grammar. Native speaker can point at some particular mistakes, explain some nuances if they have a wish and the ability, but never to "teach". Basically, you're the only one who can teach yourself. People you talk to own you nothing, they're just communicating because they find it interesting. And you too, talk only to those you can have meaningful conversations with.