Thanksgiving Vocabulary Buster
Tuck a small notepad and pen in your pocket as you go about your everyday activities. Use it to note down the English words for
anything you come across during your daily activities but don’t know how to say in Spanish. If you’re just starting out, begin your list by trying to come up with the appropriate noun for everything you touch. Bowl? Vegetable steamer? Turkey leg? If you don’t know how to say it in Spanish, write it down.
More advanced students may want to occasionally “check in” with a running narrative of what’s going on. “He’s carving the turkey.” “We’re making cranberry sauce.” “We’re basting the turkey now.” Again, if you don’t know how to say it in Spanish, jot the problem words – usually a noun and/or a verb – down on your notepad. Since you’ll be watching a lot of Thanksgiving-oriented activities, your odds of stumbling across new words you didn’t learn during the rest of the year are pretty good.
At the end of the day, you can either swap lists with a friend and see how many of the other person’s words you can provide a Spanish translation for, or use a dictionary to supply the translation. Retain this new vocabulary by challenging yourself to use the new words in a running narrative the next day – doing this out loud helps – or sit down and make time to use each word in a different sentence several times throughout the day.
Immerse Yourself Over Thanksgiving Break
Set aside time for a Spanish-only activity every day of Thanksgiving break. Beginners should try for fifteen minutes of reading in Spanish only – not a word of English, mind you! – which probably means children’s books and stories. Children’s television programs, done entirely in Spanish, are also a good beginner option. More advanced students can try for an hour or more by renting Spanish-language movies, reading Spanish newspapers on the Internet, or reading more advanced Spanish-only books. The continuing exposure will help you retain and recall what you’ve already learned while still increasing your grasp of the language. Focusing on Spanish Thanksgiving activities can give you a vocabulary boost without detracting from the holiday.
Play It Up With Spanish Games
Play word games in Spanish. This can be as simple as signing into Mexican Yahoo! for a game of Yahoo! Literati in Spanish – it’s very much like online Scrabble – or sitting down for a game of real-life Spanish-language Scrabble with other Spanish students (make sure to get the actual Spanish set; substituting in letters from the English language set can get very confusing). Other games that lend themselves well to playing in Spanish are Boggle or Big Boggle, Scattergories and word puzzles like word search and crosswords. You can find some free online word games in Spanish to get you started at Don Quijote.
- Source: author’s own experience