Writing to activate passive vocabulary?


Anybody have any thoughts on writing as a method of making passive words active? I’m hoping it’s maybe a good stepping stone before speaking ? So that I don’t run out of words every other… er… . word.

Any experience with this?

I’m generally curious about this as well. I hope someone has a good suggestion.

If you like writing, then writing will undoubtedly help, especially if you then pay attention to the corrections suggested by your tutor (I am, unfortunately, not a good example of this…)

I am not so sure about the efficacy of writing if you hate writing…

I force myself to use French to ask all my French questions. Not only does it help, it enables me to notice my spelling mistakes and pronunciations. My passive vocab becomes active after I’ve ask questions in French a few times and the patterns seem to flow into my speaking. :slight_smile:

I made a video about active vocabulary some time ago: Active vocabulary - YouTube

Maybe you get some ideas out of it :slight_smile:

I’m new here… my English very bad. and I have Excames on school, can anybody help me? :frowning:

If you can force yourself to write it is a great way to activate your vocabulary and sense of structure in the language. That has been my experience. It is just more work than reading or listening.

Of course whatever activity you spend with the language helps (writing, listening, …).

I’ve noticed that repetitive listening or reading similar content (the same topic, for example) helps a lot in order to add more words and expressions to your active vocabulary.

“repetitive listening or reading similar content (the same topic, for example) helps a lot in order to add more words and expressions to your active vocabulary.”

Indeed. I am interested in international affairs. So reading and listening to international news daily (same and yet different everyday) enrich my French vocabulary steadily and quickly. Most of the words used (i.e, curfew, pirates, kidnappers, military barracks, outgoing president, spokesperson, etc.) you just need to encounter them once and they are yours forever. The news items read at normal speed are at intermediate or advanced level, but since they are in the area of my interest, I have no problem dealing with them even though in general I remain at Beginner 2 level because I have not had much output yet.

thanks for all replies : )
@VeraI: Your video is great, I’ve been doing some internal speaking, and will now certainly make myself write.

I don’t think that writing is the best way of activating your vocabulary; speaking helps here much more. But writing helps you greatly to get accustomed to the main structures of a new language, and it’s very important,too.

The point is that if you have one hour of time to spend on studying the language, you can do two things:
a) Writing 1-2 pages. They’ll probably have mistakes.
b) Reading 10-20 pages of correct content in the target language.

The option b seems to be more efficient, because you are exposing yourself to much more extensive and correct content. However, option a), though it’s not very efficient, it’s good to do from time to time, because it makes you notice lacks on your learning.
In my view the key is to exposure yourself massively to the language, and produce it from time to time. Once you have achieved a good level, then you can produce more and more, and you don’t need so much input.

Steve talks in this video about passive and active vocabulary: