I am a language teacher by trade, and so naturally I am slightly obsessed with language learning. Once I committed to learning Romanian, I dove headfirst into its crazy world of gendered nouns and seemingly endless conjugations. Here are some things that have helped me:
First, download this list of your “first 625 words” for your language. I used this as a starting place for acquiring vocabulary. I defined the words using google translate and then I made power point slides for the words using google images. Fluent Forever suggests that just the process of searching for images of a vocabulary word will help create schema for the concept.
I tend to agree because I learn quickly with visuals – not to mention I agree with the idea that it’s important to not just learn the word “Grandma” but to learn the concept for “Romanian grandma”. American grandmas are similar to Romanian grandmas, but there are some cultural differences you can see visually [google images bunica vs. grandma]
(Romanian Bunica vs. American Grandma)
Here are some other slides I’ve made to help me learn vocabulary – these are especially useful for concepts that are entirely visual, like color:
here’s another vocabulary word that has cultural implications:
…as you can see, my experience with dogs in Romania has really been more of the “pack of stray dogs” variety. I’ve been told that Romanian dogs are really meant more for house protection instead of what I have in America (basically a shih-tzu that hasn’t realized he’s not a human child).
On the left – “fierce Romanian dogs” Bobby and Nora;
On the right – “Cujo” aka Nora [and Claudiu]
For me, the slides are the best way to go, but you can turn these into anything you want, like flashcards (PP gives you the option of printing several slides per page), or you can start with a flash card app like Anki to begin with. Try a few variations and see what helps you learn fastest – and if you discover something better, please let me know.