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If you’re a visual learner, you’ll benefit from using images to learn Polish vocabulary. In the early stages, while you don’t have enough vocabulary to understand a Polish monolingual dictionary, a more visual approach might be best.
Using images alongside other tools can be very beneficial both for trying to deduce what a word means as well as remembering its meaning. However, looking at images alone doesn’t always work.
If you’re a visual learner, you’re in luck
Visual learners might benefit from a visual dictionary. I used one very briefly when starting to learn Polish, but as I’m more of an auditory learner, I soon dumped it for other methods. If you happen to be more visually inclined, you might benefit from the book which I used “Polish-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary” by DK Bilingual Dictionaries. You can find out more about it on Amazon here:
It appears that since I borrowed it from my local library, they’ve bought out an updated version. I haven’t used it, so can only assume that it’s of a similar quality. It’s got more than 10,000 fully illustrated items in it and all of them are explained in both Polish and English. Check them out and see if they work for you. Here’s a link to the updated version:
Combine images with monolingual dictionary look ups
I don’t recommend solely referring to images in order to understand the meaning of vocabulary. Instead, combine them with Polish-only definitions, examples in context, and even the occasional English translation. Pictures allow you to build neural connections in your brain in order to remember words better. Memory is predominantly visual, so why not use that to your advantage? Connecting what you’re trying to learn with what you already know can help strengthen your all-important recall ability. That’s a key skill to master if you want to speak Polish fluently.
Why looking at pictures doesn’t always work
Sometimes it can be too hard to work out what the pictures you’re looking at are trying to represent. The images might all be of the same concept, but if you’ve ever played 4 Pics 1 Word (Android, iOs), you’ll know that you won’t always be able to easily work out what the connection is. By nature, some words are easier to visualise than others. Words describing physical, visible things like “jabłko”, “pudełko” and “światło” (“apple”, “box”, and “light” as in “lightbulb”, respectively) are easy to picture. Things like “powietrze”, “wysokość”, “często”, “lekki” or “rzeczy”, which roughly mean “air”, “height”, “often”, “light” (as in weight) and “stuff” are not.
You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain, so try it out and see if it works for you. Head to www.howtospeakpolish.com/imagesearch and get searching. You can start by looking up some words which you already know.[alert-warning]TL;DR: Searching for images of a Polish word after looking up its definition in a Polish dictionary and seeing its usage in sentences can help strengthen your recall of that word.[/alert-warning]
Give me examples of Polish words which are hard to visualise[alert-announce]I started doing less image searches after realising that (due to my terrible deduction skills) I couldn’t work out what lots of things meant! Give me a few examples of Polish words which are hard to visualise. If I don’t know the meaning, I’ll look it up in an image search and give you my best guess! If you see a word that you don’t know the meaning of in the comments, feel free to join in the fun! [/alert-announce]
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