Here are my tips on learning vocabulary:
- Flashcards (for example with the word in English on one side and in your language on the other) are good for memorising words. For electronic flashcards and practice, try Anki. BUT only using flashcards is not a good idea. You need to use other methods as well to really learn the vocabulary.
- If you have some vocabulary flashcards, put them in a place where you often go - in the kitchen or next to your toothbrush - and then practise one or two every day.
- Choose a word and challenge yourself to use it the next time you speak English. Once you've done it, choose a new one.
- Read, read, read. Read things that you are interested in and you will be learning useful vocabulary in context. (Don't look up too many words in the dictionary or you will just forget them. Practise your inference skills instead.)
- Learn chunks of vocabulary - groups of words which often go together. For example, don't learn the verb to be late on its own. Learn the very common phrase Sorry I'm late.
- I have the dictionary Linguee on my phone. If there's a word I need to know, I can look it up straight away and use it. You are more likely to remember a word that you use in context immediately than a random word on a list. You can test yourself - for example if you are in a cafe by yourself, look around and see if you can name everything you can see. if you don't know something, look it up there and then.
- Especially when you are beginning to learn a language, try mnemonics - connecting words with images. For example, to remember the Turkish word for elephant, fil, I imagined my father-in-law (FIL) as an elephant. You can have a look at this online dictionary which gives definitions and mnemonics. http://www.mnemonicdictionary.com/
- Practise regularly! It's better to spend 1 minute every day reading or listening to English, or reviewing vocabulary, than 20 minutes once a week.