Should I look up every Italian word I don’t know?

Should I look up every word I don't know?

Should I look up every word on the dictionary? When encountering new vocabulary, a lot of Italian Learners immediately resort to the Dictionary to find out the meaning of the unknown word. While that might make a lot of sense, it could interfere with your learning. Here are a few reasons why we recommend refraining from doing so every time you don’t know a word:

  • It is Unrealistic: Having a dictionary always ready might feel comforting, but it is an unrealistic tactic simply because it is nearly impossible to stop and look up words while you’re watching TV, listening to the Radio or having a conversation.
  • It is Distracting: Whenever you decide to look up a word, you direct your attention to something other than listeningreading or speaking. This can affect your overall understanding of a subject or conversation limiting your progress at mastering the language.
  • It is not Worth It: Most of the time, the words you will be trying to look up are so infrequent that you might only encounter them 2-3 times in a year! So spending time on these words is probably not a wise investment of your precious time and energy.
  • But…! What if the words are frequent? If that is the case, then chances are you will encounter them again and again. Each time you are exposed to them, you will have a greater chance of understanding what they mean from the context. Some words are easier to figure out than others, but don’t worry, learning the meaning of a word this way will allow you to remember it much more than by simply looking it up on the dictionary!

Now with that being said, we are not implying that you should never look up words on the dictionary. There is an invisible line where looking up words can accelerate your learning vs. hindering it. If you find yourself looking at the dictionary longer than you are reading in Italian, then maybe it might be time to review your approach and dedicate more time and energy to the language rather than the dictionary!

Ready to apply what you just learned? Try one of our Short Stories. It’s a great way to explore Italian cities, learn about Italian culture and learn the actual spoken language in a fun and effortless way!

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