How Gestures Help You Learn Vocabulary Better


How Gestures Help You Learn Vocabulary Better

By Geralde Vincent-Bancroft

There are a lot of different ways to learn new vocabulary words. Some people prefer to use flashcards, others like to use mnemonic devices, and still others prefer to simply read and write the words. But there is another method that can be very effective for learning vocabulary-gestures! In this blog post, we will discuss how gestures can help you learn new vocabulary words better than ever before!

Gestures and improved memorisation confirmed scientifically

When it comes to language learning, gestures can be a huge help. In fact, many experts believe that gestures play a significant role in vocabulary acquisition. By using gestures, you can improve your understanding of new words and increase your ability to remember them. 

It can help you remember the words more easily. When you gesture while saying a word, it helps to create a mental connection between the word and the action by activating areas of your brain responsible for movement. This can be especially helpful for words that are difficult to remember, helping you with their recollection even months later. This is due to the fact that you are using more than one sense when trying to learn the vocabulary.

 When you see and hear the word, as well as use a physical gesture, your brain is better able to store this information.

Gestures trigger emotions associated with words.

Gestures trigger emotions

Another benefit of gestures is that they can help trigger  emotions associated with the words. This can be especially beneficial when trying to learn a foreign language. By incorporating gestures, you are not only learning the words but also the culture associated with them.

For example in Italy, gesturing with your index and middle finger crossed is considered very offensive. If you are trying to learn Italian gestures, it is important to be aware of this so that you do not accidentally offend someone.

Gestures help you transfer the word to a new context

Another benefit of using gestures is that it can help you learn the word in multiple contexts. For example, if you learn the word “run” by gesturing, you can then learn how to use the word in other contexts by gesturing different actions like “I’m running late for my meeting” or “I need to run to the store.”

One way to use gestures when learning vocabulary is to make a game out of it. For example,

Make it fun

One way to use gestures when learning vocabulary is to make a game out of it. For example, you can write down a list of vocabulary words on pieces of paper and then put them in a hat or jar. Take turns pulling out a word and then making the associated gesture. You can also do this with flashcards. When you are studying, flip over a card and make the related gesture. This will help you learn the word and its meaning better.

Use different gestures

There are many different gestures that you can use when learning vocabulary words. Below are some of the most common ones.

Pointing: This is a great gesture to use when learning spatial words, such as “left” and “right.”

 Hand Clapping: This is a great gesture to learn action verbs with. For example, clap your hands together when you see the word “jump.”

 Shaking Your Head: Use this gesture for words that you want to remember not to do. For example, shake your head “no” when you see the word “forget.”

Nodding: Nodding your head can help you learn words that indicate agreement or understanding, such as “yes” and “okay.”

 Drawing in the Air: This is a great gesture to use for words that are hard to imagine, such as “invisible.”

Touching Your Nose: This is a great gesture to learn body parts with. For example, touch your nose when you see the word “head.”

 Waving: Use this gesture for words that indicate movement, such as “come” and “go.”

As you can see, there are many different ways that you can incorporate gestures into your vocabulary learning. Give some of these a try the next time you are studying and see if they help you learn the words better. You may be surprised at just how effective they can be.


The brain uses motor areas to remember foreign-language words, so it stands to reason that gestures can help you learn vocabulary better. When you hear a new word, try saying it out loud and making a corresponding gesture. You can also try using different intonations to see if that helps you learn the word better. If you’re having trouble remembering a particular word, try closing your eyes and gesturing the movements associated with the word. This will help activate the motor areas of your brain and solidify the memory.

Learning vocabulary is an important part of mastering a new language, and gestures can be a helpful tool in that process. So next time you’re trying to learn a new word, don’t forget to give yourself a little physical reminder!

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