Learning vocabulary is a large part of understanding a second language. Even if you have difficulty with the conjugation of verbs or understanding appropriate tenses, having a basic vocabulary is crucial when it comes to breaking the language barrier. Once you have a basic understanding of business, everyday, and travel vocabulary, it is time to start expanding your knowledge base. Instead of memorizing word lists or simply learning randomly generated words from "word-of-the-day" Web sites, make it a point to look up commonly used words and phrases in a Spanish thesaurus.
A thesaurus can often offer antonyms as well as synonyms to the Spanish word. Use an online thesaurus to make looking up words quick and easy.
The yourDictionary Web site provides a couple Spanish dictionary listings that lead to helpful thesauri. Both dictionaries and thesauri are entirely in Spanish, so advanced features may be somewhat out of a beginning language student's reach. However, they are still easy to use for most elementary learners.
In the Espanol section of Diccionarios.com, a synonyms and antonyms option is available. Choose from 5, 10, or 15 results and whether you want to search for an exact match or the start (empieza) or finish (termina) of the word. A helpful conjugation chart is also available, as are services for English, French, Italian, and more. Unfortunately, the service does charge a subscription fee after 25 free consultations.
The Universidad de Oviedo Diccionario de Sinonimos allows searches for 5, 10, 20, or 30 results, if available. A search for the term "bien" results in 16 different synonyms. Additionally, you may search in English for conjugations, antonyms, and other dictionaries for results of the word you are looking up.
Other Spanish language thesauri can be found online. Sites that offer a number of results, plus other helpful features, include:
Using a Web site that has instructions written in English may be easiest option for beginning Spanish students. Navigating sites entirely in Spanish can be intimidating and confusing, so chose one that offers instructions and translations as well as the thesaurus feature.
One Web site that offers synonyms and a translation is LookWAYup. Type in the English word you need translated, and it will offer an English definition. Below the definition, words that are synonyms of that definition in Spanish are colored green. This Web site is perfect for helping you generate new vocabulary words without having to jump from a translation site to a dictionary site and back to a thesaurus site. Online-Thesaurus offers a thesaurus search for several different languages at once: English, French, German, and Spanish. To search only in Spanish, uncheck the rest of the languages. A search for "buscar" results in 21 different synonyms. Unfortunately, the synonyms are not defined. A beginner would have to look up each one separately to find out the subtle differences in meanings.
A Spanish thesaurus can be a great supplement to any translation or foreign language dictionary. It will increase your vocabulary and boost your language skills as you learn a second tongue.