A good vocabulary can help you communicate better in everyday life and express yourself in the best way possible. The better your vocabulary is, the more precise you can be about what you are saying or writing.
To incorporate a word into your vocabulary, you need to properly understand its meaning and then use it and reuse it. The following tips by Philip Sunil Solomon, ELT expert, language trainer, currently working in English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad, (Author of books -- 'Objective General English' and 'Word Power: Vocabulary Builder', published by Oxford University Press) will help you build a great vocabulary in just 10 days.
Reading is the single biggest thing that one can pursue to build vocabulary and needless to mention that it offers a whole host of other benefits as well. Without specifically trying to study vocabulary, one can encounter tons of new words, the meanings of which one can often glean from the context in which the word is situated.However one should not rely exclusively on context or situation. Reading offers not just an awareness of words, but a real feel for them.The broader and more challenging the reading selections are, the beefier the working vocabulary will become. Read high-caliber newspapers, journals and magazines.
Research shows that the vast majority of words are learned from context. It may not be emphasized enough, as learning in context of situations and sentences has huge benefits for all three aspects of vocabulary acquisition, learning, recall and retention.Vocabulary should always be learnt in context not in isolation. There are many ways of introducing context into the vocabulary learning, the simplest being to learn vocabulary in sentences. This has additional benefits of introducing the readers to several words at a time, and clarifying their meaning which may not always be obvious from a simple dictionary translation. Beyond sentences, one can experiment with learning words with stories, songs or just everyday situations. For instance, rather than learning weather related words on their own, look up a weather forecast online, and try to imagine a conversation about weather next week, and how it will affect the picnic one has been looking forward to so much.
One can pick up new words from the people one talk with and listen to. This is, after all, exactly how we learned words back when we were toddlers. We try to figure out the context and try them out ourselves.The effectiveness of this listen-to-learn method depends on who we surround ourselves with. One should keep challenging oneself by associating with well-educated people, watching interesting lectures and taking the harder classes even if doing so makes one uncomfortable. Iron sharpens iron, and vocabulary of those with keen minds will rub off on us.
Reading and listening are effective ways to get exposed to new words. Write down the unfamiliar word encountered while listening or speaking in a pocket notebook (or smart phone) to retain the word in your memory better.
A word can have multiple meanings and shades of meaning, the author or speaker could possibly have used the word in a different context and even if one guesses the right meaning, there are chances of misinterpreting. Keep the definitions short, put it in your own words and immediately record it in your vocabulary notebook. One cannot really understand and remember the word if one can’t explain it oneself.Also, jot down the pronunciation of the word phonetically in a way you can understand. For example, for the word “oblique,” pronunciation could be written as “oh-bleek.” Try the e-dictionaries which have a button to click to hear the pronunciation.In addition to using the appropriate word in the relevant place, pronunciation is equally important. Pronouncing the words incorrectly is worse than not using the words at all. After writing down the proper pronunciation, the word needs to be said aloud several times.
Check the thesaurus and write down the word’s synonyms and antonyms to understand what the word signified better and if the situation demands, even draw a picture that can help you remember its meaning.
Use the new word several times in communication (spoken/written) as soon as you can. This will really help sear the word into your mind.
Make the best use of your smart phone by watching vocabulary development videos, learn the synonyms, antonyms and different parts of speech of the word at a time. Keep your eyes and ears open to build your vocabulary through whatsapp and face book videos and messages.
For instance: Entice is a verb, enticingly is adverb, enticing is adjective, and enticed is past and past participle.
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