Monday, December 11, 2006

Vocabulary, Vocabulary, Vocabulary

What made Shakespeare the greatest writer in English literature? His stories were good, for sure - but a lot of them were simply re-workings of historical events or legends. His rhythm and rhyme were good, too - but everyone else was doing the same. What made Shakespeare great, and what can make you great too, was the size of his...

Vocabulary! It is believed that the average person is able to recognise between 10 and 15 thousand words. Shakespeare used 35,000 words in his plays and sonnets, thus making him the ultimate communicator in history.

What are the benefits you can derive from improving your vocabulary?

1 Greater understanding means being better informed. So it's easy to read comic books but a bit more tricky reading "the Times". Want the edge on your colleagues or competitors? You must be at ease with your language, and have a good understanding. it can be embarrassing and even destructive to find yourself in a situation where everyone is using a word that you don't know. Knowledge is power!

2 Add spice to your public speaking. Using the same words over and over gets boring. Having a large vocabulary will always keep your audience keen. Be careful though, using long words just to impress will always have the opposite effect, people will switch off if they think you are being pompous.

3. Get your message across more effectively. Many people believe that the word 'synonym' means 'another word for the same thing'. This is not true. If two words meant exactly the same thing, we wouldn't need them. Synonyms are similar words, but not the same. Having a good range of synonyms can add not only richness to your speech, but also make you communicate more effectively. The nuances that you create in your choice of vocabulary will hit the nail on the head as far as your listeners are concerned. They will go away knowing exactly what the message was, not just some vague idea.

The best way to improve your vocabulary is get a thesaurus and start adding words to your active vocabulary. Using mind maps is great way to organise your ideas: write a word in the middle of blank sheet of paper and use colors and images to build associations. If you've never used mind maps before, now's the time to get started. You can see some examples at my site.

1 comment:

Freya said...

Thats a great blog, very informational and purposeful, thanks for posting such great vocabulary info with us.