Thursday, December 20, 2007

five ways to improve your vocabulary - part 1

Many of you write to me saying that you lack vocabulary and would like to know what is the best way to improve. Others say that they need English for a specific purpose, like business, and request lessons on business vocabulary. still others need to travel, so need travel vocabulary.

So everyone has their own reason for learning a language, and this reason is the most important motivation you can have for wanting to learn. If you need English to go on holiday to Las Vegas, there is simply no point in spending time learning Sillicon Valley business idioms.

I'm going to give you five ways to help you retain the new words that you learn during your study periods. Be aware, however, that all of these techniques need lots of revision for them to be effective, and like it or not, repetition is still the best way to fix a word or expression in your head.

Number One:

Link words that go together and review often. I started the mind map below based on the theme of wine, a favourite subject amongst my French students. I test their vocabulary by asking them what the English word is for the instrument they use to open the bottle. Usually they don't know the word 'corkscrew', and it is a difficult word for them to retain as it doesn't bear any immediate similarity to any word in French. By linking familiar words to less familiar ones, we have a better chance of understanding and, eventually, retaining them for later use. So on the mind-map we have 'bottle' which is recognisable as coming from 'bouteille' in French, and next to it the word 'cork'. If I link the verb 'to open' with 'cork' and then add 'corkscrew', you could probably guess that it is the French word for 'tirebouchon' (if you're a French-speaker, of course, as most of my readers are).

Try this technique with a group of vocabulary that you need to learn. Each branch of the mind map should have words that relate to each other - so 'living room' would link to 'sofa' 'coffee table' 'television' and other things that are found in a living room. Do a personal 'brainstorming' with a dictionary to see how many words you can come up for a given subect.


Generic Cialis said...

This post can clear many people's doubts in respect to gaining more vocabulary and retaining new words that. Words that you normally wouldn't be able to learn.

VocabularyImprovement said...

Thanks for sharing this piece of information. It is really useful.

psychic said...

I like to increase my vocabulary and learn new words and associated meaning with each day that passes. Your vocab expands in leaps and bound this way.

readingcare said...

the ways of improve vocabulary you mention above is really great.....

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