In any country, success comes with a deep understanding of communication, and where English is referred to as the official language of business/profession, you need to possess extensive knowledge of words, their synonyms, and their uses. Vocabulary is referred to as the set of words that one is familiar with. A person’s vocabulary grows steadily with given time, and good vocabulary serves as an extremely useful tool for communicating, evolving, and acquiring greater knowledge.
The specialized set of terms and distinctions which are particularly important to a certain group is known as ‘focal’ vocabulary. Vocabulary or lexicon is a language dictionary; it constitutes to a set of names for events, things, and ideas. It is believed by linguists that lexicon used to influence people’s perception of things, such as – the Nuer of Sudan has an elaborated vocabulary to describe cattle. The cattle have particular histories, economies and environment, as a result of which Neur had dozens of names for cattle.
As infants grow to become children, improving their vocabulary doesn’t require any efforts, as they tend to mimic almost every word that falls on their ear, and which they associate with actions and objects. This process is called ‘listening’ vocabulary. ‘Speaking’ vocabulary is the next step, which happens as individuals grow, and the expressions of their thoughts require more than mere gestures or sounds. Mistakes and irregularities pertaining to language can come to light by making it a habit to read and write regularly, or at least often, and by questioning the uses of words, phrases, sentences, figures of speech etc, solely for your own understanding.
On an average, a person learns more than 3000 words per year, which is about 8-10 words per day. Vocabulary can be improved by playing word games like scrabble, by reading books by good authors and those who do not drag art down to the level of mediocrity, participating in debates, language training programs, essay writing competitions, young literary competitions, freelancing as writers for websites and publishing etc. Dedication, focus, and practice is required to learn and embed these words into our mind, and be able to use them in proper contexts, simultaneously ensuring continual expansion of our knowledge and imagination.
More tips to improve your vocabulary:
First, it’s important to know your goals, and to choose the most appropriate way in which you will learn optimally. One of the most efficient ways to improve your vocabulary is by reading lot of books, regardless of whether fiction or non-fiction, or even a collection of essays or short stories. While reading, you will come across many words that are alien to your understanding. Do not let them pass by without mapping them into your mind, keep a dictionary with you, or use an online dictionary to find out the meaning of those words whose meanings you don’t know. And believe it nor not, you’ll seek more pleasure in reading books from then on. You progress as you discover, where the pleasure that you get by discovering something new forms the root of determination to keep going.
Choose the subjects that interest you the most. Write a brief introduction of that subject and try to use as much vocabulary concerning the subject as you can. Essay writing need not be just an academic practice. Many choose to pursue it as a hobby. You can start by writing short essays, comprising of 300 words, then increasing the number of words as you advance towards mastery. De facto, it would be better if you start writing without having a work limit in your mind. It will enable you to explore that space to the maximum. Also, writing involves a lot of thoughtful analysis, where you’ll come across many contradictions, which also you must remember to write down. Eventually, you’ll learn how to fit all the pieces together, and it’ll no longer be a puzzle for you.
Here’s another great way to improve your vocabulary – open a random page from the dictionary, and pick any five words that you have come across for the first time, or those whose meanings are unclear to you; and form abut ten sentences for each word, referring to the dictionary as required, in order to get a clear idea. This will help you embed the definitions of these words in your mind, and there you have new words for future public demonstration. In order to ensure that you use such words in the right context, research online and you’ll come across at least a million instances where these words are used; this will help you use the words optimally in your communication, regardless of what mode you are using to communicate. Practice this exercise for 40 minutes to one hour every alternate day, and you’ll find your vocabulary perpetually improving from then on.
We are in the midst of an eon, where our collective evolution is majorly dependent on technology. As of today, we are bestowed with great wonders that are easily accessible, including inventions like television, iPods, music players, DVD players etc, which might seem like old innovations, but play a major role in the process of acquiring knowledge. Now, most of us have made it our pastime to watch the TV during leisure time. Here’s a chance to make use of our boredom efficiently – all you need to do is watch more English movies from the renowned names in the industry; this will help you explore the language to the maximum, and that while truly enjoying the learning process. Now, isn’t this an optimal learning environment?
Following are more ways to improve your vocabulary:
Make word formation charts as they act as essential keys for advanced learners. It helps you to prepare for advanced English tests such as IELTS, TOEFL etc. the word formation chart provides you with the concepts of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verb forms of key vocabulary words listed in alphabetical order. Remember, you don’t need to force your gaze through a boring book on English grammar, you may instead choose to keep reading, and you’ll witness the powers of our mind, as to evolve so that it can understand the things it comes across.
Create a visual dictionary for yourself; it is rightly said that one picture is worth a thousand words. It helps you to learn precise vocabulary for your use. Also, our brain tends to store lucid images of events if they’re colorful and catchy, where the word “colorful” refers to being attractive. We can visualize words into something that will be apt for our understanding, and thus we adopt an easy way to grasp things. Learn collocations; the words that always go together are referred to as collocations
Learning English as a language has never been so easy, and that with all the literary or art materials that are available for access anytime, in our vicinity. Internet forms a great source for learning anything, and it has a lot to offer when it comes to improving vocabulary.