Vocabulary Building Techniques | Tips For Improving English
Mirth, genial, convivial, enraptured, blithe, unalloyed, delirious, exhilarated, rhapsodic, enrapt, beatific, bonny, exultant, rollicking, jaunty, elysian, chipper, cavort, carousing, reveling.
Isn't it interesting to discover that a normally used word 'happy' has so many synonyms ?
Won’t it be a delight to know most of these words - so that it is easier for you to comprehend most of the text you read?
Have you ever read a book, a magazine or a newspaper where in you could not enjoy it completely, because you couldn’t understand or comprehend a particular word? Or have you some time left reading something; may be some article because you got stuck up with a word? Or for that matter, did you sometimes feel the problem of not laughing at the punch line of a joke, because you couldn’t understand a vocabulary word in the punch line? Or you couldn’t follow a piece of conversation because you were not able to understand the words spoken by the speakers! Doesn’t this all make it a mandate for all of us to be reasonably good (if not very good) with vocabulary? In a nut shell – to read, to enjoy, to converse, to understand – for almost everything, you require a good vocabulary.
The second most important issue is, when we want to learn words & want to know vocabulary but we don’t know how to do it, as mugging up a word – list is one of the most tedious jobs possible. Learning up words is a very, very arduous task because one can’t remember huge lists full of words one hasn’t even heard of. Let us try to work out what are the possible ways in which we can improve our know how of words.
Your goal should be a deep-processing of words. Deep-processing implies that these words become a part of you, almost as your native language is a part of you.
You might find it hackneyed & clichéd but flash –cards do help you. It is the quickest way to get just the repetition that you need on the words you want to repeat. Write target words & phrases on the cards (at the back as well as on the front). As you review the list, separate the words in 2 piles; those you understand & those you do not. Keep going through the yet-unlearned words until you attain a speedy mastery of them.
Have you tried relating the new vocabulary words to some person? Say you don’t like an acquaintance because you think he is foolish & gives sudden stupid statements. You can give him another name as a ‘dolt’ whose dumb remarks come in a bolt (dolt = dumb + bolt). Try using cognates (words directly related to the word in question) & things will be easier for you. For example, semper fidelis (“Always faithful”) is the motto of US marines. Cognate of ‘fidelis’ is fidelity. Isn’t that interesting?
(Caution: The cognate is rarely the exact equivalent of the meaning of the original word).
You should also try inserting the new words you learn into sentences you often use. (Doing this with foreign words will be special fun). Like now, we know ‘semper’ is ‘always’. So, the sentences could be:-
- I will ‘semper’ have trouble with vocabulary unless I give time to it.
- Two & two semper make four-SEMPER!
There is a wonderful key letter or key-sound technique to practice for your vocabulary improvement. Think of a word, based on the first (or very prominent) syllable of the word (or in the sound of the word & then create a story or a phrase, involving both these words (the made – up one) & the meaning of the original word. For example, semper might suggest the sound of simmer. Think of a volcano that is ALWAYS “SIMMERING”. Hold the image. To fix the association of ‘always’ & ‘simmering’, you might make up a story about visiting Sicily, Hawaii or Japan & not being able to see a volcano because it is active. (I am sure that after reading this piece of text, you will now semper remember the meaning of SEMPER – hey “simper remember” has nice ring to it too)
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