How to increase your vocabulary
August 17, 2019
Hi, again. Welcome back to engVid.com. I’m Adam. Today’s lesson is meant to show you ways of increasing your vocabulary. I know some of the other teachers on engVid.com have done these lessons, I just want to throw my two cents in. If you know what that means, it means I want to give my own piece of advice. I have few ideas for you, we’re going to start with these, we’ll look at a few others, more practical ones as well. The most important thing that you can do to increase your vocabulary is read, read a lot. What should you read? Anything and everything, but the most important thing is: read what you are interested in, okay? If you like sports, read a sports magazine. If you like movies, read a movie magazine, even better, read the script of the movie. If the movie is based on a novel, read the novel. For example, recently the movie “Life of Pi” was very famous in the theaters, it’s based on a novel, read the novel, it’s a pretty good book. My favorite movie, “Shawshank Redemption”, based on a novela by Stephen King, read it. Best way to increase your vocabulary. Also, don’t just learn new words and try to remember them. Write, write a lot. Use the words you’re learning, right? Every time you learn a new word, you should have a notebook with you all the time anyway, write the word in a sentence, but not just in any sentence, make sure that the sentence clearly shows that you know the meaning of the word. So lets- For example, I know everybody knows this word, but “beautiful”. Everybody knows this word, but let’s say it’s a new word for you. Don’t write “the sky is beautiful”, it doesn’t tell me anything about the word “beautiful”, the sky is also blue, does beautiful mean blue? No. Make sure you’re using something. I love to see a beautiful sky that has pretty clouds and a sunshine and a nice color, a nice shade of blue because it makes me feel happy. Not the best example, it’s a very long sentence, but you get my idea. Now, again, coming back to that notebook, always have a notebook with you, always have a pen with you, and don’t limit yourself to one new word. When you learn a new word, make sure you learn different forms of the same word, okay? So, for example, the word ‘beautiful’, let’s say this is a new word for you, you learned the word ‘beautiful’. Put it in your adjective column, it’s an adjective, that’s what you want, but why not learn the other forms. For example, what is the adverb form of “beautiful”? I think most of you know it, it”s “beautifully”. So, you have now two new words. What is the noun form of “beautiful”? It’s “beauty”, you now have three new words in your vocabulary. Isn’t there a verb form of “beautiful”? Yes. As a matter of fact there is. ‘Beautify’, means “to make beautiful”. You now have four new words. Think of other words, ‘beautician’. A beautician is a person who works in making people more beautiful. Uh, she does facials and manicures and pedicures and wax and whatever else these beauticians do. Anyways, try to find other forms, learn many words instead of just one word, okay. Now, some people like to study roots and suffixes and prefixes. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this recommendation, but first let me explain what a root is. For example, you have the root “-ject” So you learn: inject, eject, object, subject; all the different words that come from the root, so many people only study the word, or the root, “-ject”. and think that that will help them understand all the words with this root. It’s a good idea if you have the patience, I think most people who are studying English don’t like to study roots because it’s like studying another language. If it works for you do it; if it doesn’t, don’t. Okay, and now another thing you can do: Listen, listen to any spoken English that you can. I think some of you may have heard of ted.com. It’s a good website, people give talks and lectures about different topics. Listen, listen carefully. Anytime you hear a word that you don’t recognize, write it down. If you don’t know the spelling, no problem. Write it phonetically. Write the word just like it sounds, then if you have access to a transcript, means all the words that were spoken, written down, check the transcript and find your word. If you cant, if you don’t have a transcript, go to a dictionary. Now some of you have asked me to recommend a dictionary. Very simple, they’re online, you can get the paper one or the online one, “Merriam-Webster” (m-w.com): American English oxforddictionaries.com: British English, okay. Now, I know I’ve seen a lot of students use, like, their electronic dictionaries. They go from like English to Korean, English to Japanese, English to Spanish Don’t do that anymore, okay? English to English. This way you’re learning more words as you’re learning one word. “I don’t know this word”; I look at the definition, in the definition I might be, I might be learning other words, okay? You will maximize how many words you learn by using an English to English dictionary. Now, again about those electronic dictionaries. Sometimes, like especially when people are trying to write, they will write a sentence in their native language, and then press “translate” on this dictionary, and get a sentence in English. Now, I’ve seen sentences that I knew came from the electronic dictionary because they made no sense, okay. They were terrible, terrible sentences. Don’t do that. Okay? The people who made these dictionaries might not know English very well. Keep that in mind, okay? So these are some ideas, now I’m going to tell you what I think are the best ideas to increase your vocabulary. Okay, so now we’re going to look on a couple of other ways you can increase your vocabulary. These are very effective, but it takes a lot of patience, a lot of perseverance. You have to try hard, you have to keep doing it, because vocabulary; not so easy, right? Okay, so first we’re going to start with cards. You get yourself a stack of cards, maybe this big. Not too big because you’re going to want to carry them in your pocket, take them with you everywhere you go, okay? On one side of the cards, you’re going to write words; four maybe five words that are new words for you. You’re going to write sentences on the back, on the other side of the card, you’re going to use these words in sentences so you have the clearer meaning. Or you can write the meaning of the word, the dictionary meaning. Both okay. Now, you’re going to split your cards into three piles, okay? You’re going to have the pile of cards of words that you know, words you’re comfortable with. Eventually, you will have a pile like this, words that you’re very comfortable with, you know them very well, you don’t need to look at these cards very often, okay? Now, before I continue, where do you get these words? Get them from a TOEFL site, or an IELTS site, or an SAT site, or an SAT book, for example, they have lists of words that you need to learn. Put all these words on cards, split them up like this. You know these words very well, you don’t need to look at. These words you’re almost sure, or at least you recognize these words, you’ve seen them before, you’ve heard them before. You can guess what they mean, maybe in context. So you’re not sure, put them in this pile. This pile, you will look at all the time. And then in the last pile, you put words that you really don’t know, okay? This is the pile you will look at the most. You will study these words. As they become more familiar, you move them to this pile. This pile you study also very regularly. You take the- This pile is the one you put in your pocket and take with you when you go outside. On the bus you can look at your words; long line at the bank, pull out your cards and look at the words, okay? When this word becomes very comfortable for you, when you know what this word means, you move it over to this pile and leave it at home, okay? Don’t Know Almost Sure Know Study, move; Study, move Put aside; Once in a while look at them just to make sure you remember, because if you never look at these again, you will forget them, okay? So it’s all the time, continual, you have to practice, practice, practice, practice. Vocabulary is a lot of memorization, that’s the way it is. Now, here’s another thing you can do, okay, this is the last one I’ll show you today. What you do is you make yourself groups of words, okay? You take- You can do it many ways, you can make yourself a little, like uh, like a little brain storm. For example, if we’re looking at roots, you write the root in here, “-ject”, and then you write ‘reject’, ‘inject’, ‘eject’, ‘subject, etc., or in a list, however way works for you. So, three ways that I will recommend to group words Again, if you like the roots, group them like that: ‘eject’, ‘reject’, ‘object’, ‘subject’, ‘inject’. Now, the reason you’re going to make groups is because maybe you don’t remember ‘object’ or ‘object’ (remember, noun or verb), but you remember “-ject”, you remember this group. You sort of remember what “-ject” means so you can apply it to ‘object’. “-ject” is like push, in most contexts, “object” is push away; refuse, okay? So if you don’t remember the word, hopefully you will remember the idea of the group, and then that will remind you what the word means, okay? Another group you can use is similar meanings, so, synonyms; words that have similar meanings or a similar function, okay? So, for example. I’m going to look at this function: ‘Increase’, ‘extend’, ‘expand’, ‘accelerate’, ‘intensify’, ‘reinforce’ All of these have some sort, in their meaning, have some sort of connection to ‘increase’. ‘Extend’: make longer; increase length or time, duration ‘Expand’: increase the size or scope ‘Accelerate’: increase the speed ‘Intensify’: increase intensity ‘Reinforce’: increase strength So you- Maybe you see the word reinforce, you’re reading something, you see the word reinforce, you’re not exactly sure what it means but you remember the group it was in. The group was the increase group, so reinforce means increase, plus the context of the sentence you saw it in, will help you understand it means increase in strength or in-, sometimes it could be increase in number, like number of soldiers, reinforce the position The last group is theme, for example, let’s say for today the theme is technology, okay? So, you write words that have to do with technology: ‘obsolete’, ‘state-of-the-art’, ‘update’, ‘downgrade’, ‘cutting-edge’ All these words, we can talk about, like, computer softwares or computers. ‘Obsolete’: old; not useful anymore; nobody uses this anymore Uh, Windows XP, maybe not completely obsolete but almost obsolete. Hardly anybody uses it anymore. ‘State-of-the-art’ means the newest, ‘Cutting-edge’: the newest; the most modern; the most advanced you can get ‘Update’: to make newer, ‘Downgrade’: to make less, for example, I have Windows 8; I don’t like it. I want to downgrade to Windows 7, but can’t do it, Windows 8 won’t let me. But anyway, so you have a theme, you have a function, you have the root. Learn in chunks, if you don’t remember one word, you’ll remember the group; it will help you understand the word you’re looking at, okay? Go to engVid.com; I’ll give you a quiz, give you some more practice with these ideas, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, and come again, we will do this again. Thanks.