Drastically Improve Your Vocabulary With These 7 Fun And Easy Ways

It’s amazing how dependent we are on language in our everyday lives. We use it to learn and communicate, to read, and to work. There are many benefits from having a wide vocabulary, whether you are signing up for an online college course or learning a new language. It can help you express yourself better and improve your chances of promotion at work. Perhaps you feel your command of English is limited and holding you back in your social or work life due to a lack of vocabulary. If that’s the case there’s no need to despair. This article will provide you with seven keys to learning more words than ever before and thereby increasing your vocabulary. 

1. Play Word Games

If you make learning fun, it becomes a whole lot easier. You can become disciplined in your education, and laugh along the way. It may be you can go to a local store and buy such games as Boggle or Scrabble. Why not invite some friends around each week to play, and provide some drinks and snacks as an incentive? Don’t despair if your friends seem better than you. Explain to them that it’s not your easiest subject, but that you are trying to learn. In turn, they will respect you for it. A visit to www.unscramble.org shows that there are even online tools you can use to help. If you are staring blankly at a set of jumbled letters you can use special software that acts as a word finder. You simply enter the letters and – hey presto – they appear. Whilst this is technically cheating, it’s a great way to learn new words as you play. 

2. Create Flashcards 

Students have used these for decades as revision tools. They are small pieces of card containing information on both sides. You could add a new word on one side, and the dictionary definition on the other. What happens next is you slowly build up your collection, and test yourself by reading the definitions and trying to remember the word. Even if you add just one new word a day, it’s amazing how quickly they will add up. If you’re trying to learn new words about science or a specific country for example, choose words that fit into these categories.  

3. Select Words That You React To

Whilst it may be hard to memorize ‘dead’ words like ‘algorithm’ it can be easier if you choose words you can relate to. If you are trying to learn new Italian words, for example, select some that already have some meaning to you. Perhaps you had a vacation there and visited a cathedral, library or art gallery. If you memorize these words in Italian, you’ll have instant emotions that accompany them. In terms of neuroscience, we most remember the things that have emotions attached to them. If you saw something negative such as a car crash or fire in Italy, those words would also conjure up emotions that would help you remember. 

4. Learn To Enjoy Reading

If you want to learn more words about ecology, read magazines on it. If it doesn’t particularly matter which words you learn, the sky is the limit. All you need to do is choose books or publications that most appeal to you. This will take the drudgery out of the process. Once some of these new words become familiar to you, you’ll be surprised how you begin to effortlessly use them in your daily conversations. It’s never been an easier time to read, thanks to technology. Rather than filling up your home with paperback and hardback books, you can read e-books or use a Kindle reader for your favorite books and magazines.

5. Use Word Association

You may have wondered how taxi drivers manage to memorize so many road names, or how professors retain so much information. Word association is one handy tool you can use to improve your recall. When people use filing cabinets they often have labels in the drawers that explain what each file contains. Whilst it may be just one or two words, it makes it easier to find what they are looking for. Word association is similar to this. When you learn a new word, try and connect a mental picture with it. If you meet someone called Stephen Wood, think of a step, a hen and wood. Put it all into one picture in your mind, and the next time you meet him you’ll remember his name! This principle can work for any new word if you can think of a pictorial association that can accompany it. 

6. Buy A Dictionary And Thesaurus

Dictionaries are a great way for you to look up words you don’t understand. You’ll also find plenty of new ones while you’re looking! This can be a great way of finding words for your flashcards. A Thesaurus is slightly different to a dictionary. For each word that you look up, it will provide you with many other examples that have a similar meaning. For instance, the word ‘laugh’ may feature such words as ‘chuckle’, ‘chortle’ or ‘titter’ to help you expand your vocabulary.  Some online versions include example sentences, which help you see the word being used in context. This can make learning easier. 

7. Learn A Foreign Language

If you want to learn French, it’s worth having a vacation in a French-speaking country. Everywhere you go you’d hear the language being spoken. It would feature on posters, in magazines and on television. Additionally, there would be less chance (or temptation) to slip back into speaking English. It’s not enough to discover lots of foreign words alone. You would also need to learn and understand their culture, how they think, and even their sense of humor. Hopefully, you now feel excited and hopeful about increasing your vocabulary. It doesn’t always have to be a difficult or unenjoyable process. Over time you may be surprised at just how many new words you have learned, and how often you begin to use them. You’ll enjoy reading more, and find learning much easier as a result.

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