Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tips for Improving Vocabulary Skills

If you speak English as a second language and would like to improve your vocabulary, follow these tips:

1. Keep a notebook with you and use it to write down 10 words you hear every day at work that you are not familiar with. At the end of every work week, you should have 50 new words! Look up the meaning of all of the words and memorize them. The website www.dictionary.com is a good resource to use, as it not only has definitions, but you can look up synonyms, as well. It also provides an audio of how the word is pronounced. Choose at least ten of these words to incorporate into your daily speech, when the situation fits.

2. Watch American television for at least one half hour per day. Programs that you may find most helpful in learning everyday words, slang, and common idioms are usually sitcoms. The word "sitcom" is short for "situation comedy." These are weekly humorous shows that usually last for half an hour. Because they are about everyday life, they include everyday words and expressions that Americans use all the time.

3. Read aloud every day for 2-3 minutes. This will not only provide pronunciation practice, but it will also be a good source of vocabulary words from which to include in your new word list. Try reading things like newspaper articles and magazine articles, as these reading sources will provide you with words that you can use in your daily speech. Novels are also good, but many times include advanced and formal words that we often do not use in informal social situations.

4. Look up synonyms for 20 common words you use on a regular basis, and try using these synonyms as an alternate to using the same words all the time. For example, instead of using the word "pretty", you could say "beautiful", "good-looking", "gorgeous", etc.

Just following these four simple tips will help you develop and improve your vocabulary tremendously! Try it for a month and let me know how it works for you!

20 comments:

Jim said...

Hi I'm trying to reduce my accent and learn the american accent. It's very difficult so I'm thinking about buying this product. http://www.learn-american-accent.com/ or something like that. Is it any good?

/ Jim

nivel said...

Great post ! Thanks I really Appreciate It

Carson said...

These are awesome tips, Cheryl! Don't you think children can use these methods too? But instead of watching TV, perhaps they could use computers so that their learning experience would be more fruitful. I came up with that suggestion because I know some parents who use computer programs such as WordSmart to let their children play and learn vocabulary all at once. They don't let faulty WordSmart complaints ruin their kids' chances of excelling in school, and for me, that's admirable.

Mimilikestea said...

I'm scared to death that my students would come out of my class and not be able to pronounce words correctly ON THEIR OWN! I know practice makes perfect and that things take time but I'm so gosh darn anxious about it!

crazy grammar said...

Great article! I'm going to keep a few of these in mind. I definitely need to get a regular exercise routine happening, read more and quit being addicted to the internet.

Sonia Roody said...

I always bring a dictionary to help me understand unusual words. Reading a dictionary can help improve one's vocabulary. English is fun and learning it can be enjoyable.

Gabe & Melanie said...

Hi Cheryl! I recently found your English language blog, and I thought you might be interested in a video series I've been producing on English pronunciation and the IPA.

The first one is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-e66ByetpDY

If you like them, I'd love to give them a wider audience in terms of getting them on more blogs and websites.

Best Regards,
-Gabe Wyner
www.towerofbabelfish.com

Julia Robert said...

Thanks for sharing this post.A great way to become a great English communicator is to learn how to increase English vocabulary.

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Phi David said...

Thank for share.
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Anonymous said...

Reading is good "Passive" way of improving vocabulary, but when you are resorting to making lists, that is "Active" method. Problem with active method of learning words is that it is cumbersome and boring, and you doing retain and unless you use it in writing sentences to apply the word, very little chance is that you increase your lexical size.

Improve Your Vocabulary - VocabMonk is an active learning tool which is personalized and makes sure you grasp the learnt words by applying it. It is lot of fun too as you can play vocab challenges with your friends.

Give it a shot!

vidhatanand said...

There are many methods adopted to learn vocabulary words. But still the problem of vocabulary learning persists. Therefore let's think about gamification strategies and sessions which are personalized to our learning and gives fun filled experience. All this can be found at one platform and that is www.vocabmonk.com

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Marg Online said...

As you read and uncover new words, use a combination of attempting to derive meaning from the context of the sentence as well as from looking up the definition in a dictionary.
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