How do I begin to increase my vocabulary?
Vocabulary is an ongoing process. It continues throughout your life. What you have done is to slow your effective method of learning vocabulary down to a snail’s pace.
When you were younger you learned something day in and day out. You kept squeezing every moment of the day into a new and different learning situation. You continually asked questions and drove yourself to learn more. Look at the following examples:
- at the age of 4 you probably knew 5,600 words
- at the age of 5 you probably knew 9,600 words
- at the age of 6 you probably knew 14,700 words
- at the age of 7 you probably knew 21,200 words
- at the age of 8 you probably knew 26,300 words
- at the age of 9 you probably knew 29,300 words
- at the age of 10 you probably knew 34,300 words
- college sophomore you probably knew 120,000 words
What this tells you is the more you learn, the more vocabulary you will know. No matter what your age, you must continue to learn. Words are “symbols” for ideas. These ideas formulate knowledge and knowledge is gained largely through words.
- Read. the more you read, the more words you will come in contact with.
- Use new found vocabulary in your everyday communication (writing, speaking).
- Become familiar with the glossary of your textbooks.
- Become familiar with the dictionary. Understand the pronunciation keys as well as why there are multiple meanings for words.
- Try to learn 5 new words a day. If you know these words – use them in your communication process. Without using these new words, it is a waste of your time.
Read. Read books from fields other than your major. Read books which interest you and concentrate while you read.
Virginia State University