Verbal communication remains one of the most widespread ways of how we transmit our ideas to other people, apprehend information, and collaborate with people around the globe. And the thing is, the richer your vocabulary is, the easier it is for you to express yourself orally or in writing, and the higher is the chance of being understood correctly. I decided to share my ten favorite techniques of how you can start learning new words and phrases quickly, easily, and with fun! Let’s start with the most important one.
1. Read, Read, Read!
Our brain is an amazing thing and it soaks in the information it processes, so we remember it and can use later on. When we read, we train our memory to match the words and concepts we know, and when we can’t do it, it means this is something new to us and we should understand what it is before remembering that. I know, it looks like the whole process when I explained it, but in our head, it takes milliseconds to digest and either move on or alert that this is something unknown. Why am I telling you all this stuff?
Because usually, the unknown triggers surprise and wonder which positively affects our memorizing things. Consequently, the more you read, the more you come across the unknown words you look up in a dictionary, the more new phrases you can use in writing or speech. And don’t take it from me – ask any writer what is the best way to learn new words and they will tell you the same. BTW, reading doesn’t only include books.
2. Play Word Quizzes
From Scrabble to Google Word Coach and other apps and games on the market – these are your tools to use to build a solid vocabulary base. Their convenience is that you do it online and can look up the meaning of the unknown word right away, so you check it in your fast memory. When you see it in writing or recognize it when someone is speaking, you’ll easily memorize it, and when you use it in the context, you can be proud that you’ve just added a word into your active vocabulary. Plus, there is a competition factor if you play it against somebody else, which also accelerates learning.
3. Get Into the Acting School
I know this is one of the tips you didn’t expect to see here but let me explain. Step zero to successful acting is to learn one character’s lines and try to feel everything in his/her skin. Most likely, the school will stage the plays of the classic and modern playwrights, and believe me, you’ll find unknown words in any of them. One of the reasons why this is a proven technique of how to enhance the quality and variety of one’s vocabulary is that it is learning in context, and you will have strong associations with the terms you try to memorize.
4. Learn Other Languages
And the students who deal with languages at the university won’t let me lie on this. When you learn a new language and if it happens to be from the same language family as your native one, you’ll learn new words. How is it possible?
Let’s assume English is your native language and you study French (and you already know there is a lot of borrowings from French in English). Your topic is fashion. In French, it can be either “mode”, or “couture”. In English, you can also use “couture” as a synonym to “fashion” and “mode” instead of “form” or “way”. Plus, you’ll understand the word-formation better (like in host and hostess, which are also from French) and learn that there are a lot of word characteristics the English language doesn’t have. Like gender that is expressed either by endings or articles, or both. Isn’t grammar fun?
5. Talk to Different People
People who work in different spheres use different discourses and vocabulary. If you’re friends with a future doctor, lawyer, programmer, and visual artist, you’ll know what a synonym to nose, contract, code, and installation is. Yes, by simply hanging out with them and talking about how their day was at the college.
6. Get Into Writing for Money
My favorite method on this list also means learning through hands-on practice. If you love writing, you can do it for money and for different clients. You can do a blog for a chef, or an SMM agency, or the local barbershop – it doesn’t matter, because you will have an actual need for a vocabulary that ‘slightly’ differs from your regular one. What will you do? Read more professional articles, find the job-specific words, and learn a lot from it!
7. Use Social Media (but Not Abuse It!)
The easiest way to keep updated on neologisms and put a word or two daily. A year ago nobody knew what “to Meghan Marke” was, not this is a legitimate verb which means to get out of the situation that causes a lot of difficulties in your life.
8. Learn Lyrics to Your Favorite Songs
It may ruin your appreciation for the song, but you will know what they are singing about. For some genre, it may be a bit difficult (like with spoken word or rap) if you aren’t familiar with it or not a native speaker. Still, I had to include it as music made me visit the Cambridge dictionary quite a few times.
9. Find a Synonym for Every New Word
Hard and difficult are synonyms, not the exact ones though, and knowing the nuances is what makes your vocabulary rich and the speech perfect. Thesaurus is a great tool when you need a list, and I highly recommend checking the meaning in the vocabulary and paying attention to the examples of usage.
10. Watch TV Series
Especially the field-specific ones. For instance, if you study the law and want to improve your professional vocabulary, search for law series like Suits or Law and Order. If you’re into fantasy or Sci-fi, GoT or Rick and Morty will do good. And you know there are a bunch of those, right?
These were the tips I wanted to share with you to turn the learning into a fun activity. Almost forgot about the most important: don’t learn random things. Focus on something that you know you will use as it makes the process more goal-oriented, and you will succeed in it faster.
Author’s Bio: Eve Maygar is a major contributor to PapersOwl. She is an education expert and has done endless research and spent hours gathering information on remote learning. Eve has many published pieces that appear in journals also manages an online education blog. As one of our top boggers, Eve continues to provide readers with the latest information on modern education. Be sure to check out her other work at PapersOwl and learn more about distance learning.