English vocabulary building tips: Strategies to Improve Vocabulary Memory
To learn a language, you need to learn new vocabulary. We do hear a lot of new words everyday but too often; it can feel like all those new words just go in one ear and out the other. Isn’t it?
As an online English speaking course in India, we encourage all our students to read as often as possible. Reading books has been a timeless source of knowledge and information. Not only does it help you to reduce stress, but it can also expand your mind and give new ideas.
However, many think that they need advanced language skills to be able to read a book. That’s absolutely wrong! As an online English tutor, I believe you can start taking advantage of this hobby even if you’ve just commenced your English learning journey. The key to success is to choose the right books. Research shows that students who read books regularly, beginning at a young age, gradually develop large vocabularies. If you’re one of those people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out.
When you are learning English (or any other language) whether by enrolling to online spoken English class or simply through group or private English lessons with an online English teacher, the course in question will deliver all what the curriculum mandates.
Your real journey towards spoken English fluency actually begins once your online English classes conclude. Contrary to what most of our students assume, an online English class is only enabling you with the means to foolproof your language basics, providing with the means and resources to embark on your English communication journey.
The buck does not stop here! The skill to speak and write fluent English for personal or professional is your own responsibility. Even if you join the best online English speaking course, the onus is on you to make the most of the learnings.
It is impossible to express your thoughts without knowing words, therefore having a good vocabulary is of utmost importance. The more words you know, the better you can express yourself. Vocabulary opens up doors to new worlds and makes learning fun and enriching. It is one of the simplest parts of language learning, definitely easier than the complexities of grammar.
Tips to smartly learn new English vocabulary words:
To build a good memory we just need to use simple words in order to understand and retain what we learn. Here are some tips to help you start learning new vocabulary words:
Develop a Habit of Reading
It is easier to learn vocabulary from a book than memorizing as you are able to see how they’re used. The more you read, the more words you’ll be exposed to. Also, with context information surrounding each new word, you might be able to guess its meaning by understanding the overall text.
Reading is a healthy exercise and equally enjoyable. Read something every day, be it a book, a newspaper, or a magazine, whatever you like! While reading, mark the words whose meaning you aren’t sure of. After you finish your reading session, check the meaning and usage of the marked words. According to research in 2015, it was found that reading-related activities were the primary cause of vocabulary growth. Reading is arguably one of the best means of grasping new vocabulary.
Learn Through Pictures
When we learn through pictures and visual cues, we retain it longer and more effectively. About 80-90% of the information that we absorb is visual. Surely, images and visual cues can help memorize vocabulary. For instance, when you watch movies, you hear a lot of words. Sometimes, when you don’t understand a word, you often guess it based on what’s happening and visual cues, such as facial expressions of the characters. When you see how vocabulary might be used in different situations, it helps you understand the context and usage of different words. Therefore, creating this additional association with the word will not only help you store it in your memory longer but recall it easier.
Create Fun Mnemonics
A mnemonic device is a form of word association that helps you remember words and store information in long-term memory and retrieve it more effectively. Mnemonics work by building connections with the word. It can be used to learn the alphabet, vocabulary, grammar, and other aspects of the language.
Types of mnemonics range from simple catchphrases to the creation of abbreviations and phrases. For example- “PEMDAS – Please excuse my dear Aunt Susie.” PEMDAS is a common mnemonic for remembering order of operations in pre-algebra which means: Parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, adding, and subtraction. You can create your own associations which will help you to remember difficult words.
Develop a Relationship with Music
Listening to music can provide the opportunity for enhancing vocabulary. Music has a great impact not only on our mental health but on our cognitive abilities too. It relaxes and helps us stay focused. As per the founder of Life Sounds Educational Services, sounds can help to hold attention and improve the memory as it’s simpler to memorize through rhythm and rhyme. If you like a song, try and look up the words you do not understand. The more you listen to the lyrics, the better your English vocabulary becomes. Comprehension improves over time as you sing and discuss the music with your experts and friends.
Play Word Games
Playing games is effective for language learning. Word games like Scrabble, Wordle and Boggle can be an interesting and fun way to expand your English vocabulary.
Additionally, you may try your own variation of word games. For Example, the person reads the word, defines it, and the others come up with a sentence using the particular word. There are numerous options for word games on the Internet too. Follow up rounds of these word games with a little note-taking. Keep a list of the different words you learnt while playing the game, and use them in your speech.
Practice New Words in Conversation
Now that you have learnt new words, you must make it a point to use them in conversation. Alternatively, when you listen to people using a new word, write it somewhere and try using it yourself. Practicing is the key to success, and you shouldn’t be afraid of pronouncing or spelling something incorrectly. The main idea is to understand the meaning of a word, and when and how to use it. Later, you’ll be able to pronounce and write it the right way. This will help you improve fluency and gain confidence at the same time.
Take the time to build up your vocabulary as it will help you to express your thoughts and ideas even if your grammar isn’t perfect. The first rule of learning is doing it in small chunks. Three words a day is good to start, and the best way to collect words is from your reading. The German psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus developed a curve of forgetting. It reflects how we forget information over time if we do not repeat it. In the first 20 minutes after learning words, we remember only 60%. Within an hour we may lose over 50% of the information. With time more and more information will be lost, and by the third day, only 20% of information remains in your memory. Therefore, you must use the learnt words in your everyday conversation.
And, don’t worry about the level of vocabulary. As long as you’ve using new words in sentences and questions, you can learn any vocabulary words you want. Learning new words can be overwhelming sometimes, but the results are well worth the time and effort you put in.