Don’t Bore Yourself Learning Hundreds of New Words

This is an instructional video with bits of advice on how to build your vocabulary. It is said that you can only learn eight words a day. This not seem like very many words but this may be true for some people and not true for others. Please mention in the comments whether building vocabulary is easier or harder for you.

Latinized languages have words that are similar to the words in English. In French, for example, most words that end with –tion mean the exact same thing in English (station; competition; fashion); the words are just pronounced differently. In this way, if there are similarities between your language and English you can find them and build your vocabulary incredibly quickly.

If your language is not so closely related to English, it is a lot harder to build your vocabulary. Not only because the word and the word sound will be completely new to you, but often you will have to learn a new concept- you may not have an equivalent word in your language.

It is important not to focus solely on learning vocabulary. This is a common trap that many people fall into. When you just try to concentrate on learning as many words as possible, not only is it boring, but it can feel like a hopeless task. Of course it is helpful to know words, but it is more helpful to practice speaking. Using the few words you already know in a creative way will help you gain confidence speaking English. At lower levels, you don’t need to know many words. If you are struggling in conversation you can use a dictionary or a smart phone or you can point. Try and learn eight common words a day for a useful way build your vocabulary gradually, without it being boring or stressful.

A useful vocabulary resource is a textbook called Cambridge English Vocabulary in Use. This will help you build vocabulary and is recommended by many English teachers. However, although the first 20 pages of these books are useful, the majority of the book is not really helpful or interesting.

It is very important that if you are teaching yourself vocabulary and a lot of words, that you learn the right pronunciation. There are tools online to hear how they are pronounced. So be sure that you are actually learning how to say words in the correct way when you learn them. This will save you misunderstandings in the future when actually using these words in conversation.