Most English learners make the mistake of learning lists upon lists of new words and phrases, so the idea of learning vocabulary can sound incredibly boring and monotonous – but it doesn’t have to be. There is more to a new piece of vocabulary than knowing the word or phrase and its meaning.
When learning a new language, your focal point should always lean more toward finding new ways to improve your vocabulary rather than grammar. Given today’s global presence of the English language, this is fairly easy to do. So, we’ll take you through the best five ways to improve your English vocabulary.
1. Make each new word meaningful
Research has shown that our brain understands new verbal concepts better when they are linked to an image or another concept. For example, if you learn the word “temperament”, you may link its meaning to “temperature” to memorize it easier, and more importantly, be able to recall its meaning based on that connection at any given time. The concepts you connect don’t have to be related in any way as long as they help you memorize new vocabulary.
2. Make Word Associations
Studies have proven that our brains remember a lot more if the new information we learn is linked to information we already have stored in our minds. It helps to make a connection between the new vocabulary and a context or a picture. However, be mindful of false friends. False friends are words from your mother tongue that sound almost exactly the same as the new vocabulary in English but, in reality, have a different meaning.
3. Make use of games and apps
This is probably the most frequent method of learning new vocabulary and mastering new languages among the learners of today. Most language learning apps, such as Duolingo, Memrise or QuizUp are vocabulary-centric and utilize repetition and behavioral patterns to aid your learning process and help maximize your time and effort. They’re easily accessible and usually don’t have any time restraints so you can basically learn only when you want to.
4. Learn Phrases, Phrasal Verbs And Idioms
Native English speakers love to speak idiomatically; which makes English a particularly difficult language to learn. It’s important to learn some words, phrases, phrasal verbs and idioms in full sentences for them to have the correct meaning. Phrasal verbs are particularly tricky because the wrong preposition or particle can change the meaning of the phrasal verb entirely. Some phrasal verbs can have three or more word parts and it’s important to use all of them correctly.
5. Actively use what you learn
Don’t limit your practice of new words to mere app usage and simple repetition to check what you know. Your true mastery shines when you are able to use new vocabulary in a real-life setting. Engage in conversations. While doing so, try to include those new words where appropriate as a sign of confidence and for additional practice.
Remember this: Don’t settle for silence when you can practice what you preach and master what you learn in so many different ways.
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