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Building English Vocabulary – Part 1

Vocabulary Building Part 2Vocabulary Building Part 3

Are you considering building up your English vocabulary? Well, it’s time to get started boys and girls!

Let’s take out our English dictionaries and write down the new English word that you’ve just heard for the first time. It can also happen that you’ve already heard the word a few times and been wondering since what it actually means. In either case, you just put it down in your dictionary followed by a translation in your language. Now you can repeat the word a few times till it settles in your memory. Nice! Another word added to your English vocabulary!

Another surefire way to build your English vocabulary is using flashcards. Just carry them with you and whenever you get a chance – memorize and repeat new English words. Sure your spoken English will improve in no time!

Well, not really…

It took me years and more than 7000 English words memorized using the techniques mentioned above to realize it’s making very little difference to my English speech. I had grown my vocabulary a great deal, no doubt about that. I new all those English words, I could understand them whenever they were used by others, and I could enjoy understanding the English language fully. Watching films, reading fiction, listening radio shows and news – and all that in English. Not bad, is it?

Yes, not bad. If you use English for reading and watching films only, that is. The main problem is that when it comes to speaking, you will find it quite hard to use English vocabulary that’s been built the traditional way. I think you’ll agree that the primary purpose of a language is to be used as medium of verbal communication. Reading and writing comes after that – and always in this sequence. It’s my conviction and if you think otherwise – sorry, you’re the minority. Most of foreign English speakers struggle with spoken English fluency, and learning new English words the old school way is part of the issue.

So here’s what’s happening when you memorize a new English word just on its own.

Let’s take a word to sway as an example.

If you write it into your dictionary just on its own followed by a translation in your native language, all you’ll remember is just the word – to sway. All would be fine but for one factor – words aren’t the basic units of English. Phrases and word combinations are!

So what’s happening with this new English word that you’ve memorized just on its own? It’s just sitting there either to be forgotten if it’s not commonly used or to be recognized if you hear it every now and then. On some occasions you can even try using the word to sway in your speech. However, it will prove quite difficult simply because you don’t know which words it collocates with! For you to be able to use the word to sway you need to know it what context this word is normally used, otherwise you’ll come up with funny things like – today I was minding my little niece and I was swaying her for a good while because she likes it a lot.

The correct word you should have used in this case is to swing, but you’d use to sway because you’re relying on direct translation of a separate word rather than on its actual usage in English language.

But if you learn the following word combinations – to sway aside, swaying hips, corporations hold sway over politicians – you’ll acquiring so much more than just another word in your English vocabulary!

First of all, you’ll develop an intuitive feel of how the word to sway is actually used in English. You can’t translate words directly and use them in English language in a fashion similar to your language!

Secondly – you’ll be able to use the new English word without much thinking when the fitting situation arises. If your English vocabulary is built by learning every new word as part of word combinations and collocations, you won’t have to build sentences by sticking separate words together. You’ll be able to spit a whole sentence out because your brain will be trained to do it while memorizing the new piece of vocabulary.

And thirdly – you’ll build up your English fluency along with building up your English vocabulary!

So watch the video above to see me discuss all the previously said, and wait for the next video episode! I’ll be talking about the importance of eliminating your native language from English vocabulary building process!

Thanks and see you soon!

Robby

P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

 

 

English Harmony System

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Well done with learning the English language to a near-native level and also with spotting my mistakes! 😉

  • K Sanjay

     I had grown my vocabulary a great deal, no doubt about that. I new all those English words, I could understand them whenever they were used by others, and I could enjoy understanding the English language fully. Watching films, reading fiction, listening radio shows and news – and all that in English. Not bad, is it?
    new should be knew.
    ‘to’ must be used after listening (2nd last line)

  • No problem at all!

  • Gopi893

    thank you mr robbyn

  • Hi Erika,

    I just spent some 10 minutes on the website. Well, not bad, although I don’t understand how the software uses which words to repeat. Logically you’d need to get the ones you were bad at so that you can memorize them, but at the end I was getting a mix of both… Looks it was running out of words!

    Rgds,

    Robby

  • Great post. A free resource to build vocabulary is Lemons for Literacy. It is a vocabulary game and the best part is that for every questions you answer correctly you help earn product for people in need of literacy materials.