A good orator knows very well the art of expressing themselves with limited words. It is often said that words are extremely valuable and must be used judiciously. Anyone who has ever been on limited by the character space on Twitter will know the painful constraint of expression. Economising on words is an art that is helpful to everyone, be it students or any other professionals. Most interesting essays and speeches have the power to clearly spell out their intentions with least possible words. A person who is unable to express themselves in precise wordings often ends up confusing the readers (or listeners) and the effectiveness of their delivery gets marred. However, a good and sound vocabulary is not to be confused with only lengthy and heavy words. A sound knowledge of vocabulary comprises knowing the meaning of a large number of words in your language as well as knowing their proper usage and implementation as well. A good communication rests not just on knowledge of jargons and lengthy words but on a well-knit story of words which gel well, expressing the message in a precise and clear format. Building a sound vocabulary knowledge is not a one-day task, it is in fact not even a one month or a one year activity. Building a good vocabulary is a continuous life-long process. It is a never ending process as the dictionary is always being edited to include newer words as well as newer usage patterns. Developing a vocabulary is also a brain-stimulating exercise. A sound knowledge of vocabulary is also an important indicator of one’s sharp memory and understanding. Here are some ways in which you can build a good vocabulary:
Read and Read Well
Read anything that you like, from novels, fictions, nonfictions text books, literature works, newspapers, magazines, journals, anything that interests you. Reading will expose you to newer words and expand your vocabulary. As you read try to understand the contextual meaning of words and their usage as well as consult a dictionary to grasp the literal meaning immediately. However, always read trusted and well reputed publications that draw coveted authors and influencers. This way you will have a better chance at learning profound and professional vocabulary, instead of urban slangs.
Use Dictionary and Thesaurus
While reading or watching movies/TV show whenever you come across a new word quickly consult a dictionary to grasp its literal meaning, pronunciation and usage. Once you have grasped the literal meaning and usage of the word you can consult a thesaurus to find out more related words, viz. synonyms and antonyms. However, not every synonym can be used interchangeably. Thus before you replace any word in your writing with its synonym, better look up the contextual appropriateness of latter as well. Proper usage of thesaurus can enrich your vocabulary and help overcome the problem of repetitive usage of words. Dictionary and Thesaurus are now available not just in print but also as websites and mobile apps. Use whatever versions you prefer — in print, software, or online.
Word a Day Apps and other Word Games
Many websites and mobile applications have developed features of word-a-day which delivers a new word every day to your inbox or mobile phone. The word is appended with its meaning(s) and usage. You ca subscribe to one such service and store them in your email account with a label. In a free time or while community repeatedly go through your word-a-day labelled emails and refresh your vocabulary knowledge. It’s a great way to learn a new word every day without a lot of effort.
Also many websites and games can help you enhance your vocabulary. Variety of games such as crosswords puzzles, scrabble and anagram makers are a great way to test your existing word knowledge as well as learn new words in your spare time.
Use New Words in your Conversations
Just learning new words everyday by themselves will not bring much good till you start using these words effectively in your conversations. Everyday prepare a list of, say five, new words that you must use during your conversation (or essay) at some point of the day. This exercise will not only keep you memory of the new words but will also help you perceive and implement the correct contextual usage of the words you learn. This will cement your new vocabulary inclusions as well as boost your confidence.
Also, while making conversations, keep your ears open for any newer words that other people might employ. Try to remember such new words that you can pick from everyday conversations and later you can consult the dictionary to learn them and add them to your vocabulary.
Learn the Algorithm of Word Formation
Word formation process has a sound mechanism based on suffix, prefix and root words. Understanding these three elements in various words can help you learn words faster and perceive their approximate meanings without a dictionary as well. In English language words are derived from various other languages, primarily Greek and Latin. Developing a knowledge of various root words can help you quickly deduce the meaning of unknown words. For example Voc is a Latin word for voice, thus words such as equi-voc-al, ad-voc-ate, voc-alize, equi-voc-ate; all have to do with raising voice. Similarly prefix are added to the beginning of the word such as mega which in Greek means great (or large), thus mega-structure would be a large building. Suffix are added in the end of the root word such as mania which is Greek for madness. Thus Biblio-mania means crazy madness for books.
These vocabulary building tips can help anyone to enrich their vocabulary not just in English but in any language they want to master. While learning new words it is also important to continuously keep reviewing and using the previously learnt words as well. Always remember to be crisp, clear and concise in your sentences.