Vocabulary is food for thought. If your mind is well fed, then you will be able to frame your ideas in speaking and writing better. There is probably nothing as frustrating as to have a gap in your vocabulary. Those moments when you want to explain something in a foreign language and the words simply do not come. To enjoy becoming a speaker of a second language, we need to eat words well.
It is important to vary the ways in which you try to incorporate new words. There is no best method to learn. Yet, if learning can be action, the practice becomes more effective and meaningful. Learning words is not about memorising. Not even remembering. Do you remember how you learnt every word you know? When you learn, you simply transform yourself.
Learning is a cycle. Learning vocabulary will require consulting dictionaries, exploring new contexts for a word in your readings on the Internet and finding examples. A bit of decontextualised -some mechanical or repetitive- practice may also help. One day you may surprise yourself using richer words in your writing. That's when a learning cycle ends giving way for another one to begin.
Did you know your learning can also transform others?
Learn Free vocabulary & Give Free Rice
Learning is a powerful thing. The people involved in this initiative launched on the 7th October 2007 understand it well. Their mission is to help provide food for people in need while you learn.
"For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end world hunger."
Click there and you will find an ongoing multiple choice test. It is challenging for both: advanced students and native speakers. What is so interesting about this site is that it shows an example of learning both ways. You learn by choosing and the machine learns with your clicks too:
FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.
Click here for details on how playing the vocabulary game helps you and others.
So let's play and feed ourselves!
Thanks to Lisa Parisi for the link.
Image: DSC_5596 - Vocabulary by theglauber
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via The FCE Blog. Reproduced with permission.
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