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Proven Ways to Increase Your Vocabulary (Part 1 of 6)

Categories: Vocabulary Research |

In a series of 6 posts (including this one) I am going to cover some strategies you can use to increase your vocabulary quickly and easily. This information is based on extensive research we have done here at Ultimate Vocabulary. Where appropriate, I will include references to academic articles. However, for the sake of brevity, I won’t list the references at the end of each post. Rather, I will create one big post at the end which will have links to all the academic articles and research I have covered. So stay tuned!

Vocabulary is the knowledge of word meanings (Shanahan, 2005). Vocabulary awareness is important for many tasks, such as reading comprehension and general understanding in everyday life. The lack of vocabulary knowledge can cause us to overlook so much and create unnecessary obstacles. A well-developed and rich vocabulary can:

  1. Help us communicate and express ideas in a more clear and accurate manner;
  2. Make us stand out from our peers;
  3. Promote esteem and a positive reputation;
  4. Assists reading which becomes effortless and more enjoyable;
  5. Develops our ability to analyze as vocabulary is linked to problem-solving;
  6. Helps us communicate successfully in social environments; and,
  7. Streamlines our communication as we possess the precise words needed to convey the message (Ediger, 1999).

Rich vocabularies also help us gain entry into the workplace. That is, poor vocabulary is cited as one of the top ten reasons interviewees do not win the job (TSU, 2009). 

It is understandable that improving our vocabulary can be a daunting prospect. The English language has a vast collection of words. It has three times the number of words as the German language and six times that of the French (Bromley, 2007). Another difficulty is that our spoken vocabulary is often very different to our written vocabulary. Although we can enrich and develop our vocabulary via verbal communication, our spoken words are often less varied in their range.

The following series of posts I offer a number of ways to efficiently and effectively build your vocabulary. The process of vocabulary development does not have to be difficult and is certainly attainable. This series will present five straightforward methods for achieving your vocabulary development goals:

  • Method 1 explains how vocabulary can be improved by reading. It also discusses the fact that not only does reading improve vocabulary, but a rich vocabulary increases reading comprehension.
  • Method 2 demonstrates the importance of context for improving our vocabulary. It is essential that the learner realizes how important context is and the clues that it offers in understanding vocabulary meanings.
  • Method 3 discusses the importance of hearing and speaking in developing vocabulary. Hearing words in quality environments can help to improve vocabulary. Listening in these settings can broaden and enrich our vocabulary knowledge. It also provides a platform to intake, analyze, and produce vocabulary.
  • Method 4 explains the benefits of e-learning for vocabulary development. E-learning provides a fun and efficient strategy for increasing word knowledge.
  • Method 5 proposes that active learning is essential for vocabulary improvement. Our capacity to learn is increased, much more than in passive learning.

And finally, don’t forget, if you want all this “done for you automatically”, our Ultimate Vocabulary Software makes use of all these methods (and more) to help you build your vocabulary quickly and easily.

References: Please see our reference page for the complete list