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How to Improve English Vocabulary?

how to improv eng vocab

English is the most famous language after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, with  379 million speakers all over the world. It is considered as a universal language and is mostly the medium for many official interactions. English is used widely for communication, and hence it seems to have become a must for students in many countries.

With the ever-expanding market and growth-oriented business arena, the top companies have modified their job descriptions. The openings at such firms have evolved from traditional to English speaking ones. English is the medium of instruction in most schools and universities in India and is given prime importance. Learning English starts right from playschools, where the kids are taught the English alphabet and the entire process of learning English starts from a very tender age.

We all are now habitual of this language; it is no longer an option or additional skill but a mandatory language to be learnt by all. It is also seen that a person’s literacy level is often measured and judged by his/her expertise in the English language. Nevertheless, English cannot be taken for granted in this current competitive world. It is said, “You can love it or hate it, but you cannot ignore it.” This saying holds true for the English language. Whether you like it or not, it is something you cannot say no to. The whole education system in India is based on this language, predominantly.

Why is the English language so important?

English is a language we learn ever since our childhood. Yet gaining mastery over this language takes a lot of time, patience and effort. Based on a recently conducted research by one of the leading job portals of the country, it can be said that one who is good at English and can speak fluently, land up in a good job with a decent pay scale. This language seems to have become a stepping stone to success. Those who cannot speak English fluently, despite high grades in academics and projects, find it difficult to get a good job. This is a harsh reality. However, it is justifiable as each and every job in the present times, has its own role to play and the medium of communication is generally English. If one cannot communicate effectively then it turns out to be a  hindrance for the whole team/ group to work and coordinate.

There are many students who take up English as their first language at schools/colleges realising its importance in the job market. There is a lot of hype of learning and speaking fluent English not only for jobs but also, it is considered that someone who is good at English is knowledge, respectable and dignified. Indeed, English helps connect with people at school, work, within communities, societies, etc. It also links people from different backgrounds to one single base language that’s understood by all.

How to improve spoken English?

Improving English can be a need for everyone who is not native to this language but intends to develop a good command over it,  to perform better- both academically or professionally. It enhances self-confidence. When people are able to communicate effectively, they can easily put forward their ideas, without any hesitation. The English language improves the overall personality of a person. To be able to speak fluently in English is a basic requirement for most of the job profiles these days. Almost all the competitive examinations are in English. Not only this but also there is a section dedicated to test the English language skills and proficiency level of candidates.

The English language stands on the foundation of grammar, pronunciation and most importantly -vocabulary. Vocabulary is the body of words that form the whole of the English language. To be able to communicate one needs to be good at English vocabulary as it is the basis for communication. The English language learning begins with the alphabet and the next crucial thing is vocabulary. When one builds a good vocabulary, it is easier to communicate easily. Grammar comes at a later stage in the communication process.

In school, children are taught word-meanings, with the primary aim of expanding their sphere of vocabulary.  A lot of sessions on words, meanings, dictations etc are also conducted very often. As the human brain tends to learn faster through the means of visuals, students are shown pictures that convey the words along with their meanings. This lays a lasting impact, which in turn helps them to remember the words better and use them correctly while communicating.

Improve English Vocabulary

English vocabulary needs to be improved to have a good command over the language. It is often seen that there are many people who are good at grammar and language aspects, but fall short of ideas when it comes to expressing themselves creatively, as they are not aware of suitable words to be used for the context.  Vocabulary plays a great role in maintaining the necessary flow of the process of communication. It is not just about knowing many words. The art of using those words correctly in the relevant context holds greater importance. The English language words are slightly confusing as there are many homonyms in English, which if used wrongly, might change the entire meaning of the sentence  Understanding the type of conversation going on and using the appropriate words in context is utmost important.

English vocabulary can be improved in many ways:

  • Dictionary- It is the oldest yet very effective way of learning more words. Use a good dictionary and learn new words and their meanings. Try using those words in day to day conversations. This practice can help one to learn the English language better and build a good vocabulary.

  • Read English literature- One can read English stories, articles, blogs, magazines etc. These can help one to learn more words and also understand the proper usage in the sentences. While reading, try to jot down good words, interesting beginnings and well-written endings from the content you read. Different genres are written differently. Reading them can help you learn a variety of writing styles explore ways of sentence formation.

  • Watch- One can watch English news, serials, movies, videos to improve on vocabulary. Doing this will also help know the right pronunciation of the words.  Watching serials, news etc also exposes one to general life situations and one can pick new words related to life and daily conversations. It gives a lasting impression due to the visual appeal and helps to remember better.

  • Practice- English is not only about learning more words but to practice the usage of those words while conversing. The English language vocabulary can only be strong enough when one gets the confidence of using those words without any fear of going wrong. It can only happen when one practices the words on a daily basis while having conversations. It is very important to gain confidence over vocabulary, or else the words never get their place in conversations.

  • Observe- It could be your classroom lectures, seminars, workshops, movies or anything you experience which is in English. You need to pay extra attention to grasp English words that are new to you. The more you observe, the more words you can learn. While having general conversations, if you come across a new word try remembering it and find the meaning later on. Then use the word whenever possible to make a note of it in your memory.

  • Make your own dictionary- It is a very good habit to note down the new words you come across daily. You can make your own dictionary with all the words you have come across and glance over it every now. Gradually, you will get accustomed to using those words. It is fun to do when you keep challenges like crossing 100-word limit, 200-word limit and so on. It helps you push yourself to collect more words to beat your own record and upgrade your dictionary.

  • Online material- You can also find many websites that have a list of spoken English vocabulary pdf. These can be downloaded and used as a reference guide to learn new words and their meanings. Using these for your reference can save a lot of your time and effort that goes into collecting words. However, this doesn’t mean that you refrain from enriching your vocabulary through your own dictionary. Learn jargons related to your field of interest- Jargons are the technical words you would use when talking about some particular topic. It just makes you more confident to speak to different people with different professional backgrounds. Learn simple words that are used very commonly and are relatable in daily life.

  • Do not limit yourself- There is no end to learning. If you have a good hold on vocabulary, it does not mean you stop learning new words. There is never a full stop to knowledge and English being a dynamic language, each day there may be a new word that you hear. So never quit learning or the passion to learn something new. A few years back, we never heard of the word ‘selfie’, but now it is considered a common word for all ages. Times change, minds change and so do words.

  • One day, one-word challenge- At least make sure you learn one new word a day. Just one word a day will not take much of your time, so you can surely give it a try. The best way to learn words is to make sure you are open to new things. As soon as you listen to a new word, it should kindle your curiosity to know the meaning and find the first chance to use the word. This can be great fun and can make the learning process enjoyable.

Spoken English Vocabulary

English vocabulary need not just be words; it could be phrases, idioms and many interesting aspects of the language, which you can explore to make your speaking skills very effective and worth listening to. When you speak, the knowledge you possess should reflect in your speech personality. Learning new words improves spoken English vocabulary.

Speaking English fluently neither mean to always use words that are new nor stuffing your conversations with difficult words to flaunt your English language skills. Effective communication is when you speak confidently and the words you use are relevant to the context, and the type of audience you are dealing with. English vocabulary is vast, one can never run out of words to learn. One can use English vocabulary for spoken English as it is an effective tool to speak fluently. However, the words are just a part of the language and a very vital part for sure. One needs to focus on the complete process of improving spoken English.

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