Imagine you are taking a test. You received your question but couldnt understand the question properly. You know you are supposed to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of something, but you cant understand of what. Sounds like a nightmare, right?
This is a common problem faced by ESL students or the ones that are preparing for English Proficiency Tests. Due to having limited vocabulary, they often fail to express their thoughts and have trouble understanding others too. Having a profound knowledge on English words is a must to avoid such embarrassing situation, which is why vocabulary acquisition is important.
Vocabulary acquisition simply means learning words to learn a language. Though often associated with learning a second language, it is just as important for the first language. Many dont realize but the way a child learns to talk properly falls under the vocabulary acquisition process too. We must learn enough words to be able to communicate smoothly in any language- whether it is our first, second or third language.
The incident mentioned at the beginning is not the only problem associated with poor vocabulary. Vocabulary is the foundation or building blocks of a language that we use to share our ideas, exchange information, and run a conversation. It is our key to communication and develop relationships.
One amazing thing about vocabulary that even without proper knowledge about grammar, we can express ourselves to some extent (something most of the people do while in a foreign country). And not just adults, think about how children first learn to talk. First, they learn the words by listening to the elders. Then they attempt to pronounce the same way.
At that stage, they are not capable of forming a full meaningful sentence but can speak words such as doll, mum, eat etc. to communicate. The more they learn new words, the better they become at expressing themselves.
When we are learning a new language, 99% of the time we create an alternate vocabulary for our first language. If a Spanish student is learning the word Milk, it would be easier to understand the meaning if they already know Leche. He already knows a word to assign to that object and now he assigned a new word to it.
As we learn a new language by translating our native language, it is important to have a strong vocabulary in our 1st language too. It might sound absurd, but not everyone is fluent even in their 1st language. It is often seen that people struggle to understand the meaning of a word in a foreign language even if the word can be translated in their mother language. Why? Because they dont know the assigned word in their own language either.
Learn more English words used in daily life conversation for your Vocabulary Acquisition Activities.
According to linguist researcher Paul Nation, Vocabulary is not an end in itself. A rich vocabulary makes the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing easier to perform.
When we learn a new word, we dont just learn their meaning and spelling, we also learn their pronunciation and usage in a sentence. This way, vocabulary acquisition helps us improving all four skills- reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
The greatest impact of vocabulary acquisition is definitely on our reading and writing skill. Imagine you are trying to read a thriller and you need to halt every few minutes to search dictionary to understand a word. And it is not often enough to know just the definition to understand the reason why that particular word was used.
Almost everyone interested in writing complains about not remembering a word that will perfectly describe their thoughts. You may know other synonymous words, but each of them has their differences.
But poor reading or writing skill hardly cause as much embarrassment as other two skill can cause. You have time to read the meaning and search a word in the dictionary for the previous 2 skills, but for listening and speaking, you solely depend on your memory. How long can you ask your boss to repeat themselves because you didnt understand what thy said? Or how would you persuade your clients with poor speaking skill?
Vocabulary acquisition activities can be one of the best spelling club ideas. Learn more about it now!
Strong vocabulary helps us overcome these obstacles. And after improving these 4 skills, the student can advance to learning about grammar rules and patterns to have a better understanding of the language.
Want to know an interesting fact? The more words you learn, the better you are prepared to learn more words! Because you know enough concepts to understand advanced level concepts. Here is a picture to describe the concept:
The strategies applied for vocabulary acquisition may vary from person to person. Children doesnt learn the same way an adult does, and the steps of learning are totally different for native and non-native speakers. Here are some strategies that you should apply to learn and remember more words:
It is impossible to remember the definition of every word and recall them whenever necessary, especially if they are new. So, divide them in categories and group them together. When you categorize them, you already remember a part of their meaning. It is easier to remember both the word and the definition this way. You can also use this strategy to learn phrases, idioms, proverbs etc. Below is an example for you:
Business and work
· Deck chair
· Display Cabinet
· File cabinet
· Kitchen island
· Troy ounce
· Diesel truck
· Mountain bike
· Traffic congestion
Reading is a must when it comes to vocabulary acquisition. When you see the same word appearing multiple times before your eyes, in novels you read, in that post you saw on Facebook or in the article you read this morning- you subconsciously remember the word along with their meaning and usage. This is far more efficient than reading from a list of spelling words.
After categorizing the words, you can start reading contents of each category to strengthen your vocabulary skill. This way, you would be able to grasp the concept of the word better.
Keeping a dictionary near hand is important so that you can quickly check the meaning of a new word or revise an old one. If you are not a fan of using giant dictionaries, install a dictionary app on your phone or laptop for convenience.
There is no place for doubt that scrabbles, word puzzles, crossword puzzles and other classic games are immensely helpful for improving vocabulary skill. You can play them with your family and friends or online via apps.
You should keep a notebook for the words you learned so that you can revise them from time to time. Also, you can customize your notebooks by adding additional information you learned about the word beside meaning such as roots, suffix, prefix, sentences as examples etc. These little notes go a long way to improve your skill.
Give yourself a goal of learning a certain number of words within a week or a month. Try to learn at least a new word every day. Also, set a time to revise the old words to prevent forgetting them.
It is normal to forget a word if you dont use it much, no matter how hard you tried to remember it. Writing and speaking are the skills that come in handy in this situation. Use the words you learned in your writing and your speech. By using the words in conversation, you can also practice proper pronunciation.
Before you start working on your vocabulary skill, it is best to know how many words you already know and which level you are currently in. And, whats a better way to evaluate your vocabulary range than taking a vocabulary test? SpellQuiz vocabulary test is your best companion that will estimate the range of your vocabulary within just 10 minutes. It also determines your level and assign it to a grade so that you have a clear idea from where to start.
After determining your level, you need to find words that will help you advance to the next level. Dont worry, SpellQuiz Printable Word Lists are here to help you. The word lists are divided into grades and there are multiple lists for each grade so that you never run out of words to learn.
SpellQuiz also has a ranking system to acknowledge the vocabulary genii among the users around the world. You can show your potential on a global platform by learning as many words as you can. It also offers Adaptive Spelling System that let the student advance at their pace so that you never feel pressured.
So, what are you waiting for? Start your vocabulary acquisition mission today and visit SpellQuiz for any help you need.
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