Call it colonial hangover or a sweep of globalization, English has become an indispensible part of our discourses despite it not being our native language. From classroom learning to performance in exams, interaction with peers, social communications, job prospects and more, almost every aspect of our existence is impacted by our command of the English language. As non-native speakers, we need to put in extra effort to master the nuances of this language. If you find yourself fumbling for the right words and filling your sentences with ‘Uhhh’s and ‘Ummm’s, it is a sign that your vocabulary needs to be worked on. Here are a few simple but effective ways to build an enviable vocabulary in a matter of days:
Read, Read, Read:
The importance of reading cannot be emphasised enough. From widening your perspective to adding to your knowledge pool, this is one habit that will stand you in good stead in every conceivable manner. As you read, you also encounter a whole host of new words and understand their meaning and usage from the context in which they have been used. The first and most crucial step of building a vocabulary is to read, every single day of your life. It doesn’t matter whether you read a book or newspapers or articles published online, as long as you are exposing yourself to the written word in some form.
Listen to Native Speakers:
As a baby, you picked up your mother tongue simply by listening to people around you. You didn’t understand grammar, syntax, correct sentence structures back then, but you learnt on the go. The same rule applies to every language, and so, one of the best ways to pick up new words and use them exactly how they should be is to listen to native speakers. The best way to do this is watching movies and documentaries, following TV shows or stage performances, listening to famous speeches or music in English. With internet and social media, accessing such audio-visual content is easier than ever before.
Learn with Vocabulary Games:
Most classic vocabulary-centric games such as Crossword, scrabble, Pictionary, and boggle are available in the e-format for free. This means you simply have to access a site or download an app to play these games, without having to worry about the paraphernalia or gaming partners. These games offer a fun alternative to the monotony of serious learning but do the job of enriching your vocabulary just as well as your classroom lessons or a book would.
Working with Online Dictionaries and Thesaurus:
Irrespective of whether you are an avid reader or a beginner, you are bound to encounter unfamiliar words every now and then. The frequency of stumbling upon new words is higher for beginners, and reaching out for a printed dictionary or thesaurus isn’t exactly practical, especially when you are encountering new words more frequently than not. Installing a dictionary app on your phone or bookmarking free online dictionaries and thesauri such as Reference.com and Merriam-Webster on your internet browser can help you learn new words without breaking the rhythm of reading.
Build Your Own Word Pool:
Write down every new word you encounter, along with its meaning and usage, in a dairy or journal, and refer to these entries at least once a day so that they stay fresh in your memory. Make it a point to incorporate these new words in your written and spoken English so that they become a permanent part of your vocabulary and not wither away into oblivion over time.