When compared to previous times, modern language is quite “lazy.” Rather than concentrating on formal discussions that involve flourishing statements, we concentrate on a casual form of speech. While this practice certainly has some advantages, it limits our vocabularies and makes it difficult to enjoy classical literature or understand intellectual explanations.
Improve your vocabulary by engaging in the following activities:
Use a thesaurus or dictionary
There is no excuse not to have a thesaurus or dictionary with you at all times. You don’t have to carry a book around with you everywhere you go, however; these resources are available online, on tablets, or even on smart phones. In addition, most word processors have a thesaurus or a dictionary available with a few easy clicks.
When you come across words that you can’t figure out through context, look them up immediately.
Just like lifting weights develops larger muscles, reading develops a larger vocabulary. Reading a variety of books introduces you to words you might not come across in daily life. When you discover a new word, try to figure out what it means in context or look it immediately. In addition to helping build your “vocabulary muscles” this also allows you to understand and therefore enjoy the material you are reading.
Try to learn words based on their context before you resort to looking them up in a thesaurus or a dictionary. This not only helps you develop a better vocabulary, discovering ways to discern meaning through context allows you to engage in intelligent conversations without having to stop every few minuets to ask the meaning of a word.
Use a text to speech program
Engaging in a conversation without knowing how to pronounce words doesn’t make you look intelligent and may actually lower people’s opinion of you. Using a text to speech software helps you practice pronunciation and allows you to expand your vocabulary when you are doing other things such as driving or cleaning.
Talk to people
Most people don’t like “name droppers” that talk about their rich and powerful friends, but there is no such thing as a “vocabulary dropper.” When you learn a new word, use it during conversation to practice context. Speaking this way makes you appear more intelligent, increasing other’s opinion of you.
Learn a word a day
This may sound like a daunting process, but in reality “word-a-day calendars” or websites make learning a word a day quick and easy– just reveal the next day on the calendar or open a webpage.
Make a list of words
Making a list of words doesn’t mean simply noting an unfamiliar word to look up; rather than simply focusing on new words, make a list of words you already know. Then, look up synonyms for these words. Focusing on words you use frequently gives you a better chance to practice using them during conversations.