Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Step One to a Larger Word Bank 增加字彙的第一步驟

I once picked up my Japanese dictionary and attempted to memorize all the words alphabetically as the last resort to broaden my vocabulary skills. Did it work? You guessed it - no. It became dull and uninteresting after the first three pages. Similarly, an effective way to learn English is not studying the dictionary. Instead, find a list of frequently used words to start with. For example, the word "controversial" appears in writing often, look it up and memorize it! As you add frequently-used words in your word bank, you will realize all those times when you missed these words because you were clueless about their definition.

Now, there are tricks in memorizing vocabulary. Forcing it in your head will not work. You need to first identify the prefix, suffix, and root of each word. For example, "biology" - "bio" is a prefix meaning life, and "-logy" is an ending meaning study of, so this word means the study of life. Simple? Try another - "aquatic". I will reveal the answer in the proceeding post.

Another trick in word memorization is finding something in the word that can help you remember. For example, when I see the word "parallel", I see two L's that are parallel to each other. This helps me remember the meaning of the word "parallel". One more example, "persist" means to constantly repeat. You can try to remember it this way: insist also contains the root "-sist", which is similar to the meaning of persist. Make a sentence like, He in'sist's 'per' day (see that there is per and sist in the sentence). This can help you remember this word permanently.

So, find a list of words, memorize 10 a day, review the previously-memorized words, use all words in daily conversation, and most importantly, practice practice practice.

What's next? Look for these words in real life - cereal boxes, newspaper, flyers, etc.


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