September 2006, Working on Vocabulary
I want to talk a little about increasing your vocabulary on The Linguist.
We want you to learn words in context. We want you to learn words and phrases from content that you find interesting. We ask you to save words and phrases. For many learners it does not take long to accumulate several thousand words.
I should point out that our champion saver of words is a learner from Japan by the name of Sadatoshi Matsumoto who has saved 9,250 words and 3140 phrases in ten months with The Linguist. Sadataoshi has reviewed a total of 535 content items, of which 294 were imported, and the remainder were from our Library. Our Library has a total of 22, 134 words. But Sadatoshi's total of known words is 25,578. According to our statistics he has learned almost 3,000 words in one year and 364 phrases. Of course he has learned more than that number because in addition to the words he has consciously learned, he has become familiar with many others through his reading and listening. Not everyone is like Sadatoshi.
Many people, when faced with a list of a few thousand words to review simply throw up their hands. What is the best way to review? I recommend the following.
First of all create shorter lists. Begin by reviewing the words that are presented in the Daily Word and Phrase Review. These words appear based on an algorithm that reflects how often you have seen these words, or used them, or tested correctly on them in the test in that section. Beyond that you should use the filters in the Words I am Learning and Phrases I am Learning sections.
First of all choose one content item and review the words and phrases from that content item. Then listen to and read that content item again. It might be a content item from two months ago. It does not matter. Review old items again. They are full of words and phrases that you still do not use comfortably. Next you can create lists by putting in prefixes or suffixes.
You can look at just the last 20 words, or just the words that you saved in the last three weeks. You can always select especially difficult words by ticking in the right hand column. Then you can print these lists and study them. Try to use these words in your writing and speaking. The key is to break your long list down into shorter lists to concentrate on.
Remember to review your old content along with the words and phrases. This will help you really become familiar with them. Above all do not get frustrated because you keep forgetting.
Forgetting is part of learning when it comes to vocabulary.