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How to Improve Vocab in English - Top 5 Tips for Learning Vocabulary

How to Improve Vocab in English - Top 5 Tips for Learning Vocabulary
Melbourne Classical Radio - Hey English learner, my name is Kris welcome to my website where I help intermediate or above English learners make more vocabulary stick with the power of listening and speaking. 

And in today's article, we're going to be looking at how to learn vocabulary effectively, so by the end of this short article, you'll have some hands-on tips on on the best vocabulary learning techniques If you're ready to jump in, let's just have a look at a couple of principles Well, the reason these struggling learners think that vocabulary learning is slow, and their progress is not as fast as they would expect, it's because they haven't processed the words correctly. 

So when you look at lists of vocabulary, when you try to repeat words based on their pronunciation, and when you try matching pictures with the words, you try to play with these quote-unquote "effective" vocabulary apps, you won't be able to memorize English vocabulary effectively. 

"Memorise" isn't the right, we can't really "memorize" words especially when it comes to fluency or speaking practice. What you want to aim at is to try to master the use of the vocabulary, try to work on acquiring it, picking it up. 

Words, vocabulary, and language in general need to go through your brain cells as many times as possible, in order for you to retain them, and, later, retrieve them and then use them any time you want. 

And it's really important for you to remember not to focus on everything. "Less is more", as I usually say to my students. 

So by this point, you might be wondering how not to forget English words, and one way I teach my students how to learn vocabulary faster, is that we focus on activities that include matching, categorizing, basically, associating, trying to guess meaning from context, and looking up words in a dictionary so we can find out more information about them in those different dictionaries.

The most important thing you need to learn how to learn vocabulary effectively, is that you'll need to be exposed to something that's a little bit above your level and when you struggle with understanding the text or what you're listening to because the level of that text is a little bit above your level, that just means you're learning. 

Learning vocabulary is a systematic process, so make sure you keep reviewing, don't forget to go back to old topics, to topics you've covered before, you've discussed before, but you'll also need to see the vocabulary you've covered in totally new contexts, and books provide you with a natural way for you to review vocabulary, But how to learn vocabulary faster with books? And this is why part of what my website covers is the power of reading. 

When you listen to and read words at the same time, you basically give your brain more opportunities for picking up all these words, Frequency is another really important factor. 

Intermediate learners striving to be more advanced speakers should aim at learning the five thousand most common and most useful words in the English language Because more than 90% of the words that we use in everyday conversations come from this pool of words. 

And the best tool for you to find out what these tools exactly are is the Oxford 5000, which is a comprehensive list of, again, the most useful, most common, most frequent words that somebody at the level of B2 or upper-intermediate should be aware of. You'll find a link below to the Oxford 5000. 

Associations in the brain, and this is where that "learning with your brain" comes from. Close your eyes a little bit, and think about your first kiss, and if you haven't had one yet, that's totally fine, you could think of a memorable trip you had, or a night-out, a deep conversation with a friend, and I'm sure by this time a lot of these images vividly started popping up because your neurons are being activated. 

And the more and more of them, the stronger the memory. Now, you can do the same with vocabulary. You just need to focus on associating things you already know with the things that you've just learnt. 

Just make sure that memory is as strong as it could be from the outset because it's going to determine the way your brain your neurons will be able to activate that word, and your brain will be able to retrieve that word in the future, whenever you need it. 

And of course, it will take for that memory to be strong, so definitely work on recycling as much as possible, but will work on that in another article. Associate a word or phrase to your senses, your life, and to whatever you can possibly connect it to. whatever is humanly possible. 

Many people keep reading randomly, just watching movies, or playing out with flashcards, and never really making sure whether they process deeply enough for that vocabulary to stay in their head in the long term. 

So make sure you make those memories as strong as possible from the outset, because this will determine the way your brain will be able to retrieve the words in the future. 

And definitely, reading, coming across the word once will not make sure that memory is strong enough, so definitely work on recycling that word, that expression, that piece of vocabulary again and again, but more on that in another article. 

What I would like you to focus on from now on are four things: The first one is relate: relate the newly acquired vocabulary, the new vocabulary you've just come across to something that you're already familiar with, or to your own personal life. 

So make sure you think of activities or actions think about the last time you did them, and then relate that activity, relate that experience to that piece of vocabulary in order for your brain to process it better. The second point is deep processing: always try to do some intentional vocabulary learning activities, that include deep processing. 

It means your brain will be able to be the one that learns. instead of just your eyes, so try not to be a passive, and focus on becoming a more active learner, who can absorb vocabulary like a sponge. 

Remember that lists don't work, and even if you start reading, you might be able to develop your reading fluency, and recognise a lot of different words, have a large extended passive vocabulary, but you won't be able to retrieve them whenever you need it. so you do need some other tools, even with flashcards when you learn from flashcards, it's really important for you to connect those memories into something that's so much stronger than just looking at that word. 

So you could think of really powerful imageries, some sort of soundscape you can remember, or, again, associations with something you already know, or your personal experiences. 

When you have two words that you find extremely difficult to learn, one of my favorite activities I always use with my students is to have, what we call, an association chain, and you find two words that are totally different, their meaning is really far from each other, and you try to connect them through all kinds of different words, and see how far you could go, how many different words you can associate them with in order to have a chain that connects their meanings. r meanings. 

Let me know if the explanation wasn't clear enough, and I'll have a specific article on that, too. The third point is: engage. engage with the words, engage with the vocabulary, try to categorize them, try to match them, connect them to something, potentially something you already know. 

Think of synonyms, antonyms, think of how they relate, think if you replace the word with a synonym, would it be the same thing? Would it be something different? 'Cause, it's a way for you to map out what we call their semantic field. 

Their meaning, you'll discover more about their meaning, and, of course, look at how that word is really used in context. And the fourth one is: strength of memory, really trying to train your memory into remembering as many of the most important words for yourself as possible, and on that, I'll have another article, how to recycle vocabulary in an effective way as well. 

Now at this point in the video, you learned the biggest takeaway on how to learn words effectively, it all starts with processing. Remember how learning with your brain, as I call it, will eventually play a huge role in retaining the words that you learn. And I really hope this video has helped you shift the way you think about effective vocabulary learning. 

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