Learning New Vocabulary How to improve your vocabulary effectively




MellorAndrew 准教授

Students of English need to learn a lot of vocabulary. To be successful, they need to decide what vocabulary items to learn. As they choose which vocabulary items to study, considering the frequency of the vocabulary items in general use may be useful as well thinking about their own personal needs. They also need to decide which aspects of those vocabulary items to learn. and how to learn those vocabulary items. There are many aspects involved in learning vocabulary items related to form, meaning and use. Also they need to decide how to study vocabulary. This may include questions as to whether to learn items in isolation or context, whether to learn in semantic groups and how to reinforce and review learning.

What vocabulary
Learners have a huge number of vocabulary items to acquire. A simple approach is to learn the most frequently occurring items. These vocabulary items may be single words but may also be multiple-word items. The most frequent 1000 words usually account for more than 70% of the words in most texts. Learning the most frequent vocabulary may be an efficient way to improve English skill particularly in the early stages of language learning. However, most learners who have acquired the most frequent vocabulary still have the experience of understanding a situation and knowing what they want to say in real time but being let down by a gap in their vocabulary knowledge. Often this gap is related to vocabulary that is important to themselves. Each student has individual needs, history, social situation, interests, ambitions etc. and vocabulary gaps often occur in relation to these.

Which aspects
There are many aspects of a word we can learn. To completely master a particular vocabulary item may take considerable effort. One way to consider aspects of vocabulary knowledge is to look at form, meaning and use. Form may include how to write the item, how to spell the item and the parts of the word such as roots, prefixes and suffixes. Meaning can involve multiple meanings as well as word associations. Grammatical considerations can affect the use of vocabulary items. Also it includes what words they are often used with and in what situations these words can be used or not used.

How to learn
What is the most efficient way to learn and remember words. Learning vocabulary by semantic groups may help. Words learned together from the same semantic field, may be more easily retained and accessed when needed. Also a regular review and reinforcement schedule may help.