I am willing to take TOEIC test, I also want to spend more time for preparing before taking test, but I am busy working at office, doing my housework. I think that I should spend a little time for sending topics in this forum to improve my English. By the way, each day I will post a topic in english-test.net forum. Now I am studying a book: “600 essential words for TOEIC test”, I am glad to share my knowledge in this forum. Everyday, I will send an unit in this book for your reference. First of all, today I will talk some strategies to improve your vocabulary.
The English language consists of more than 250,000 words, far more than most other languages. So you should have strategy to learn vocabulary. To lear a new word, of course, you first have to across it. Therefore, you must read it in English as much as you can. The best way to improve your vocabulary is to read routinely. The more you read, the more words you will encounter. Once you have gotten into the habit of reading, you can systematically build your vocabuly by doing five things:
1. Analyze word parts.
2. Recognize grammatical forms.
3. Recognize word families.
4. Make your own personal distionary.
5. Keep a daily reading log.
I. ANALYZE WORD PARTS:
Many English words have Greek and Latin prefixes. roots, and suffixes. Memorizing a comprehensive list will increase your vocabulary exponentially. For example, a prefix is a part of a word that comes at the beginning of a word, like the prefix -pre at the beginning of the word prefix. Prefix pre means before. Once you learn the meaning of this prefix, you will be able to use it to help you figure out the meaning of a new word that contains the same prefix. Example: predetermine, predict, predecessor…
Look at these examples:
- Word: RELOCATION - the act of moving again to another place
- Prefix: RE - happens a second time.
- Root: LO - place
- Suffix: TION - the act of
- Word: RECIRCULATION - repeating the act of motion in a circular path.
- Prefix: RE - happens a second time.
- Root: CIRCUL - around
- Suffix: TION - the act of
By understanding that the prefix re means again, you know that that any word that begins with “re” means something happens a second time. Anyone who becomes familiar with the most common prefixes, roots, suffixes find that their vocubulary grows quickly.
II. RECOGNIZE GRAMMATICAL FORMS:
Being familiar with all grammatical forms of a word helps you increase your vocabulary. Suffixes often give you a clue as to the meaning of a word and its gramatical position in a sentence. These suffixes can tell you whether the word may be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb…
Common noun endings:
-tion: preparation, competition…
-ance: attendance, maintaince…
-ence: independence, essence…
-ment: goverment, movement…
-ism: buhhism, …
-ship: friendship, membership…
-ity: community, publicity…
-or: doctor, professor…
-ee: attendee, employee…
Common verd endings:
-ize: citilize, memorize…
-ate: generate, integrate…
*Common adjective endings:
-y: happy, lovely…
-ous: nervous, generous…
-al: musical, classical…
-ful: beatiful, careful…
-less: careless, timeless…
-able: capable, recognizable…
*Common adverb endings:
Learing about grammatical forms will help you identify the purpose of many words. As the ending becomes recognizable, they will help you figure out the meaning of new words.
III. RECOGNIZE WORD FAMILIES:
Like brothers and sisters in the same family, words can be related, too. These words have the same base but different grammatical forms. They are part of a word family. When you learn a new word, look in the dictionary for words with the same word family. Write them beside the word in your own dictionary. Make a column for nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs and write down the words in the same family. For example:
Verb Noun Adjective Adverb
To care care careful carefully
To attend attendance attentive attentively
Some members of a word family have all grammatical forms, others have just a few. Some words even have two grammatical forms of the same part of speech, but with different meanings like the nouns attendance and attendee.
IV. MAKE YOUR OWN PERSONAL DICTIONARY:
Create your own dictionary to keep track of all the new words you learn. Your own personal dictionary should look like a regular dictionary with different pages for words beginning with A, B, C and so on.
You can photocopy the following sample dictionary page or you can use a sheet of paper to make one page for each letter of the alphabet. Pub tabs on these pages and write the letter of the alphabet on the tab so you can find each letter more easily. You can add pages as necessary.
When you read or hear new words, you should write them in your personal dictionary. Try not to look up the meanings of these new words immediately. This will slow down your reading. Try to get the general meaning from the context. You can look up the specific meaning after you have formed a hypothesis.
My personal dictionary:
New word: Original sentence………………………………………
Word forms in sentences…………………………….
Word families in sentences………………………….
Next to each word in your own personal dictionary, write a definition and make up a sentence including the word, using the dictionary as a guide. If possible, write the sentence where you originally discovered the word or a sentence whose context reminds you of the meaning.
While you are looking in the dictionary, search for words in the same word family. Write these words in your personal dictionary and make sentences for these words, too. Notice which endings occur in each grammatical form.
Writing these sentences will help you remember the word later. It’s easier to remember words when you put them in context. The more you use a word, the more likely you will remember it.
If you choose not to create your own personal dictionary, you can keep tract of new words as you look them up in a regular dictionary. Take a yellow, highlight pen and highlight the word you look up. At the end of the week or month, you can thumb through the dictionary and see at a glance how many words you have added to your vocabulary.
V. KEEP A DAILY READING LOG:
It is important that you read something in English every day. You should set a side as much time as you can spare, but try to set aside at least 20 to 30 minutes every day just for reading and writing something in English. This time should not be used for reading text assigned from class or work. Select something that interests you and is appropriate for your level. It should not be too easy or too difficult. Here are samples of short passage you could read:
- the sport section of the newspaper.
- An article from a popular magazine
- A chapter from a novel
- The label from an English/American product.
- An advertisement in English
Try to vary type of reading. Don’t read only science journals or mystery novels. You want to build your vocabulary in a variety of areas. If you need special vocabulary for your job or course work, you could focus on these types of articles. But remember, the reading log should be material in addition to assigned readings.
Try to pick a time of day when your mind is alert. Don’t try to study when you are tired.
Follow these steps to build a reading log:
Read without stopping for about ten minutes.
The first time you read a passage, do not stop to look up words. Native English readers often come across words the do not know in their reading. They get a general idea of the meaning of unknown words from the context. See if you can also get the gist of the idea without looking up the words in a dictionary.
Reread the passage and highlight unknown or unclear words.
You can use a yellow highlight pen or underline the word. If you aren’t permitted to write in the book, write the words down in your reading log.
Choose five key words
From all the words that you did not understand completely, select five of them for your dictionary. These should be words that kept you from understanding an entire sentence.
Summarize what you read
Write a summary about the passage you read and add it to your reading log. Summarize what you’ve read in approximately a three-sentence paragraph. If possible, make a copy of the passage or cut it out and paste it under the summary. If you’re reading a book, write the title, pages read, and a summary or the story or argument of the book. Try to use your five new key words in your summary.