Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why work on my vocabulary?

Language is an abstraction of thought. A thought in itself is of no significance in the real world, because it needs the support of language if it has to be appreciated or implemented . All these knols, articles, plethora of information available on the internet is an attempt(though an unsuccessful one) to catpture and express that thought. Language comes nowhere close to the actual communication of the thought from the person who concieved the thought to the person with whom he is trying to communicate. Man from the time immemorial has been trying to invent new words so that he can express his thought more clearly and lucidly, hence trying to communicate more effectively. But he is no where close to the actual communication.The Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use and the list still keeps growing. We come out with a list of new words every year only to realise that there is a vacuum in the language for creating many more such lists. It is like space : the more you explore, you realise that much more is yet to be explored. But one thing is for sure, greater the number of words you know and deeper the unerstanding of them, better are your chances of communicating an idea or thought successfully. And hence better are your chances of succeeding in your workplace and life.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Every word has its own story

Albert Schweitzer popularized the phrase "Reverence for life". In that case words must be respected because every word has life and pretty much lives it too. Like you and me, words have life. They have a birth, they have an origin, they have their roots, they grow up, they chage with time, they come under the influence of many, but not all of them stand the test of time(neither do we). And most important of all like us they have a story to to tell. The stories of men when collected forms history and the stories of words when collected forms etymology.

Friday, January 29, 2010

You can't learn something that you hate

This is something that you have got to realise at some (or the other) stage of your life. You can't learn something that you hate. So start loving what you do. It is easier said than done. The fact is that most of the people don't love something in their first acquintance(I don't believe in love at first sight). But as the time progresses they fall in love with it and don't part with it for the rest of theire lives. So the trick is to dig deeper. Dig deeper until you find somerhing that is interesting or worth pursuing and spending your valuable time on it. And coming back to our topic the best way to begin your journey towards improving your vocabulary is to start loving words and play with them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Learn from Swimming

Though it appears to sound crazy, that is the way to begin. Anybody who has learnt to swim will know that you cannot learn to swim by reading a manual on how to swim. If you want to learn swimming you need to get into the water and get wet, though reading a manual may help you have the prior knowledge and speed up the process. Similarly reading a book on vocabulary is not the last thing. That is just the beginning. The actual task is to understand the meaning of the word and the context in which it can be used.As Hermann Ebbinghaus showed us the exponential nature of forgetting, which means that our retentivity power keeps on reducing exponentially, intermittant repetition of the word meaning and usage can greatly increase the retentivity power.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pair of Antonyms

Learn to use the word neither frequently. We have so many people who are indifferent around us. So use a pair of antonyms with the word "neither". For example I am neither lethargic not active, I am normal.
ANTONYMS: Use antonyms to show the contrast between two people, situations or events.
Generally men are believed to be obstinate and women are believed to be gullible. (Few of my friends call me male chauvenist. I don't know why?)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Plethora of Synonyms

SYNONYMS : Using a plethora of synonyms not only lays stress on what you want to say but helps you improve your vocabulary fast.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Learn Alphabets everyday

I am not asking you to revise your knoledge of alphbets everyday(Thought not many can tell all the alphabets in the reverse order). What I mean by "Learn Alphbets Daily" is that when you are trying to memorize or learn a wordlist don't start by learning n number of words starting with a particular letter in a day. Remember that too many E's in a day can make it an eery experience. So try a diffrent strategy. Sort out the whole wordlist so that you have a list everyday that consists of 26 words each starting with a particular letter in the alphabet. I have been trying to implement this in my website - wordlistsonline.com

The advantage is that when you have a group of friends going through the same list, you can discuss with each other and ask them "what is the F word today?"

Theme Based Vocbulary

This strategy is an extension of the forced association method. Forced association states that by trying to connect two or more random words we can come out with many innovative ideas for the improvement of an idea or a product. We can use a similar strategy remember the words with atmost ease.

Here you just take a list of random words, decide a random theme and then try to use all the words in the list with the chosen theme. Try to make a story out of it. Funnier the story better are your chances of remembering them.

Here is a list of 5 random words i have taken from a wordlist.

Plebian
Plebiscite
Plenary
Pleniopotentiary
Plethora

Let the theme be Kashmir.

Kashmir issue is not just a national issue but a plebeian issue for the people of Kashmir. A solution can be worked out if we have a plenary session for the people of kashmir followed by a plebiscite But for that we need a plenipotentiary each from kashmir and pakistan. If this can be worked out then we have a plethora of options which can solve this burning issue.

The list of chosen words though may seem to be impertinent with respect to each other, when we starting looking at them with respect to the choosen theme, they seem to us like the tiles of the jig saw puzzle which fit in perfectly. When you are trying to make a paragraph using them based vocabulary approach, try to keep the paragraph intact so that the density of new words remains high.

This is good fun and highly effective at the same time. Try to take sequential words, random words, words from a list and so on and try to play with them. Or you can also take the list of words provided in wordslitsonline.com and try to make the story out of it. If you can come out with a paragraph of not more than 100 words with the given list in the website, you can consider that as a commendable success

Friday, January 22, 2010

Learn the Roots

The more you know about a person better are the chances that you remember his face. Similar is the case with the words. Try to know more about the words. Check how the originated, whether it is from a greek,french or indian origin. Get to know its hponyms,hypernyms and so on. What do you do when you find a new young boy in the locality? The first thing you do is ask whose son he is. That is what you need to with the words also. Whenever you find a new word, don't stop just after finding the meaning. Dig deeper, get to know more about the words. Get to know the grapevine of the words. Reduce the amount of time you spend in office,movie gossips and start gossipping about the words.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Child is the father of man

If only we could observe children more clearly and learn from them, we could have solved half of our problems in a much better way and still enjoyed the process. An average child learns about 2000 to 3000 words in a span of one year. That is close to to 10 words per day. But the numbers are very less for an adult. So the trick is to understand how a child learns new words. Though it may not be sufficient to improve your vocabulary, it definitely goes a long way in helping you improve your vocabulary.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Deterministic v/s Random learning

The selection between the above two choices is very subjective and i will not get into the debate of trying to prove which one is better than the other. Rather I would like to concentrate on the advantages and drawbacks of these.

Deterministic learning is the way to go when your goal is a deterministic and time bound one. For example if you are preparing for GRE, you clearly know the list of the words that you are supposed to know before appearing for the exam and you also know the high density words which you are suppose to concentrate. Hence you take the list of words you have, divide it by the number of days you have for the preparation, And your list is ready. But this kind of learning is limited in scope and may not help you in the long term. On a positive note it is easier to measure your progress and this method can be highly effective when you are exam oriented.

Random learning is the way to go when you have the long term perspective in your mind. If you are not learning words for the sake of an examination but rather for better understanding of the language and for better communication, then random learning can be of great advantage. There are various ways in which you can learn the words randomly, which i will discuss shortly. The advantages of random learning is that you can make use of the small amounts of time(brakes) also for learning and that it is an unending process(you can keep learning until you desire to). Random learning gives you exposure to various fields which you might not have known priorly. When you are using random learning technique you should not stick to any particular resource and you should make use of every resource that you can lay your hands upon. The drawbacks are that it is very difficul to judge your progress and working in groups may not be that easy.

Deterministic learning is like an incremental learning, with every passing day you know that you are completing the list of words which you are supposed to know by the end of the stipulated time. Random learning is like a jig-saw puzzle though it appears hugger-mugger with every passing day the tiles coincide with each other and bigger picture starts becoming clearer as you go. My suggestion would be not to use one and discard the other, but rather a healthy mixture of the both. The optimal strategy would be determisnistic learning wherever necessary and random learnig wherever possible.

For this having a clear understanding of your requirements plays a major role. Be clear with your requirements. If you are preparing for GRE and you want to learn 1200 word in 100 days, then the minimum number of words you need to learn per day would be 12. So if you take 30 minutes to learn 12 words then spend an equal amount of time in random learning. Though you may not be able to appreciate the advantages of the random learning initially with respect to learning your wordlist, as the time progresses it becomes clearer to you

Friday, January 1, 2010

How to make use of this site

This article gives you a list of ways you can use our website to effectively improve your vocabulary.

1. Start following our website so that you can get the daily wordlist
2. Make a study-group with your friends, so that you can discuss the daily list.
3. Take a theme and try to make a paragraph with all the words in the wordlist.
4. Double click any word to find out the meaning in the dictionary.