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20 / 09 / 2004

LEARNING VOCABULARY-1: meaning and examples

Good morning everybody! I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend.

Last February 4th we looked at strategies for building vocabulary. Some academic studies have shown that a new vocabulary word needs to be used in context 13 to 15 times before it is assimilated! Since we are beginning a new academic year at Ziggurat, we thought it would be logical to give you some more suggestions in the next few Daily Vitamins about how to learn vocabulary more effectively.

As we learn a new language, an important part of the process is assimilating new words. However, it can sometimes be a frustrating process because the higher our level is, the more words it seems there are to learn. And we don't only have to learn new words, we have to be sure not to forget the words that we've already learned! As I always say, sometimes the most difficult thing about learning a second language is maintaining what you've already learned.

Following are some general suggestions that, if you follow them, will help you to increase your vocabulary knowledge this year:

1) We've said it many times before and we'll say it again: MAKE ENGLISH A PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE. Learning new words happens after you have seen, thought about and used them many times. If your contact with English is irregular, your learning will be irregular too. Therefore, besides continuing to read the Daily Vitamins, read other English texts (the newspaper, magazines, etc.), watch a bit of English television or videos and DVDs in English, visit an English website on Internet, etc. There are many things you can do and it doesn't have to be more than 3 to 5 minutes per day!

2) FOCUS ON THE WORDS YOU NEED. English has an enormous vocabulary. Think about what situations you need English for or what your objectives are. Focus your vocabulary efforts on these areas or other high frequency words. Don't waste time trying to memorize words that you'll probably never use.

Over the next couple of days we will give you some practical suggestions that will help you to carry out suggestions (1) and (2).

If you have any questions about today's learning suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Have an outstanding day!