Vocabulary Building: How to Express Yourself
“Tip of the tongue”, it’s that moment when you just can’t seem to recall that right word to complete your thought. You know it’s in there somewhere in your mind but for some reason it won’t come to you. Those tip-of-the tongue moments are understandably frustrating. The only thing that is more frustrating than not remembering is actually not knowing, especially when you are trying to expressing yourself properly to get an important point across. The obvious solution is learning those words, how? By building your vocabulary.
Here are ways to help you achieve a rich knowledge of words. First, rely on the basics, meaning the print media. This includes but is not limited to using the following resources: the dictionary, it is a collection of words that alphabetically arranged, with definitions, pronunciation and other linguistic information. In contrast, the thesaurus, groups words that are synonymous (similar) with each other and sometimes it even includes its antonyms (opposite).
Second, play word games such as crossword puzzles, tongue twisters, hangman, scrabble, and boggle among others. These games are forms of exercises for your brain. It tests the extent of your knowledge of words, meanings and spellings.
Third, listening. Be aware of how words are being spoken and used in everyday conversation. Try watching the television and movies, especially word game shows. Of course listening is no use when you can’t understand what is being said so try picking out the words you are unfamiliar with and consult a dictionary and/or thesaurus.
Fourth, apply what you know. That is, using those words in a day-to-day conversation. Having a “word-of-the-day” also helps. Being able to use the words in a sentence is a good sign that of your progress. Remember though that there are other means of communication besides verbal, i.e. writing.
Fifth, read. And I’m not pertaining to Facebook and Twitter posts. I meant reading actual books, start small if you like. You can also read newspapers and magazines. Please read something besides the latest Hollywood gossip though; instead expand your topic of interests (e.g. current events). Reading adds to your vocabulary and develops your reading comprehension.
Of course, advancements in information technology now allow us to have free access to online dictionaries, thesauruses, movies, documentaries, games, books, etc. Better yet, the internet offers a wider variety of these resources; like audio and video versions.
Taking the internet as a point of departure, the last tip is making use of software products. There are websites designed to help you build your vocabulary in a systematic way. Some uses your strengths and weaknesses and tailor specific teaching techniques that is compatible to your needs. Also, they track your progress so that you can see how far you are improving.
Use these tips to build your vocabulary. It would just be a matter of time when you see yourself gaining more confidence in properly express yourself, verbally and non-verbally. Remember though, it does not only take the right words to get your message across it also takes attitude.