Reading comprehensions are so taxing, have you ever felt that way? A large majority of Indian students struggle with reading comprehension, and even, sentence completion due to the fact that their vocabulary is not at par with the native English speakers. This disparity is exactly why a student should focus on improving his or her vocabulary. If you haven’t been an avid or consistent reader, developing your vocabulary from scratch is a strenuous and cumbersome task. Your vocabulary is simply the ‘collection of words and it’s associated meanings that you can remember’. Contrary to popular opinion, vocabulary building is fun and can be an extremely enjoyable process. Let us look at a few tips that will help you enhance your repertoire of words:
We, at Jamboree, emphasize this point to our students multiple times: ‘Reading is the strategy to improve your reading’. Building your vocabulary beings with a consistent effort to read more, and therefore, comprehend more. Understand what you read, whether it’s a novel, a book, a magazine or a newspaper; do not leave out the words that you cannot decipher. Look them up, and observe how many new words you will be well versed with within just a week!
For example, let’s say that while reading you come across a word called dichotomy; what would you do? Ignore it, or check its meaning. The natural instinct would be to skip the word and figure it out from the context. Whilst you can, please develop the habit of checking the meaning of the word.
Note: Check the meaning of the word dichotomy if you do not know the meaning.
THE ROOT WORD
English words are generally derived from Greek or Latin root words. Many words are a simple combination of two or more of such ‘root words’. Learning these root words can greatly enhance your diction, and language, and can, therefore, drastically improve your vocabulary.
For example, let us take a closer look at the word: ‘somnambulance’. At first, this seems like a scary word, but it really isn’t. You all must have heard of the word insomnia, which means sleeplessness?
Insomnia: in + som + nia (in=not, somn = sleep, ia=illness)
Somnambulance = somn +ambul (somn=sleep, ambul =walk) = SLEEPWALKING!
Other common roots are:
Philosophy= phil (love) + sophos (wisdom)
Another powerful method to memorize words is to use them in your routine conversations. A good example of someone who has a great vocabulary is Shashi Tharoor. The usage of profound or difficult-sounding words is a great way to help you remember them during key points of an exam, such as GRE or the GMAT.
For example; Instead of saying, ‘Rahul Dravid is a skilful batsman. He used to work really hard’, use this:
Rahul Dravid is an adroit batsman. He was a prodigy who honed his skills through consistent hard-work
THE CORRECT USAGE
When you learn words, also understand the different scenarios in which the words have been used. This will help you gauge the tone of the passage, the underlying language and therefore, enable you to use it in the right manner.
Use of Flash Cards: Flashcards are an age-old method of memorizing words. From an examination point of view, develop the habit of using flash cards that enable you to quickly cross-check the number of words that you have learnt. They are handy, and can even be carried right until you are outside your exam hall where you leave your bags!
One pointer to all of you who are trying to enrich their language skills is to be alert, and consistent. The more consistent you are, the faster the results will be.