Ready to build your English vocabulary?
There are many simple steps that you can take every day in order to greatly increase the amount of English words that you know and use.
In Part I, I told you about keeping a word journal, Real Life English’s Daily Expressions, and Dictionary Websites’ word of the days. I hope that you’ve already started keeping a word journal and you are writing down any new words that you encounter daily (like in this article!). If you haven’t read part one, be sure to do so now.
In the second part of this three part series on vocabulary I will tell you a few more ways in which you can build your vocabulary every day. These include:
- Watching TV shows,
- Reading, and
Now let’s improve our vocabulary:
4. Watch TV Shows
There are so many great television shows from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. So it’s practically guaranteed you can find one you will enjoy. If you watch with audio and subtitles in English, you can pick up all sorts of vocabulary.
It is especially helpful if you watch the shows on a DVD so you can pause and jot down (write) new words and look them up in a dictionary later (if you didn’t understand from the context).
I recommend that you watch TV shows that are related to your profession in order to acquire more technical vocabulary. For example, if you’re a lawyer you can watch Law and Order, a doctor can watch Grey’s Anatomy or House, and scientists can watch the Big Bang Theory. Search for a show that fits your needs in order to have the best results, and create a great strategy to learn with TV.
Movies are great, too, but many of us don’t have time to watch an entire movie several times a week. Watching a television show only takes about 20 minutes.
Read anything. I can’t emphasize this enough. Newspaper articles, sports articles, books, comic books, magazines and blogs are all great options. If you want to improve your vocabulary this is definitely one of the best ways.
A highly recommendable book, once you’ve reached an intermediate level in English, is the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Although it is originally French, it is one of the best selling books ever published. It is short, consists of easier language, and is a compelling story (meaning it grabs you).
The Harry Potter series is also great because the language isn’t very difficult and it is a popular and exciting story. There are seven books so it will keep you reading for a long time, and your English improving with each book.
I don’t recommend looking up every word you don’t know while reading because you’ll end up taking a week to finish a single chapter. It won’t be a fun experience. When reading a book, it’s not important that you know every word; you will still understand the main point. And you’ll be surprised how much you understand just through the context.
Just circle words that you don’t know and look them up later.
Some of the best, most impartial news (it doesn’t take a side) is found only in English. The more that you can read and speak English, the better the information that you’ll have access to. Good newspaper or online news publications are the New York Times, the Economist, BBC and CNN. These aren’t all 100 percent free, but they let you see several articles each day without charging you, which is more than enough to put your English to use. Whereas a novel will give you good vocabulary for everyday conversation, the news can give you more technical vocabulary, which is great for your career or just for sounding intelligent!
You won’t just be improving your English, you’ll also be becoming more informed and educated. This is equally important if you want to travel. These websites have news in sports as well if that interests you.
Blogs are equally great because they exist about every topic. Whatever it is that interests you, you can find a blog on it. The other great thing about blogs is that you can comment, and even get in conversations or debates over certain issues.
Find something to read and start reading it. Your vocabulary bank will increase greatly.
6. “Good Ol’ ” Talking to People
Just because you don’t live in an English speaking country doesn’t mean you can’t practice speaking outside of class. There are several ways that you can find people to talk to:
Look on Facebook and Google for English groups in your city. Many big cities have expatriates (expats) that get together to talk and they always love to make new friends that are native to the country. Or you might find a group of English students like yourself who you can practice with.
Even if you don’t live in a large city, you can use English groups to meet people to chat with or even to Skype with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a native speaker or just someone else that is learning English as a second language. The important thing is that you’re practicing speaking because it builds confidence. And another non-native English speaker is sure to know some vocabulary that you don’t know and vice-versa. If you’re a member of Google Plus, you can use it to video chat with multiple people at the same time using “Google Hangouts”.
Another great resource is Chatroulette. It is a website that randomly sets you up with another user on a video chat. It is free, you can use it any time of day, and it has thousands of users from all over the world. It is a great way to meet people in other countries and practice your English. Although Chatroulette has rules against certain behavior, these are often broken. So if you are easily offended do not use Chatroulette.
Couchsurfing is awesome in many ways. First, it is a community for travelers. When you travel, you can find a host on Couchsurfing who hosts you in his or her home for free, and you can host travelers in your hometown. It is a great way to meet people from all over the world and experience new cultures without necessarily traveling. It is a legitimate organization because it is based on references; you don’t couchsurf with someone who has negative references.
Second, most cities have Couchsurfing groups that meet up weekly. Find one near you on the “Activities” section of the website. Third, you can look for people who live in your town and want to hang out (grab a coffee or something similar). You might just find an American or British person living near you who is looking to meet people. For many more ways to use CouchSurfing to revolutionize your English, click here.
Last, on the group and discussions part of the website, you can find people to chat with about different topics. Another great way just to converse and build your vocabulary.
Go and start a couchsurfing account today. It is a valuable resource.
Choose any or all of these resources. As long as you’re talking, you’re learning.
EVEN MORE tips on how to find people to speak to, click here.
Stay Tuned for Even More Tips
I hope you’ve enjoyed part II, now check out part III so you can really revolutionize your English learning!
Find some books, movies and TV shows in English that you can watch and read every day. Start adding more words to your word journal.
There is no reason why English learning shouldn’t be fun! Make friends in other countries. You never know, you might just meet someone who will invite you to visit!
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