quarta-feira, 28 de setembro de 2011

Poor Vocabulary?

Sometimes we go through one of those moments when the word we are looking for is not there in our repertoire. Even in our native language it happens, and it seems to happen to pretty much everyone, or at least often enough to make me think that. I've seen that momentin a lot of different situations, sometimes unimportant, sometimes funny and sometimes quite embarrassing.

Some of those words are known to us but they just decide to escape our heads when we need them, some we have no idea. It's in this second situation that I would like to focus, because it is an important issue to students and sometimes to teachers as well. No one knows all the words of any language, there is always something to learn.

As a long time student of the English language and as a teacher, vocabulary is a constant interest and something on which I spend some time and dedication. But there is one thing that I hear a lot and that I don't think that actually describes what happens, people say theyhave poor vocabulary. Well, that is not, in my opinion, a good way to describe it.

For start, if you are a student improving you vocabulary is a constant thing and part of the learning process, so it is natural that the number of words you know is not that big. To that there's one advice that I think fits here: research.

Try to find new words. When in class ask, when studying and facing something new, go after it's meaning.

Lots of times we can hear some new expression on TV or in a movie, try to write it down, even if you don't know the correct spelling, and then try to find it. We have so many resources today, having a good dictionary is very important, but when it's not near you, or when you still don't have one, the internet can help too. Be aware that sometimes it's not enough to find a word on-line, you should confirm its meaning later or get further research. But even so, the more you have the habit of learning new words, the faster your vocabulary will grow.

Second, a vocabulary cannot be poor. Very often we have to use a powerful tool: description. We describe what we are trying to say, what we mean or how we feel. Well, it's one of the poets' best weapon, let's use it when we need. You have your tools, the words you alreadyknow, use them, don't be ashamed to put you vocabulary to a rich use. That's one way to say that your vocabulary is not poor, you are learning, so are we all, what should be rich is the use you make of what you have.

That goes to a lot of things in life, naturally, so it is good advice to the use of language as well.

You will improve your language skills if you keep dedicating time and effort to it. Your vocabulary will grow in size and quality - which is even more important than quantity. But in the way, put what you have to a good use, that's why you are studying and that is communication.

Professor Gustavo.
(Do Time de Professores da A Frank Experience)

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