Hello! I'm Emma from mmmEnglish! What's the best way to learn new English vocabulary?
Ahh the million dollar question! If only I could give the ultimate answer to that question.
It's a question that I get asked daily - literally! There is no single
best way. There is no quick solution, but I do have 10 tips or recommendations in
this lesson that will help you to improve your English vocabulary. So you
need to find the best way for you and to do that you need to take a few moments
to think about YOU. Think about your interests. Do you like reading? The
movies? Watching the news? How do you like to learn? Do you like to learn
inside or outside, in a group or alone? What type of learner are you? How do you
best take in information? And what's your schedule like? When can you study?
On the train or with your kids? Use this information to find the opportunities to
learn and enjoy English. The truth is that to successfully learn new
vocabulary, you need to create really good study habits. You need to keep it
interesting and you need to make sure that you're having fun! It's something
that you need to be doing every day so you need to find a way to involve things
that you love to do. Me? I get really bored reading grammar books and
listening to words through dictionaries. I'm much more likely to stay motivated
if I'm eating or drinking so I like to study around meals. Hey, you may laugh but
it works for me! Consistency is key when you're learning new words.
You can't just learn them once and magically they're kept inside your head forever.
You need to hear them again and again. Understand how they're used in different
context or how they're conjugated or used in different, in word families. You need to
use them yourself. The truth is that we all learn differently. So in this video
I'm going to talk about 10 different tools and techniques that you can use to
improve your vocabulary. You might not like all of them
but you will definitely enjoy some of them and hopefully you can make them a
part of your daily or your weekly routine. And if you've got any of your
own suggestions about ways to learn vocabulary, then add them to the comments
below! Share the love with everyone, people! So, the first suggestion or the
first tip is get better at studying new words. Keep a vocabulary journal. Don't
roll your eyes at me, you can do this in lots of different ways. If you think it's
dorky to carry around a notebook, then find a way that works for you.
There are lots of apps that can help you to do this - apps on your smartphone. And it's
just as easy to make notes there. Your phone is great because it's always with
you but if you prefer to keep a notebook that's just as good. So neat ways of
doing this are creating lists or by creating vocabulary maps. However, you do it
you need to keep updating it and you need to keep building on this list
and don't just write the word down. Go deeper! If it's a noun, learn whether it's
countable or uncountable. Learn the prefixes and suffixes so that you can
build on those words. Learn synonyms for those words. You know, if you said "I felt
angry", there are so many other options. Annoyed, irritated, furious, frustrated, or
cranky. Learn if any of these words are used in phrasal verbs or idioms.
Number two. When you do learn new words, don't just
learn them on their own. Learn them with the words that they are often used with.
These are called collocations. Two or more English words that are often said
together or used together. They sound right because native speakers often use
them together. For example, you throw or have or plan a party. You don't make a party.
Or instead of memorising the word, apply, learn the phrase "apply for a job"
or "apply for a citizenship" or "apply for a visa". You can learn hundreds of new
individual words but you'll be frustrated if you can't put them
together in a sentence that sounds correct and natural. When you learn words
in groups, you're learning the words with the verb, the nouns, the prepositions that
they are commonly used with so you'll sound much more natural when you speak.
Three. Learn new vocabulary through stories. Stories are full of new words,
phrases and interesting expressions that show you how words come together in a
really entertaining way. Just like the collocation method, you are learning new
vocabulary in context. You're not only learning what words to use but you're
learning how to use them. An important note to remember is that it's important
to challenge yourself but not feel completely overwhelmed and confused.
Read stories that are fun, that are enjoyable and that help you to feel confident with
English. Start with children's books if you need to! "Emma are you serious? Start
with children's books?" Yes I'm serious! There are lots of great children's books
out there that are interesting, they're funny, they're full of adventure.
Start with children's books and when you're reading them and it becomes too
easy, you can try something a bit more challenging. In the description below
I've linked to some great books that you can get started with. In this wonderful
day and age that we live in, you can also find audiobooks for almost any book that
you can imagine and when you're learning English, hearing how the words are
pronounced is so important because English is not phonetic. In English, words
are often not pronounced the way that you think they are, so listening and
reading at the same time is even better! I use Audible to download my audiobooks
and listen to them while I'm jogging, while I'm travelling, while I'm drifting
off to sleep. And I've listed some really great books in the description box below.
Plus, there's a link down there to try your first audio book for free and I
really recommend it. Make sure you choose stories and topics that you love and
that you're interested in. On that note, TED Talks are also really great for this
because there's TED Talks on almost every topic imaginable and you can also
follow the transcript as the speaker is speaking. I'll link you to some of my
favourite TED Talks in the description below too.
Another great tip is to learn new vocabulary through songs. If you love
listening to music, there is no doubt that learning new vocabulary through
songs will help you to remember them. You need to find songs where the words are
not sung too fast so that you can hear each word and how it's pronounced.
It's more effective if you can download the lyrics and read them as you're listening.
There are so many more benefits to learning vocabulary through songs! They get stuck
in your head - if they're good - so you'll be singing them and practising them so
often you won't even feel like you're doing it - in the shower, while you're
exercising, while you're driving to work.
Songs also use colloquial language or slang language that's really common in English.
You'll also hear how words are contracted and reduced and it's going to
improve your speaking skills too. If you're singing out loud you'll be
improving aspects of your pronunciation. And the rhythm of music helps you to
memorise new vocabulary. I'll also link down there to some great websites where
you can get lyrics for English songs and also, if you've got any suggestions about
great English music that you like to listen to, make sure you add it to the comments.
The next tip. Get better at using online dictionaries. Online dictionaries
offer so many ways to practise and learn new English vocabulary. Let's look at the
word, produce, as an example. When I look up this word in an online dictionary,
I can read the definition, I can read and sometimes listen to the different verb forms,
producers, produced, producing. I can read lots of example sentences that
show how this word is used. I can also learn synonyms
and collocations. You can also see the entire word family: produce, producer, production,
productive, unproductive, productively, product, produce. You'll also listen to
the pronunciation and in this example, you'll be surprised (maybe) to learn that
the verb produce and the noun produce are pronounced differently.
I recommend some online dictionaries below in the description box. I use Oxford online
dictionaries and Macmillan online dictionaries. They also have really great
apps for iPhone and for Android. So go and explore all of the amazing vocabulary
building tools. Plus, if you
sign up to their email list you're going to get sent a new English word every day
and that's just another way to get more practice with new vocabulary!
OK, what about flashcards and labels? Flashcards have been a really
favourite way of learning new vocabulary for years and years! But there are lots
more options available for us today. You might prefer to hand-write English
phrases on one side of a card and then translate them into your own native
language on the other, but you can also use an SRS program such as Anki.
Now I downloaded Anki a few weeks ago and I think it's amazing! It allows you to remember a
large number of words in a short amount of time. And it also lets you work at
your own pace so I guess it's kind of like digital flashcards and as you
practise, the program remembers what words you get wrong and it shows you
them more frequently. So you get to practise some more! It's a really
efficient way of studying, I can't recommend it highly enough! I use it
while I'm studying Spanish. Another tip - my favourite tip - is to describe the world
around you, what's happening around you. If you like using a dictionary to learn
new vocabulary, getting into the habit of describing things that are happening
around you in English is a really great way to study. When you're unsure of words,
look them up. It will help you to fill in the gaps in your vocabulary. So for
example, when you're at your local supermarket, ask yourself "Do I remember
the names for everything that's in the fridge?" or "How can I describe the woman
waiting in line?" or "Do I know the English names of all of these vegetables?"
When you can't think of a word, you stop and you look it up. Understand how it's used,
practise it and then use it again next time you're at the supermarket. You can
also do it on your way to work on the bus, as you're going past things you can
think of the vocabulary and try and fill in the gaps when you don't know how to
describe it or explain it. Number nine - my favourite - imitate a native speaker.
Imitation and shadowing are great techniques to improve pronunciation and
spoken English but they're also awesome for learning new vocabulary, in context too.
I have a huge range of imitation lessons that are available on different topics,
so if you want to check them out you can go up here or I'll link to them at the
end of the video. And number ten. If you are confident enough, speak and practise
being in conversations. By the time you've reached pre-intermediate to intermediate
level, you already have enough vocabulary in you, you can communicate what you want.
The message might not be perfect but it's enough and it's at this point that
practising real conversation is going to catapult your English skills and that
means push them much further than if you just keep doing what you're doing.
In conversations, you're developing core language skills simultaneously. You're
listening, you're asking questions, you're learning new vocabulary and context.
You're pushing yourself to find new ways to express your ideas. And if you're not
expressing yourself clearly enough, you have to find a new way of explaining
yourself. And all of this is happening at once, there's lots of pressure, there is
no better way to build your language skills than immersing yourself inside an
English conversation. There are so many different ways that you can do this.
You can do it online, there are companies that connect you with people who want to
study English like Cambly and Lingoda. I'll write a link to all of those in the
description below too. Or in that link up there. I have a
Facebook group that encourages conversation amongst women so if you're
a woman, you are welcome to join! It's free and there is a link in the
description below as well. So that's it, my ten suggestions for improving your
vocabulary. Try them out and let me know what you think! And if you've got some
other suggestions about ways to improve your vocabulary, add them in the comments!
Most importantly, you need to find ways to learn and practise vocabulary that
will work best for you because hey, we all learn differently. We all have
different priorities and different amounts of time to spend when we're
learning new languages. You need to create your own good study habits and
find ways to enjoy English while you're learning new words. If you haven't
already subscribed to the mmmEnglish Channel, you should definitely do it!
There's always new lessons to keep you busy. Watch one of my imitation lessons
right here to help you build your vocabulary and improve your
pronunciation and become a better English speaker. If you want to watch
some of the other mmmEnglish lessons, go right here. Thanks for watching and I'll
see you in the next lesson. Bye for now!