A wider set of vocabulary can help to express our ideas with more shades and detail.
In an earlier post I shared a practical way to note down vocabulary.
Today we’re looking at ONE of various ways we can find and learn new vocabulary.
Does learning new vocabulary mean sitting down with your vocabulary notes and rote learning (memorizing) a list of new words?
This of course may be a frequent way of doing it, but not necessarily the most fun way for many learners.
I usually recommend trying a variety of vocabulary learning tips. This way you can choose the one that best fits your learning style.
There are a number of more engaging options, such as diary or story writing, reading, listening practice and others.
1-Minute Tip ⏳
Today we’re going to talk about a bit more dynamic way of vocabulary learning that I call “living in English”.
What does it mean?
It basically means observing the world around you and thinking in English.
Thinking in English for a set time each day.
You should start with only a couple of minutes the first week, and then gradually extend it at a comfortable pace.
“Living” in English an hour a day for example could be an ambitious medium-term goal, but it’s quite an advanced one. So I recommend starting with shorter time periods to avoid unnecessary frustrations.
As you improve, you will be able to extend the time without overwhelming yourself with loads of new vocabulary, because you will be able to say a lot more in English without the need to reach for a dictionary every step on the way.
How does this “living in English” vocabulary learning thing work in practice?
Suppose for instance that I’m walking in the street and I’m observing things I find on my way. I silently comment these things in English to myself (thinking), like
“I can see a building”
“that tall man is crossing the street”
and other things that I see happening.
If I suddenly see something that I can’t say in English, that is a chance to learn a new word. First, I’ll quickly need to decide if I really need it and want to learn it or not.
Suppose I see some construction workers painting the façade of a building. As I’m silently commenting it to myself, I may find that there are some words I don’t know in English.
For example, “three man are walking on a ___________ (a) . All of them are wearing a helmet. One of them is pulling up a ____________(b).
In this example, the two words I can’t say are
Which one of them will I want to learn? I can write down both, though I would probably not worry much about the first one, as I don’t see when I would need the word scaffolding. However, a bucket seems more useful for everyday use, so I would definitely keep that one for this learning situation. And then I would move on.
See the point? This is like a “3D picture dictionary” where you get to decide which elements of the “picture” you want to tag with words, and which ones not.
This can be a more fun way and a more powerful vocabulary learning experience than just learning words from a text or similar, though that is also perfectly valid.
A “living the learning” kind of experience.
If you dedicate some time to thinking and living in English every day, it could mean a lot in the long run for your vocabulary building and overall fluency.
The most important point is to choose a vocabulary learning method that you like. If this one is something you find interesting, you can try it out and see how it works for you.
Here’s a short video you can check out below about this point. 👇
It mentions a one-hour practice plan, but remember, this is only an example. The amount of time is not the most important element. It is much more important to enjoy what you’re doing when learning, to find the right balance that fits your current level and schedule.
There are various other ways you can learn and practise vocabulary. If you are curious to know them, send me a DM and I’ll send you the link to the complete video.
The content I share with you is from my 20+ years teaching experience. I don’t use AI to write or think for me.
👋 Hi, I’m Gábor.
I help business professionals succeed internationally by training their English fluency in simple ways.
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Connect | Gábor Légrádi | MA, RSA/CTEFLA