Are you at home right now? Waiting at the dentist? Or going somewhere, sitting on the bus?
Then this is your opportunity to learn new vocabulary. It will be YOUR vocabulary as you will choose the words that relate to you. As the words will be relevant to you, you will remember them more easily.
Needless to say this technique goes for any language you may be studying.
Can you name it?
Even though I am pleased you are reading this at the moment, I would like you to take your eyes off the screen for a moment and notice what you can see around you.
And now ask yourself: How many of the things around me can I name in English? Try to find something you can’t name in English yet; you will surely find more than one.
Now, you will not want to know the name for every single thing because not everything is useful or relevant to you. It is therefore up to you to decide what words you want to incorporate into your vocabulary. For example, you might find it useful or necessary to be able to talk about the soles and heels of your shoes; that you fasten them with buckles or tie them with shoelaces. But you will probably not need to talk about the reinforced tips of your laces (they’re called aglets, by the way).
Step 1: Notice and observe
- Take advantage of all kinds of situation to notice your world. Look around on your way to or home from work; at the shops and the supermarkets; at home; at the hairdresser’s; while watching TV…
- Make it a habit or even a personal challenge to collect new words. Try to spot something new even in places you get past every day, and see if you know the English word for it. Use your natural curiosity.
Look at yourself. Can you name the parts of your face and body? (Don’t forget your internal organs). What are you wearing today? What colour and materials are your clothes?
If you are driving to work: What’s your car like? Can you name all its parts? What do you call the actions necessary to drive your car?
Notice what is going on in the street. What things are there? What do the people look like? How are they moving? (Remember there are many different verbs in English to describe movement.)
When you do the shopping: Could you tell someone in English what is on your shopping list?
Next time, write your shopping list in English.
At work or at school: What is your timetable? What are your tasks? What kind of people do you deal with?
Write your to-do list for the day in English.
Focus on one item and see if you can name its parts. For example, your computer; your bed; your coat; your pet.
What’s next? Read Part 2.
Download an infographic of this topic.
Here is a post with 10 tips on how to review your vocabulary.