Another special method for boosting your English vocabularies

G’day, how are you mate? I’ve got a request from a bunch of English learner in recent months. That is, “how to increase English vocabulary”, which is a kind of troublesome issue for many of you. I’ve already explained two methods: namely, learning from etymology or word roots; and paraphrasing. Another special method I want to introduce is, I call, “making a vocabulary’s memory tree”.

First of all, rote learning any word is a painfully slow process and tends to be very ineffective. Why? Because it’s very repetitive and prone to be tedious or boring. You will surely forget more than 60% in the following day. That’s ok! But it’s not fun at all, is it? Instead of memorising the meaning of words using your vocabulary text (‘Tangocho’ in Japanese), what I want you to do is to make a word’s memory tree using your brain and/or online English-English dictionary.

Here are the lists of my recommended online dictionary:

  1. Longman dictionary:
  2. Cambridge dictionary:
  3. Oxford Learner’s dictionaries:
  4. Collins dictionary:

They are all excellent! But I prefer Longman dictionary as it offers a simple explanation of words’ definitions, good sample sentences as well as audio voices for British/American pronunciation. Ok, so the use of dictionary is the last resort for stimulating your brain. The important thing is to make sure you envisage your own vocab’s memory tree. How do I make it? It’s dead simple!

For instance, please have a look at this sample image. This is how I do envisage a word’s memory tree:

Word’s memory tree (created by Masato)

When it comes to the word ‘bad’, what else can you think of? It doesn’t matter the meaning of ‘bad’ is somewhat deviated from the original meaning, but it’s necessary to come up with words that are closer to the meaning of ‘bad’. You can add word’s branches as many as you possibly can. (e.g., Noun, adjective, verb, phrasal verb) If you reckon it’s hard to come up with any idea, then you can use a dictionary to find similar words.

This is not finished yet. Once you’ve done this tree, you’re gonna use one of those for your internal monologue (‘Hitorigoto’ in Japanese). The most effective way is to introduce the original word ‘bad’, and then use another word within the tree in an interesting way.

For example: That cake’s taste was really ‘bad’. That’s even ‘detrimental’ to my health as I’m suffering from a pathological chronic disease.

Something like that. It doesn’t matter whether you are beating about the bush unless you are using any word in an effective manner. The best way is to explain a particular topic using ‘bad’ + some other synonyms in front of your imaginative audience.

If you train yourself in this way, then your vocabulary entries are going to skyrocket spectacularly.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!

Have a great day!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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