How to increase the number of active vocabulary

G’day mate, how are you going? Today, I am going to touch upon how you could increase the number of active vocabulary, which, I reckon, is a concernment for some of you guys. Although they think they have enough vocabulary to be able to read English articles and mostly understand tv news, they haven’t really got enough words to express themselves freely in speaking and writing, in which case you guys think of the paucity of active vocabulary. But how can we increase that? Ok, let’s boil down to this concernment, shall we?

  1. Stop just checking the meaning of vocabulary in Japanese
  2. Please check the phonemic symbol and usage of vocabulary
  3. Try to make a piece of simple sentence using the word
  4. Try to read it aloud, and simultaneously record yourself
  5. Analyse your voice and use the word frequently by self-talk training

It’s obviously not really good enough for you to just check the meaning of the word you’re referring to in Japanese, simply because you can hardly remember it when it comes to the usage, which, by the way, there isn’t usually one usage per word, right? So, checking one usage and its definition in Japanese is absolutely not effective if you really want to use the word in your speaking or writing. Instead of checking them, the best way to memorise and get used to the word effortlessly is to have a closer look at the phonemic symbol and several usages of vocabulary. One is pronunciation, and another is the definition of how the word should be used. Preferably, English-English dictionary is so much better and faster for you to get accustomed to new words without having hassles like Japanese to English translations, and vice versa.

Once you’ve checked the pronunciation and definitions, you should try to think about making a piece of sentence, which doesn’t have to be compound or complex one. You just use your grammar knowledge learnt from your junior high school. The simpler you think, the easier you’ll be able to memorise the word. And, remember, just making a piece of sentence is not good enough. What you should do is to read it aloud, and at the same time, record yourself using a recorder such as a MP3 player or even Chrome Browser. After recording, you should pay attention to how you pronounced and used the word, which is critical to your vocabulary study. What kind of things should we analyse? Well, first of all, your pronunciation. Then, grammar and collocation, etc.

Last but not least, what you should do is to use new words as many times as possible when you speak impromptu. From my experience, I would say, you could easily get used to new words after using them more than thrice. Once or twice isn’t good enough. Apparently, the more frequent you try to use, the faster and smoother you’ll be able to get the hang of the usage of new words. In this respect, again, you don’t need any complex sentences, instead you say simple ones and try to expand them and continuously speak without having odd pauses. Having proper pronunciation and simple grammar-led sentences are more than enough to be able to express yourself freely in speaking. Of course, for writing, you might have some knowledge about how to make compound, complex as well as compound-complex sentences, which should be required for semi-academic essays or something.

If you follow my vocabulary study rules, then I definitely reckon you should be able to increase the number of active vocabulary pretty quickly.

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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