Improving vocabulary can be a Herculean and Sisyphean task. Were you clean bowled by this sentence? Are you scared of new words? Does it sound good but isn’t easily understood? That’s how a strong vocabulary is- a possession one wants to flaunt, but to do that, one has to work hard and earn it!
The biggest hurdle on the path to vocabulary improvement is retention. You may learn multiple Vocabulary words each day, with utmost sincerity, but are you sure that you shall retain all of them after a week? As a result, efforts seem fruitless and you end up quitting soon.
There are, however, some methods that come to your rescue:
Hercules was a Greek hero known for his strength (remember Hercules cycles). Thus, a herculean task is the one which requires great strength and effort, and a person with Herculean build is muscular and robust.
Similarly, in Greek mythology, Sisypheius was punished by the Gods to carry a huge boulder up a rock every day that would topple down as soon as he reached the summit and he had to keep repeating it all his life. Thus, a Sisyphean task is a repetitive task that can never be completed.
Now the sentence on the top makes so much sense. So, read the story, and you shall automatically remember the word! Interesting enough?
Remember learning long answers in childhood visualizing the situation or by making your own quirky mnemonics? Well, that tip comes in handy here too.
For instance, I can recall the meaning of the word ‘ravenous’ easily, if I visualize ‘raven’ sounding similar to ‘Raavana’ who was extremely hungry for power and winning over Sita. It’s then, easy for me to remember that ‘ravenous’ means ‘extremely hungry!
Another one: ‘cantankerous’ meaning ‘quarrelsome’, becomes easy to remember if ‘tank’ in the middle of the word reminds you of a war(quarrel). So, using your wits and imagination, you can learn new words, every day. Our unique animations and mnemonic techniques on VocabMagik – Vocabulary app do just that for you. Isn’t that fun?
- The RPS method:
Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes come in handy whenever one is looking at improving one’s reservoir of words. If one knows a few roots, several words related to those roots can be learnt in a jiffy! For eg.- If ‘somn’ is ‘sleep’, ‘insomnia’ (in+somn) is ‘lack of sleep’, a ‘somnific’ drug induces sleep, a ‘somnolent’ day makes you sleepy and ‘somnambulism’ is ‘sleep-walking’ (Also note that ‘ambul’ is a root denoting ‘movement’, as in ‘ambulance’, ‘preamble’ etc.)
Prefixes like ‘semi, hemi, milli, multi, micro, mis’etc combined with roots and suffixes, can help you learn a 1000 Vocabulary words by putting in the efforts required for learning a 100! How’s that?
If one remembers words of the same family together, they become easy to retain. Let’s take an example: if I write words related to killing together, let’s call it the KILL family (massacre, genocide, decimate, annihilate, terminate, regicide, carnage etc.), it is easy for me to recall its synonyms a month later, and my usage automatically improves, reducing the burden of memorizing to a great extent. Usually, maintain a diary for writing one family per page, really helps.
Speaking and writing are outputs. Reading and listening are inputs. One cannot expect a great output out of a mediocre input. An avid reader is bound to know many more words than an average/non-reader. The more you read, the more you learn. Encountering the same words repeatedly while reading, automatically helps in retaining them. So, go ahead and pick up a book of your choice!
Give English vocabulary building another try with these tricks, and download our VocabMagik app to accelerate your learning. We promise you won’t be let down.
Happy reading and happy vocab-building!