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How to MASTER your vocabulary - Free Transcripts

How to MASTER your vocabulary - Free Transcripts

By: kevin

17 Jan 2013

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James: Oh - Hi, James from engVid. This doesn't happen often, because we usually practice it. Mr. E, who I can’t tell you, usually gives me a thumbs-up signal then I know I have to go, ‘Hi, James from engVid’. I was actually looking at the paper, alright, anyway time to do a lesson.

If you are at this lesson, it’s because you probably have trouble with vocabulary, and what do I mean you have trouble with vocabulary, you are probably saying ‘I learn all these words, they teach me these things and within hours, days, weeks I forget everything’. Well it makes sense, it’s not your fault, it’s not your teacher’s fault, there is a method for things to work, I mean there is always a way to make things work a little better than something else. Writing out a word 20 times is not going to help you. Later on if you check we will have the three-U method and that will teach you how to remember vocabulary, that you won’t forget it, but right now what I want you to do is master vocabulary and what do I mean by master it. Lot of students don’t take the time to actually get a full picture.

Imagine a picture that’s got a rose, and it’s in a beautiful red, it’s glorious, great color, you know the sun behind it, you can see everything, now imagine that picture black-and-white, what are you going to miss? You think you have the picture because there is a rose, but do you see the beautiful yellow, no because it’s black-and-white, so there is something missing from that picture, and what’s missing from that picture can sometimes be depth, color and brightness. Once you have that it’s hard to forget, because when I said imagine a rose, you imagine it in color, maybe with a little water on it, maybe someone holding it, but that’s what you need to remember it.

So we are going to work with vocabulary and look at the four things you need to do to say I have mastered vocabulary, so this vocabulary belongs to me, okay. Now the number one thing we are going to look at is understand it, well what do I mean by understand. Many students open a dictionary, look at a word, look at the definition, one definition, and then say ‘okay I know’, or they look at the four, that’s not it - when I say understand it, take that definition, write it out, take a dictionary, expensive sound effects, and write out that definition, then what I suggest is you write one, two or three sentences, right, showing your usage of that word in the proper context. If it has three definitions well guess what, son, bub, you have to do three words, so that means making nine sentences, this sounds like a lot of work, I want you to remember something, don’t do the work now, you have to learn it again later.

And what’s worse is if it took, if it takes five minutes to do what I am describing it will take you 20 to 30 minutes to do it later, that’s six times the amount of time because it is hard to do.

No one said learning a language is easy, but it can be fun and it’s very productive and there is something nice about having new vocabulary and having it, learning quickly and keeping it. So first thing to understand, write out the definition, alright, write out the definition, and when you have the definition then write example sentences, your example sentences, alright. Let’s go with the word ceiling for instance, there are two definitions to the word ceiling, number one - ceiling is the top of a room, the top part, there is the floor, there is the ceiling, the ceiling is inside the building, roof is on top of the building. A second definition for ceiling is the limit of something, the ceiling, you cannot go any higher than this; in business we talk about a glass ceiling, alright, let me talk about, you can only go so far and then no more.

I will give you an example, so how would I use it to make sure I understand it, well my first sentence might be for ceiling and a roof, I will paint the walls blue and the ceiling yellow, ceiling yellow, oh god look it is like the sun, got it ceiling is inside, you don’t paint your roof yellow, it’s inside yellow; what about the second one, okay, like what the second one is, the limit of something. For a salary for instance, so I’d say the ceiling, for my salary at work is $20,000, they will not pay me more than that so I need to get a new job, that’s the limit. So I’ve written out these definitions, it gives me an understanding and maybe even where I should use it.

What about the next one, the next one we are going to do is pronounce. Well how do you pronounce something? Well here is what I usually say, the best way to learn pronunciation is to do phonetics, simple phonetics, break it down. Let’s go back to the word ceiling again, okay, ceiling okay, I would have done this - see ling - by the way you spell ceiling like this, but I do not care about how I spell it, it is how do I say it, you say see-ling, if you are nautical, you like water you might put, sea-ling. Phonetics, how do you say it?

These are completely different, but who cares how you spell it, how do I say it because once I get the phonetics for it I can pronounce it, alright. Or big C-ling, you get the picture, we can just keeping going, get the phonetics? Do it slowly one part at a time, because if you go see-see-see ling-ling-ling, ceiling, then you can put it together and pronounce it properly like a native speaker, you like that, I do, I teach my students that all the time, break it down, master each point, put them together only at the end.

Third, spell it, okay. Spelling is easy, that’s part of vocabulary, right, because we have to do vocabulary we both say it and we both write it or - I am sorry - we say it, we hear it, we write it, or we read it. Spelling, I have many students from parts of the world who cannot spell, so my suggestion is this. Look at the word, you are already looking at the definition, write it out, ten times, write it out and look at it, then go away, yes I said it, go away, relax, have a beer, no beer, have a tea, we need you smart right, have a tea, talk to your friends come back and then spell it out again. Look what mistakes you made, why did you make those mistakes, there may be grammar rules that will help you with those mistakes, such as I before E, except after C, right.

Or when you hadn't, add a letter E after a consonant usually it actually affects the sound of the word inside, like fat and fate, becomes long, that’s another rule for another day. But the point is check your spelling, so write it out ten times come back later write it out. It will help facilitate or help your memory, alright.

And finally recognize it, if somebody says to you, ‘oh that ceiling looks really old’ and you are going, ‘what is ceiling, I've not heard of this ceiling before’, it’s no good to you, I mean if you can’t pronounce it, nobody understands you and you can’t recognize it when someone says it, you don’t know what they are talking about, so how do we do that?

Easy, another lesson is, speak slowly, do this, see-ling, we go slowly to get the stress, where is the stress, is it c-ling or see-ling learning the stress we are able to, when people speak faster pick it up, because when I say, look at the ceiling, it’s C-ling - you need those stresses to catch the word, then your brain will catch it. So once again I suggest you say it very slowly at least four or five times very, very slowly and elongate that word and in the next five times say as fast as you possibly can - and say as fast as you possibly can - ceiling, ceiling, ceiling, ceiling - because then you are going to get the sounds that you must say in other words the sounds I must say so that you can hear it.

If you can do that, when someone says ‘Ceiling’ you will know it’s different than I am going seeing, going to see something or you are seeing, not seeing, ceiling, you will catch it because you will know there was no ‘L’ stress, it must be a different word, you like that, I like it too.

So, how to master grammar, that’s the first mistake, this has nothing to do with grammar, son. This is how to master vocabulary. So if you've been paying attention you will notice that, but it will stick in your mind, see you’ll recognize it was a mistake and you will understand it’s my fault, okay, but I think it’s a great lesson, please take it to heart, try it out, you will be surprised.

Actually get off right now, write down five words you've had problems with, go through what I've told you, go take the test, because I actually gave a test on this word, ceiling, yeah that’s what I did, ceiling, it’s not only here, it’s at the engVid website, so go there, check it out, do what I said, see if you remember what this word means, alright, anyway, it’s been fun, with our vocabulary, not grammar lesson.

Go to www.engvid.com where you can learn this lesson on vocabulary and I have grammar lessons, reading and writing tips the whole kit and caboodle, it’s an English idiom for everything. Myself or five other teachers god knows, by now maybe 20,000 teachers, go, get there before it’s gone, alright, plenty of vocabulary. Ciao!