There are many boons to having an extensive vocabulary; of being able to muster a vaster variety of adjectives, nouns and verbs, and of being able to verbalize any pondry or stroke of genius that you might formulate in a way that is at once poetic, efficient and elegant.
If you have a whole plethora of colorful words to audition each time you want to communicate an idea, then you’ll be able to ensure that you paint your point of view in a clear and well elaborated way that everybody will understand. It will mean you’re never stuck stammering and searching for the right word. It will mean you can be flamboyant and creative when needs arise, and it will mean that you can demand respect and attention by flaunting your mastery and authority over the English language.
An extensive vocabulary – being gregarious in communication – is the domain of the intellectual, the learned scholar, and the successful business man or woman – by adding to the number of words residing in your cortex you can join their ranks and afford yourself an air of authority and genius. And at the same time the very process of increasing your vocabulary and ensuring your brain is brimming with brilliant language will provide the perfect kind of brain training that is stimulating and beneficial to your gray matter.
Fortunately increasing your vocabulary is something that anyone can achieve relatively easily with just a little bit of effort. Here we will look at some of the techniques you can use to expand yours.
Reading is one of the most important ways to inflate capacity for lexical ingenuity. When you read you will inevitably take in words and phrases that you haven’t heard before, or see them used in new ways and this will register on an unconscious level. Once you have seen them a few times this connection will be strengthened and you will find that these words creep into your everyday lexicon. When you surprise yourself by blurting the word ‘bilious’ it’s always great feeling and the best way to ensure that this happens from time to time is to read avidly.
That means having a novel on the go at all times. At the same time though make sure to read around online, to read the paper and to read the back of the cereal packets while you munch your Lucky Charms. Any writing is fair game and actually the wider the variety of sources the better.
Learn New Skills
Reading novels and the news will increase your every day vocabulary over time but the ratio of words you know to the ones you don’t does not work in your favor. However you can tip the scales here by reading books on new subjects that you haven’t dealt with before, or by learning new skills. For example read a book on wildlife and nature and you’ll pick a range of words about horticulture, genealogy, biology, geography and more. Read a book on science or start learning electronics and you’ll learn terms that relate to physics, chemistry, engineering and more.
You may not thing that this is a swell way to swell your well of words – that you wouldn’t likely use the word ‘pharmacokinetics’ in every day conversation. However what you would find is that a) the more words you learn, the more responsive your brain becomes at taking on additional terms; and that b) many of the words you learn can cross pollinate into other subjects, or be used analogously or metaphorically. This is where you can begin to show off and really experiment with your choice of language and the ways you manage to bring it into conversation.
Note: Some resources suggest reading the dictionary or the thesaurus is a successful way to improve your skill with words and your ability to articulate ideas and concepts. However this is often in fact fallacious as few of us will be able to commit that many words to memory in a single sitting, and especially when they are not in any kind of context or creative capacity. The brain likes stories, scenarios and emotions and these help us to remember – so reading a novel will always be more effective.
Take the Time to Be Creative
Most of us have a much wider vocabulary than even we are consciously aware of. There are rare and inventive words there lurking in the recesses of our mind relegated to sit on the bench collecting dust. If you just take a little more time then to bring those words into play, then you’ll find that you can create at least the illusion of having an extensive dictionary committed to memory. One of the most effective ways to increase creativity when speaking is simply to slow down.
At the same time remember that your ability to express yourself and perorate is not simply measured in how many words you know, but in how you use them. Avoid repeatedly frequenting the same couple of overused words and sentences, and try finding different and more unique ways to word your words.
When we write we are given more time to carefully select the perfect phrase for every line and we are afforded the opportunity to write on a broader range of topics (because nobody needs to listen). This more extensive use of language can then eventually bleed into the way we speak by osmosis and we can find that some of that new verbosity is inherited in the way we speak.
There are a couple of methods we can use to train the scope of our declarations. For instance ‘word a day’ applications and diaries provide the perfect way to help us learn new words at an achievable rate. Similarly simply playing scrabble or doing word searches and anagrams can task our brains with finding words we didn’t know we knew.