Lesson 6. How to improve your vocabulary?

Vocabulary is not a simple thing….

Listen to the lesson read by a native speaker:

Vocabulary is a very important part of any language. It’s impossible to speak English if you don’t know English words and phrases. It doesn’t mean that you should grab (схватить) a dictionary and start learning by heart all the words. Of course not. I never recommend learning new words and phrases by heart. It’s a very boring and exhausting way to improve vocabulary. People usually get tired of it very soon. As a result (в результате), they get tired of learning English and start avoiding (начинают избегать) the classes. You can drill English words if you want, but I want to suggest (предлагать) you a more pleasant way of improving your vocabulary.

Keep calm and read in English.

Reading is a foundation of learning. If you want to expand (расширять) your vocabulary, you need to read a lot. I told you already that when you enjoy something, you can do it much better. So all the same with reading. When you’re interested in what you read you will make a very fast progress and your vocabulary will grow quickly.

You can read books, news in English, podcasts’ transcripts (расшифровки подкастов), lyrics (тексты песен) of songs and other kinds of materials. It doesn’t matter (это не важно) what you read. The most important thing is to enjoy reading.

There are two main reasons why people don’t like what they read:

  • it’s not interesting for them;
  • it’s too difficult for them;

For example me. I don’t like the policy (политика), so I never read articles about that. But I love English, animals, and blogging. So I never get tired of reading short stories in English, articles about animals and some actual (актуальная) information about blogging.

I’m sure that you’re also interested in something: classic books, technologies, science, traveling, kids, psychology, sport, cross stitching, arts etc….So read articles about that.

If you read something that is too difficult for you, try to find another article. It’s very important to read articles that fit your level. If you love classic books, find some adapted ones for English learners. I already told you about the Oxford Bookworms Library.  They have a lot of great books for different levels of students.

If you like different kinds of topics I highly recommend you TED.com. This is a website where people share their ideas with the world. Each video has subtitles and transcripts. I’m sure you’ll like it.

So, reading is a very powerful way to improve vocabulary, but if you want to have a better result, you should do it effectively. Let’s talk about that.

Effective reading.

We’ve already mentioned two important things that will help improve your vocabulary through reading:

  • read what you like;
  • read articles that fit your level;

There are some more useful methods of effective reading:

  • When you read in English, read aloud. It’s an amazing way to improve your English very fast. This way, you improve not only your vocabulary but also your speaking, your pronunciation and your ability to think in English!
  • After you read something, work with vocabulary. Learn English deeply, remember? Just write out (выписать) the words and phrases you don’t know. Translate them into your language.

Tips:

-write out not a single word but the whole sentence. So you can see how to use these words and phrases;

-make up your own sentence using new vocabulary. It’s not necessary to make up a difficult one. You can just change a couple of words in the original sentence.

For instance (например), let’s look at the sentence I used above:

Just write out the words and phrases you don’t know.

If you don’t know the phrasal verb “to write out”, take the whole sentence and write it down. And then make up your own sentences. For example,

I like writing out new words and phrases.

I always write out new words and phrases.

He wrote out two new words.

If it’s difficult for you, you can just change a little bit the original sentence. Look!

Just write out the words and phrases you don’t understand.

You see, I’ve changed only one word. You can do the same. The most important thing is to make your brain work and think, but not only rewrite sentences from the text.

  • If you have time, write a little narrative  (расссказ) about the material you’ve read. Try to use new vocabulary. It’s a perfect exercise that will help you to remember new words and phrases very well.
  • Another important thing of powerful reading is to watch or to listen to the material you’re reading. That’s why listening to the podcasts and reading along their transcripts is very useful. That’s why watching movies with subtitles is very useful.

When you listen, you hear how to pronounce unknown to you words and phrases. When you watch, you understand the context better.

Also, you learn how to speak English naturally from natives. You hear their intonation, you see how they move while speaking.

All this helps you to pronounce words and phrases like a native speaker. Try to be like a native when you speak. It’s very important.

Let’s now work with a short story “A big man with no manners”. I want you to use all the techniques I told you about:

  • read it aloud as many times as you want;
  • pay attention to your pronunciation and intonation. Listen to the speaker and try to imitate him;
  • write out new the words and phrases you don’t know. Translate them and make up a few sentences with them;

A big man with no manners.

Tony was in line for the elevator at Macy’s. Two men walked up. They went to the front of the line. They were very tall and very big. They looked like father and son. A Macy’s employee spoke up. “Sir,” he said, “you have to go to the back of the line. You can’t cut in line.” The big man ignored him. “Sir,” the employee repeated, “please go to the back of the line. It isn’t right to cut in line.” The man said, “I’m not moving.” The elevator doors opened. People got out of the elevator. The man and his son walked into the elevator first. Tony and the others in line got into the elevator. The elevator rose. Tony said, “You’re setting a bad example for your son. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can break the rules.” The big man said, “Who’s going to stop me?”

Useful vocabulary:

the elevator лифт;

the Macy название гепермаркета;

to walk up подходить;

the lineочередь;

employeeработник, сотрудник;

to speak up – высказаться; не удержаться и сказать;

to cut in line влезать без очереди;

to get out ofвыходить из;

to walk intoвходить в;

to set a bad example for smb подавать плохой пример кому-либо;

to break the rulesнарушать правила;

Resources.

There are a few must use (обязательные к использованию) resources if you want to improve your vocabulary quickly.

As you noticed, in the end of each lesson I want you to work with a deck of flashcards (колода дидактических карточек). I give you this quiz to make my lesson more effective for you. When we learn new words and phrases, it’s very important to review them from time to time. It’s how our brain works. If you want to remember very well some information you need to refresh it. Our brain needs time to store (сохранить) this information.

Working with flashcards is very effective. That’s why I want you to use Anki. This is a very good program which lets you create your own decks and work with them on PC or mobile devices. Anki is based on a spaced repetition of information (интервальное повторение информации). When you go through a deck you have to choose whether you know a word well or not. If you don’t know some word, the program will show you it again very soon. If you know the word very well, Anki will show you it much later.

I have a very good tutorial video lesson about how to use this amazing program. Join my premium BFTC section!

The next useful website is Multitran. It’s an online dictionary that translates not only single words but also set expressions. It’s very important because English has a lot of phrases like that. Multitran gives you the word’s meaning from different kinds of topics: general, engineering, medicine, arts etc. I love this dictionary and you’ll love it too.

One more good website is the Longman Dictionary. This dictionary doesn’t translate the words into your language but defines them in English. For example, the word “a cloud”. Look, like Longman defines this word:

Definition of "a cloud"
Definition of “a cloud”

Mass in the sky that forms from very small drops of water – Isn’t that amazing? This is a very effective way to expand your vocabulary. One English word gives you a couple of others: mass, sky, small drops. Also, this method improves your thinking in English. Use this dictionary!

Your homework.

  1. Please work with the short story “A big man with no matters”. Tell me what you think about this situation? Have you ever cut in line? Why did those big guys do that? Please answer these questions in English using a comment section below.
  2. Work with vocabulary quiz for this lesson. Remember, if you want to learn these words very well, come back to this lesson from time to time.

Vocabulary quiz.

[qdeck align=”center”]
Welcome to the flashcards of this lesson. Here’s how it works:

Click ‘Flip’ to see the answer to each card.
If you don’t know it as well as you’d like to, click ‘Need more practice,’ and that card will go to the bottom of the stack so you can practice it again.
If you know it, click ‘Got it.’
‘Shuffle’ lets you shuffle the deck.

[start]
[q] How to say “схватить” in English?

[a] to grab

It doesn’t mean that you should grab a dictionary and start learning by heart all the words.

(Это не значит, что вы должны схватить словарь и начать учить на изусть все слова)

[q] How to say “в результате, как результат” in English?

[a] As a result.

As a result, people get tired of learning English.

(В результате, люди устают от изучения английского языка)

[q] How to say “избегать”?

[a] to avoid.

People get tired of learning English and start avoiding the classes.

(Люди устают от изучения английского языка и начинают избегать занятий)

[q] How to say “приятный”?

[a] pleasant.

It’s a very pleasant and effective way

(Это очень приятный и эффектиыный способ)

[q] How to say “предлагать”?

[a] to suggest.

I want to suggest you a more pleasant way of improving your vocabulary.

(Я хочу предложить вам более приятный способ улучшить ваш словарный запас)

[q] How to say “расширять”?

[a] to expand.

If you want to expand your vocabulary, you need to read a lot.

(Если вы хотите улучшить свой словарный запас, вам нужно много читать)

[q] How to say “текстовые расшифровки”?

[a] transcripts.

Listen to podcasts and read their transcripts along.

(Слушайте подкасты и читайте их текстовые расшифровки)

[q] How to say “текст песни”?

[a] lyrics.

Reading of the songs’ lyrics is very useful too.

(Читать тексты песен тоже очень полезно)

[q] How to say “это не важно”?

[a] It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what you read.

(Неважно, что вы читаете)

[q] How to say “политика”?

[a] policy.

I don’t like the policy.

(Мне не нравится политика)

[q] How to say “актуальный”?

[a] actual.

Actual blogging sphere’s information.

(Актуальная информация из сферы блогинга)

[q] How to say “выписывать”?

[a] to write out.

Just write out the words and phrases you don’t know.

(Просто выписывайте слова и фразы, которых вы не знаете)

[q] How to say “например”?

[a] for instance.

For instance, let’s look at this sentence.

(Например, давайте посмотрим на это предложение)

[q] How to say “рассказ, изложение”?

[a] narrative.

Write a little narrative in English about the material you’ve read.

(Напишите небольшой рассказ на английском о том, что вы прочитали)

[q] How to say “лифт”?

[a] the elevator.

Tony was in line for the elevator at Macy’s.

(К лифту в “Мэси” была пробка)

[q] How to say “подходить”?

[a] to walk up.

Two men walked up.

(Подошли двое мужчин)

[q] How to say “очередь”?

[a] a line.

They went to the front of the line.

(Они встали в начало очереди)

[q] How to say “начать говорить, заговорить”?

[a] to speak up.

A Macy’s employee spoke up.

(Работник “Мэси” не выдержал и сказал)

[q] How to say “влезать без очереди”?

[a] to cut in line.

You can’t cut in line.

(Вы не можете влезать без очереди)

[q] How to say “выходить из”?

[a] to get out of

People got out of the elevator.

(Люди вышли из лифта)

[q] How to say “медленно войти”?

[a] to walk into.

The man and his son walked into the elevator first.

(Мужчина и его сын первыми вошли в лифт)

[q] How to say “подавать плохой/хороший пример кому-либо”?

[a] to set a bad/good examle for smb.

You’re setting a bad example for your son.

(Вы подаете плохой пример своему сыну)

[q] How to say “нарушать правила”?

[a] break the rules.

You can’t break the rules.

(Вы не можете нарушать правила)

[q] How to say “хранить, сохранять”?

[a] to store.

Our brain needs time to store this information.

(Нашему мозгу нужно время, чтобы сохранить эту информацию)

[q] How to say “устойчивое выражение”?

[a] set expression.

English has a lot of set expressions.

(Английский язык имеет множество устойчивых выражений)

[/qdeck]

So my friends, I hope this lesson was useful for you. Share it with others 😉 See you next time!

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