Studying Vocabulary

I know I talk a lot about this, but really, it’s important. Vocabulary is the most central element of language. Some research suggests that university students graduate with less vocabulary than senior high school students. That means, university students probably get lazy, and forget vocabulary. Students need about 8-10,000 words in their head to understand 95% of language. How many English words do you have in your head? Do the vocabulary size V-Check here. So, how do you maintain and build your vocabulary? From 2015, some of my classes have been using WordEngine, and from 2017 all my classes are required to use it. Simply because it is the best vocabulary individualised learning management system available.

If you don’t use WordEngine, or are learning specific vocabulary, follow this method:

  1. Get a little notebook
  2. Put in words (or phrasal verbs or idioms) that are interesting or may be important to you
  3. Don’t chose boring or un-useful words; you’ll never learn them.
  4. English major students should be studying about 15 words a week.
  5. Make note of the meanings (there are usually three or more meanings per word
  6. Note down the pronunciation
  7. The Japanese translation
  8. Part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, etc)
  9. A sample sentence
  10. A note of where you originally discovered the word or phrasal verb.

And then,

  1. Study the vocabulary everyday
  2. Study for at least (minimum) 10 minutes each day
  3. Study anywhere (on the bus, on the train, in the bathtub, in bed, before classes in the morning, during your break at work, anywhere)
  4. Ask questions to a teacher or competent classmate or friend about words or phrases you have difficulty with.

Attached below are some samples of how to organise your vocabulary notebooks.

Here are some suggestions, Vocabulary Notebooks, and Vocabulary Notebooks II.

Girl studying on her phone. Photo: Lars Ploughmann, CC,

Girl studying on her phone. Photo: Lars Ploughmann, CC,