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Paper Princess
01-06-2012, 02:25 AM
Hello AWes!

I am not a native English speaker, therefore my English vocabulary is moderate, I want to know how to improve vocabulary for my reading and writing as well..

alleycat
01-06-2012, 02:29 AM
Just an idea . . .

If I were you I might get some books meant for older children (say, the nine to 13-year old age group). Read a passage or a page every day. Any word you don't know, look up on an online website like dictionary.com.

Of course, there are books especially meant to improve someone's vocabulary, but using those might get boring after a short while.

Also, there are lists online of commonly misspelled words. You might do a Google search and find those.

Sea Witch
01-06-2012, 02:35 AM
I think I can help.

For English: I recommend subscribing for free to A Word a Day here (http://wordsmith.org/awad/subscribe.html). They email you a word every day with the definition and examples in usage. It's very good. I've been getting it for years.

In the 80's I lived in France for 6 years. When I moved there I didn't speak a word of it. When I left, I could pass for French. There were 2 things I found immensely helpful:

1. watching television in whatever language you want to learn. especially a drama like a soap opera. It's much easier to pick up vocabulary when you can watch the faces and understand the context.

and

2. every day I would find a new word that I didn't know, like from a book or newspaper, and I would make an effort to use that word in conversation at least twice during the day. (which wasn't easy, but it was fun, like a game).

I hope this helps

Paper Princess
01-06-2012, 02:53 AM
Thank you guys, very helpful!

Ken
01-06-2012, 05:37 AM
... maybe try chatting online. I think AW has a chat section? G'luck.

Little Ming
01-06-2012, 06:20 AM
...

1. watching television in whatever language you want to learn. especially a drama like a soap opera. It's much easier to pick up vocabulary when you can watch the faces and understand the context.

...


Seconding this and also want to include movies and books. Not only can you learn new words, but also slang, interesting turns of phrases, cultural references and, yes, profanity. All of which can come in helpful in writing. :D

benbradley
01-06-2012, 06:37 AM
There's also a word of the day here:
http://m-w.com

And another signup here:
http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice

And there's this too. If the SAT vocabulary gets too easy for you, go for the GRE:
http://number2.com
or go straight for the vocab:
http://number2.com/exams/vocab/companion/index.cfm?s=0

Hope this helps. :)


ETA: http://www.freerice.com :D

Kitty Pryde
01-06-2012, 07:10 AM
What I was forced to do in high school was read books and write down every single word I didn't know, and the definition too! Keep the dictionary and notebook by you when you read for fun (novels or nonfiction or whatever). It helps if you pick something that is a bit challenging for you, but not really really hard.

Drachen Jager
01-06-2012, 08:03 AM
The best way IMO is to read lots of books and stop every time you hit a word you don't know stop and look it up.

blacbird
01-06-2012, 08:14 AM
Read. Read the really good, clear narrative writers. A lot. And those really good writers, in my estimation, are not highly technical or difficult. They are just really good with words. Some suggestions:

Ray Bradbury
Rex Stout
John D. MacDonald
Kurt Vonnegut
Flannery O'Connor
Carson McCullers
Willa Cather
Ursula LeGuin
Geoffrey Household
Pete Dexter
Barbara Kingsolver
Tony Hillerman
Theodore Sturgeon
Philip K. Dick


caw

Flicka
01-06-2012, 12:24 PM
I'm not a native English speaker either. For me it's been reading, reading, reading. I rarely ever look up unknown words. For me, it would take away the joy of reading. You still learn how to use words by encountering them repeatedly. I do sometimes look up some words before using them to make sure they mean what I think they mean. Watching movies is great - if you watch dvds, do it with English subtitles as it makes it easier to catch what they're saying (and you get spelling as an added bonus). Chatting w English speakers is also good as is reading newspapers, magazines, blogs etc. Generally, anything where you immerse yourself in English is a good idea. But in my experience, as I said, don't feel you have to look everything up or you'll drive yourself bonkers.

Also... This probably sound silly, but take some time to think in English. It really does a lot for your 'active' vocabulary. It worked wonders for my French.

Good luck!

ETA: my advice in regards to picking books would be whatever you enjoy reading because that way you'll want to stick with it. I cut my teeth on Jane Austen and fantasy because that's what I enjoyed. I think reading romance taught me most, though.... Anyway, I would avoid making reading a chore. Have fun, and you'll get a bigger vocabulary as an added bonus.

Sea Witch
01-06-2012, 12:37 PM
Also... This probably sound silly, but take some time to think in English. It really does wonder for your 'active' vocabulary. It worked wonders for my French.


I believe that thinking in the new language is something that comes naturally with increasing fluency. And one day you will dream in your new language.....

Flicka
01-06-2012, 02:59 PM
I believe that thinking in the new language is something that comes naturally with increasing fluency. And one day you will dream in your new language.....

I think this is more common when you move to a new country and sort of switch languages, not really when you just get better at a new language. I mean, you don't stop thinking in your mother tongue just because you gain a large English vocabulary. I rather think you tend to go with what people around you speak. Since everybody around me speaks Swedish at the moment, I think Swedish is my 'default' language right now. When I'm in the UK though, it's English. Same with thinking about writing or people I speak English with I tend to think in English about those things.

I have no idea what language I dream in.