Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. I definitely think that vocabulary is the most difficult part of learning English, and unfortunately, there are no short cuts.
As some of you mentioned, there are several key points that learners need to understand about English vocabulary, and that is what I am teaching in my class. If any of you are interested, we are using the textbook “Learning English Vocabulary.” It’s not exactly a “fun” read, but it is very useful if you are serious about improving your vocabulary.
Here is my feedback on your comments:
I’ve always been struggling to improve my vocabulary,
I’ve always struggled to improve my vocabulary / I am always struggling to improve my vocabulary
However, the problem is that I’m not a neat person, and they’re scribbled everywhere, so I can’t find them when I really need them!
One of the key principles to being a successful vocabulary learner is that you need to be systematic.
By the way, is anyone using “Google translate”?
I use it for my French studies. It’s not as good for Japanese, though.
I study as the same way as Biwa.
I study in the same way as Biwa.
if I don’t use those words by myself, I won’t be able to use them.
That is another key point, but “by myself” should be “myself.” (A-Z: myself / by myself)
I think “mistakes” draw your attention to the words because they’re something you really want to say, so they’re likely to cling onto your mind.
… so they are more likely to stick in your mind. (Very true.)
I think knowing some ideas of “prefixes, roots and suffixes”(接頭語、語幹、接尾語) is sometimes helpful.
This is also very useful.
The other day, I tried a TOEIC practice exam at home after a couple of years.
I’m not sure I understand this. Do you mean “The other day, I tried a TOEIC practice test at home for the first time in a couple of years”?
When I see simple things written in French, Spanish or Italian I can sometimes get the gist because the the roots of the words often come from Latin or Greek and English shares a lot of these roots.
That is also very important. I recommend Googling “Greek and Latin word roots” to get some really useful lists.
I am going to visit my sister in the US.
Look forward to hearing about your trip when you get back.
When I studied Chinese language in German university, I really felt that I had a big advantage in learning Chinese vocabulary compared to my German classmates.
When I studied Japanese in Singapore, I had the opposite experience, because all my classmates were Chinese, so they understood all the kanji. It was very frustrating!
It must be very helpful to know which words to use as a bunch. I’d love to be your student!
Your comment reminded me: if anyone wants to stay with Kattie in the UK, please email me, and I will put you in touch with her. You can email me through the “Contact us” button in the top menu.
I couldn’t see the checklist you mentioned but is it like this one, which lists the 5000 most common words?
The book I mentioned above has a list of the top 3000 words in British English. Actually, compiling these lists is very difficult. One problem is the parts of speech: should “love” be counted as one word, or are “love (n)” and “love (v)” different words? Also, when the computer finds a word like “row,” how does it know whether it means “a row of seats” or “two people having a row”? The biggest problem, however, is the sources for the database. If you use newspapers, you get a particular kind of vocabulary, but if you use magazines, different kinds of words are used more often. There are lots of other problems too, so making frequency lists is much more complicated than most people imagine.
By the way, I also liked David’s this advice ;
By the way, I also like this advice from David:
That’s it for today. I’m going to be at a conference in Nagoya this weekend, so I won’t have much time to check the blog, but please let me know if you have any questions. If I can’t answer them over the weekend, I’ll do it on Monday.
Have a great weekend.