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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.

9 Comments

  1. Anne on Friday May 17th, 2013 at 01:22 PM

    Hi YU, I could post here, so please again!

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback as always.
    I’m afraid I need to be patient to improve my English!

    Hi YU,
    I didn’t get why you referred to the lang-8, but when I clicked the link, I got it! I mistakenly pasted the different page, and it’s embarrassing,haha!

    I use lan-8 other than David’s blog, and I think it is also useful to immerse myself to English (or to write English). A couple of years ago, several years later I joined here, I felt tired joining here,and I thought I couldn’t join here any more for some reason. So I decided to quit here. I wanted to find another place to write something in English, and that was lang-8. Of course, I don’t need to think things so seriously and it would be OK to just join here casually, but I’m not such type . I’ve been devoted myself on this blog, and actually, I couldn’t quit here after all. It sounds like a double school. I hope David doesn’t mind this. As you mentioned, David is not just a native speaker as everyone knows, and I can’t talk about my English improvement without this blog and David. Some of you might laugh at me, but this blog is so special and important for me.

    By the way, as for teaching Japanese, I found how difficult it is when I started correcting entry journals on lang-8, and at a private lesson as a volunteer. That’s why I’m studying how to teach Japanese using a correspondence course(by アルク) at the moment.

    Have a lovely weekend,everyone!



  2. Anne on Friday May 17th, 2013 at 01:24 PM

    Correction:
    >so please again!
    —Please try again!



  3. Biwa on Friday May 17th, 2013 at 02:28 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you always for the feedback.
    I wonder if my sentence was wrong because “struggle” was not an “action verb”. Or was it correct if I had said “I’ve been struggling to improve my vocabulary for years.”?

    >>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



  4. Anne on Friday May 17th, 2013 at 03:02 PM

    Hi David,

    I suddenly remember yesterday was your Birthday.

    Belated Happy Birthday!!

    Hope you had a great time yesterday:)



  5. YU on Friday May 17th, 2013 at 03:07 PM

    Hi Anne,

    お昼頃ブログをチェックしたらfeedbackのコメント欄がクローズされてエントリーの方がopenになったままだったのでDavidにお知らせしました。
    多分Davidがそのあとすぐに直したんだと思いますよ。

    > I mistakenly pasted the different page, and it’s embarrassing,haha!

    I’ve been wondering what you tried to say with the link! hahaha!!

    > It sounds like a double school. I hope David doesn’t mind this.

    I don’t think he minds that.

    > Some of you might laugh at me, but this blog is so special and important for me.

    I don’t laugh at you at all, I think many of us think the same way as you.

    > That’s why I’m studying how to teach Japanese using a correspondence course(by アルク) at the moment.

    You’re really a hard worker, I always admire you!
    As I mentioned, I took a Japanese teacher’s training course at a school about 15 years ago. I spent a lot of time and money for the course, but in reality, I always quarrel with my husband when I teach Japanese to him, like “何でこんなの分かんないの!” or “この前も言ったじゃん!”, etc…. I’m a terrible teacher…
    お金をドブに捨てたようなものですね(汗)



  6. YU on Friday May 17th, 2013 at 03:13 PM

    Hi David,

    Belated happy birthday!

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you for remining me of my husband’s birthday, May.20th!



  7. Lily on Friday May 17th, 2013 at 08:26 PM

    Hello, David. I hope you had a wonderful birthday 🙂



  8. Fumie on Saturday May 18th, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback!
    I read your A-Z book several times but I still make mistakes which you explained the points in the book. How stupid I am!
    I am sorry that I didn’t remember your birthday.
    ☆Belated happy birthday!☆



  9. David on Monday May 20th, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    I wonder if my sentence was wrong because “struggle” was not an “action verb”. Or was it correct if I had said “I’ve been struggling to improve my vocabulary for years.”?

    It would have been okay if you had added “for years.”

    And thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes!