How can I improve my vocabulary

Expand vocabulary: easy-to-use exercises and methods for a larger active vocabulary

Expand vocabulary: why should we even do this?

A basic vocabulary of approx. 1,000 words is sufficient to be able to cope with brief everyday communication in a foreign country. On average use we as native speakers up to 16,000 words in our active vocabulary. The number of words that we do not use but understand very well amounts to approx. 50,000 words (passive vocabulary). The German language has so much to offer for us speakers: The total size of the German vocabulary is estimated at around 300,000.

It is obvious that a large vocabulary is about more Language power and language effect helps and that rhetorical potential of the speaker multiplied. If we expand our basic vocabulary and have an extensive vocabulary, we speak more precisely and differentiated, more convincing and engaging.

The psychological law of the decreasing stimulus effect says: "A stimulus decreases in effect with constant repetition". The thirsty person tastes the third glass of water far less than the first. This law applies not only in life, love, art and passion, but also in the style of speech.

The more vocabulary we actively have available, the easier it is for us to change perspective in the everyday persuasion: How does my counterpart speak? Which language images are important to him and which are not? A differentiated vocabulary is also helpful for one's own thinking experience: If we assume that language filters and “translates” our thoughts, a differentiated vocabulary is a prerequisite for certain cognitive performance with a high level of abstraction.

Expand vocabulary: how does it work?

Take the task of “personal Vocabulary expansion“As a long term project. Nobody will be able to tell you when you will be working on yours Speech muscle can adjust again. Because you've finished training. At this point you will also find words like “task, work ...” because that is exactly what it is: training and work. Sometimes a little uncomfortable, some days time-consuming, maybe even annoying. But once started, you will gradually notice how your new word-consciousness also has an effect on your self-consciousness.

You can use the following tips and suggestions intuitively, i.e. always practice when it occurs to you, when time permits or you are in contact with people who will be happy to support you in your treasure hunt. It is better if you approach your personal project in a well-planned manner by creating a Reading list put together, plan time for reading, speak to a trustworthy learning partner, etc.

Deepen your active use of the word in a professional rhetoric seminar or training. Here you will learn to give your words more impact and to speak goal-oriented.

Expand vocabulary: exercises

Exercise I: using synonyms
Become the Word collector. Find alternatives to your standard worn-out vocabulary. So you eat. Aha. Or what else do you possibly do: gobble, munch, enjoy, indulge, eat, eat, nibble, indulge in something, nibble, nibble, devour, stuff into it .... Think about which others Atmosphere you can createjust because you're using a different verb.
You can expand your personal basic vocabulary very quickly.
And just as there is little point in gaining muscle mass by watching fitness videos on the Internet, it is of little help to search the list of synonymous words online. Go for a walk in your own chambers of thought and write down the alternatives you have found. When you are at the point where you can’t think of anything, despite a lot of brooding, only then can you look online and add.

Exercise II: Puns
In the playful use of the word, an extension of our vocabulary falls off the side. Solve crossword puzzles, play Scrabble, answer small word tasks: How many 8-letter spices can you think of? How do you describe your neighbor? Superstitious, worried, charming, stupid, simple-minded, ...... What is the opposite of idle? Opposite of rough?

Exercise III: Read, read, read aloud!
Non-fiction, biography, novel: It doesn't matter, the main thing is that you change the genre from time to time. (As a historical novel lover, you'll soon get to this one very quickly Linguistic world familiar. So that you don't stay too strong in the world of doublet, armor and thalers, you can change once). Ideally, you should read up on a wide variety of topics. Read the texts aloud to yourself.

Exercise IV: The magic three: three words a day
If, while reading or in a conversation, you stumble across a word that you spontaneously locate in the area “I know, I never use” (i.e. your passive vocabulary is addressed), then write this word down on a sticky note along with two others. Take this piece of paper with you in your everyday life and resolve to say these three words in a suitable place during the day or in a specific conversation. Let your three words come to life by saying them, putting them on the soundtrack. And in the evening you check your note: Have all three words pronounced?

Exercise V: Rephrase
Hemmingway was famous for his short sentences. Thomas Mann for his long. Both Nobel Prize winners appreciated each other anyway. Try a short text, one Rephrase the sentence: You speak the same content once in a Hemmingway and a Mann sentence.

Exercise VI: Summarize demanding texts
Make a conscious decision to choose texts that you may find difficult to understand or a bit cumbersome. And now "Translate" the key message of the text in your words. Speak your summary out loud to yourself - even better to someone you are talking to. How to get feedback. To put it in understandable terms? Something missing?

Exercise VII: Speak precisely!
The auxiliary verbs “haben”, “sein” and “werden” simplify everyday language, but unfortunately also deprive it of expressiveness. Polish your language and make them more precise by using as little of these auxiliary verbs as possible.

Exercise VIII: Learning on the model
Do you know someone like that who you love to listen to and who has a large vocabulary? Who you hang on your lips spellbound because you have so much fun with his / her choice of words? In which you mentally repeat the spoken sentences because they are formulated so ingeniously? Yes? Then you will be happy in the first step and in the second step you write: A special word, a precise formulation, a clever sentence. It is important not to leave it at that, but to use the words found in this way at the next opportunity. Not once, but several times. This is how the new word solidifies.

Improving vocabulary: what for?

Words carry weight and strength. They create joy and moods. They are magic and magic at the same time. If we expand our vocabulary with targeted training, we automatically expand our thinking skills as well. If we think and speak more flexibly, we automatically become too more flexible can act. The basis for this is a new understanding of our own Word awareness. By making our own Speech pattern discover.

Just listen to yourself. Listen to yourself in a casual conversation with friends and neighbors or in a tough meeting with colleagues. And listen attentively inwards when “it” speaks within you, you are conducting an inner dialogue. Which linguistic patterns do you like to use? How many “plasticizers” (actually, maybe, already, somehow) do you notice? In which language worlds do you move?

Neurolinguists have developed what is known as the “framing theory”. In order to understand images of language, our brain looks for an interpretation frame (= frame) in which it can assign the word metaphors. The brain activates experiences and stored knowledge (these can be emotions, smells, visual memories). The Associationsthat arise in the process can influence our thinking.
This awareness of the power of language has found its way into our everyday linguistic life:
Hospital - Health Center
Problem - - the task is ...
Care allowance - - Herd bonus
Apprentice - - trainee

The idea behind it: Positive language images generate positive evaluations. And vice versa. If we work on our vocabulary, we will find new linguistic images faster and easier and be able to use them flexibly and appropriately in our everyday communicative life.

Communicate confidently with the Speech Equalizer®

Imagine you are at a mixer. Here you will find controls that you can easily slide into a high or low range. Up and down. These controls represent your choice of words, sentence structure and tone of voice. At this mixer you are your director for yours own language effect: If you move the slider up, you will create a positive speech effect. If you position the controls in the middle, the speech effect is neutral, in the lower area you achieve a negative effect.

In everyday business you decide what effect you want to create. Would you like to create a relaxed basic atmosphere or should the other person hear a warning shot? Will you present purely factual facts or do you want to inspire and motivate? Should the spark jump over? Before the interview, make it clear which basic mood should prevail. And with what formulations you can specifically achieve this goal. Stay flexible in terms of language.

The speech equalizer® to expand vocabulary - examples

Negative language effectNeutral language effectPositive speech effect
I can not do this.I have no experience in that.I practice this.
I feel very bad.Today is not my day.I'll be fit again soon.
It doesn't work that way.

This is one possible way. What else are there?
You always come up with such strange ideas!This idea surprises me.What alternatives do we have?

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