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  • Hi. This is Rebecca. Let me start this lesson by asking you a question. Which of these two

  • exercises is easier for you? Let me go through them with you.

  • "Chaos means __________." Something. Fill in the blank. Okay? In other

  • words, they're asking you here: the word "chaos" means what?

  • Or second question:

  • "Chaos means a) sadness b) disorder c) illness".

  • Okay? Think about that for a second. So, which of these two questions was easier for you?

  • Okay? If you're like most students, you will probably say that this question was easier

  • for you, because you had a choice of something. And here, you actually had to think of the

  • answer. All right?

  • So, let me explain why that is the case. Here, in the fill in the blank question, you were

  • asked to remember the answer. When you're trying to remember a word, you're using your

  • active vocabulary. In English, like any other language, you have two kinds of skills. We

  • have productive skills and receptive skills. Productive skills are what we use when we

  • are speaking and writing, because when we speak and write, we have to remember words

  • in order to do that. Right? And receptive skills are what you use when you're reading

  • or listening, because when you do either of these activities, you just have to recognize

  • the word, so you have to recall what they mean, but you don't have to think of them

  • by yourself. You just have to recognize them.

  • So the vocabulary that's involved here on this side is your passive vocabulary of being

  • able to recognize things. The vocabulary that's demanded here for speaking and writing is

  • your active vocabulary, which you need when you're doing these activities and which you

  • needed here in the fill in the blank answer. Okay? So, this is true not only in English.

  • It's true in every language. You have a productive... You have productive skills and receptive skills.

  • You have an active vocabulary and a passive vocabulary. And, in all languages, people's

  • passive vocabulary is always much, much larger than their active vocabulary. That's why you

  • can read hundreds of books and understand thousands and thousands of words, but you

  • may not actually use those words yourself, even in your own language and certainly in

  • English. So, next, I'll explain to you how to develop this active vocabulary.

  • So there are many ways to improve your active vocabulary. Today I'm going to show you one

  • way. All right? So, what I've done is written a lot of vocabulary on the board, and what

  • I'd like you to do is to take a theme, a vocabulary theme. What do I mean by a vocabulary theme?

  • I mean an area, such as here, I've taken education, here I've taken religion, and here I've taken

  • business or work. All right? And then you divide it. Let's say you have a piece of paper

  • or you could do it, you know, on... You could do it written or you could do it in your mind,

  • and you divide it into categories, such as: in the field of education, you want to think

  • of people, you want to think of places, and you want to think of actions which are the

  • verbs. Right?

  • So you could start by just doing it in a simple way and see if you can come up with at least

  • three examples. All right? Three examples of people in education: "teacher", "student",

  • "principal"; places: "school", "college", "university"; actions: "study", "teach", "learn".

  • Okay? In the area of religion, if we're talking about different kinds of people, people of

  • different religions: "Muslims", "Christians", "Hindus"; places in the area of religion:

  • "mosque", "church", "temple"; actions could be: "pray", "bless", "believe". Obviously,

  • these are not the only examples; I'm just showing you how to do it. In the field of

  • business, for people you might put: "manager", "employee", "supervisor"; for places: "office",

  • "factory", "department"; and for actions, things like: "work", or "recruit", or "promote".

  • Okay?

  • So, even though it seems like a really simple exercise, what will happen is as you start

  • to try to remember from your active vocabulary... Right? Words related to certain themes, you

  • might find that you can't actually think of too many examples in a particular area, and

  • then you'll be able to know and diagnose what your weaknesses are.

  • That: okay, I need to learn more business vocabulary,

  • but when it comes to education I'm okay, or vice versa. Okay?

  • Now, there are many ways you can expand on this activity. So one way is to expand on

  • it horizontally. What do I mean by that? Well, I gave you three categories; people, places,

  • and actions, but you could add more categories. You could add, for example, things, what things

  • do you find in educational places? What problems or issues are involved in the field of education?

  • Now, why is this important? Why is it important to develop a vocabulary of a particular field?

  • Because let's say you're writing an exam, such as the IELTS or TOEFL, and you have an

  • essay topic given to you which is about education. Well, one of the ways you're going to get

  • higher marks is by using a lot of varied vocabulary about that field. So this is a way to check

  • where you stand and to expand on that vocabulary. So, as I said, you can choose new categories.

  • For example, if you chose issues when it came to business or problems related to business,

  • you might mention things like unemployment, or absenteeism, or stress. Okay? See how many

  • ideas and vocabulary words you can come up with related to those themes.

  • You can also work vertically. By that, I mean, instead of just taking three examples as I've

  • done on the board, you can take four or five, or you can just try to see: how many words

  • can I think of related to people in education? All right? Or people at work. Just make the

  • list as long as you can.

  • You can make it a kind of game for yourself. You can do this while you're standing in line

  • somewhere or when you're waiting for a bus, or something like that. You can just play

  • this game in your mind. All right. Another way to do it is to use more advanced cate-...

  • Topics, not categories, but topics. For example, here I used education, religion, and business,

  • but you could use history, or politics, or economics. Right? And this way, you would

  • have the same information regarding yourself. Where do you stand regarding vocabulary in

  • these many different areas? Okay?

  • As I mentioned, you could do this by yourself. You could also do it as a game along with

  • a partner. You could sit down and play a game to see who can think of more words in one

  • minute that have to do with education, people in education, or places in education, or actions

  • related to education. So you could make it a game. And, as I said, it's a really good

  • exercise to diagnose your own weaknesses so you will know which areas you need to develop

  • your active vocabulary in. And as I said, you need active vocabulary in order to speak

  • and write more effectively. All right?

  • If you'd like to do a quiz on this subject, please visit our website: www.engvid.com.

  • You could also subscribe to my YouTube channel for more lessons like these.

  • So good luck with your English. Bye for now.

Hi. This is Rebecca. Let me start this lesson by asking you a question. Which of these two

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A2 US vocabulary education active productive receptive related

The Secret to English Vocabulary – How to remember more

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    Don posted on 2015/03/20
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