Need for vocabulary development

18 Aug, 2019 - 00:08 0 Views
Need for vocabulary development

The Sunday News

Charles Dube

WE have tried to help learners improve their language capabilities by giving them, among other things, basic spelling rules. Many learners have shown that they have vocabulary restrictions which hinder them from performing well in written exercises or questions directly asking them to explain certain terms. Compositions lack coherence as a result of restricted vocabulary. It is opportune time to show shared views on what skills are needed to ensure one extends his or her vocabulary.

Today we proffer various suggested ways learners can follow to develop their vocabulary. The obvious one is to make use of the dictionary. The dictionary provides you with correct spelling, meaning of the word, word class, that is, is the word a verb or adjective? The words also appear in alphabetical order making it easy for the learner to quickly get the words.

“The best way to learn about new words is to learn how to use a dictionary and then make use of it, regularly. It tells us how to spell words. It tells us how to pronounce them. It also tells us what they mean, the word classes they belong to and how they are used.”

Another skill used to extend vocabulary limits is through reading story books, magazines, journals and newspapers. As you read these, you will come across new words and new expressions. Again make use of a dictionary to get the meanings of the words. Keep a notebook on your person where you write new words and expressions that you come across. This is not the end, but, read these new words and expressions over and over again and make them your own. As you write compositions make use of them.

Make use of the thesaurus. A thesaurus is a reference book in which words with similar meanings (synonyms) are grouped together. Where resources permit schools can purchase just a few copies of the thesaurus dictionaries to assist learners. You need to be good at choice or selection of words. Thus, if you find yourself stuck for an interesting word you may use a thesaurus. However, you are advised not to become addicted to it. Vocabulary skills work hand in glove with comprehension. These cannot be separated if a learner is to pass English Language with good grades.

When we are given a comprehension passage, the objectives are clear. We need to read and fully understand the comprehension passage. We are expected to provide correct answers to the questions given. We are to show understanding of word meanings in context, find the main idea and above all, we are to distinguish between fact and opinion. How does this link with vocabulary skills discussed above? Vocabulary is the total number of words that you know in a particular language.

Understanding word meanings in context involves getting the meaning of words, not in isolation, but as used in a sentence or passage. Researchers tell us that the reader must not try to extract the meaning of a word from the word alone. The reader must examine the words which come before it and the words which come after it, to get its clear meaning.

Experience clues — sometimes you can guess at the meaning of an unfamiliar word simply because you have had a similar experience to the one the sentence or paragraph discusses. Sometimes, you can determine the meaning of a word by the way the writer describes the word by defining or paraphrasing it. At times writers provide examples of the unfamiliar word that helps you figure out its meaning. You can also discern the meaning of a word through comparison clues, where a writer compares or contrasts one word or point with another.

Sometimes you get the meaning of a word through the context of a sentence. The context of a sentence consists of the sentences before it and after it which help to make its meaning clear, therefore the sentence is not looked at in isolation. When you are given a comprehension passage you need to pay particular attention to word meanings in context. You do not necessarily have to consult a dictionary because in examinations none will be provided. You derive the meaning of words from the given passage. The passage dictates the meaning of the words.

Use of the hyphen is not as easy as most learners think. Learners always take them for granted. What are hyphens? Hyphens are those small dashes that join up words. Using them correctly can completely change the meaning of a word or sentence, so they are worth getting to understand their usage. There are four main places you can use a hyphen. 1. If the prefix ends with the same letter the word starts with. Examples: re-enter and co-operate.

If you add a prefix to a word starting with a capital post-Elizabethan. Use the hyphen to make the word clear especially if the word could be mixed up with another word that means something different. For instance, I re-covered the sofa. This means I recovered the sofa again. I recovered the sofa. This means I got the sofa back.

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