V is for Vocabulary


Vocabularies are funny things. In Swedish, vocabulary is called ordförråd which literally means “word stockpile” or “word storage” so I always imagine a vocabulary being a sort of large cupboard that you put words into.

With my Arabic studies, vocabulary has always been my biggest problem (other than, you know, actually having the guts to speak). I’ve had no problems with grammar, but expanding my vocabulary has been a very slow process. Lately I’ve been using a site called Memrise to study Lebanese vocabulary. It’s been going pretty well, and it’s been fun. The other day I said to myself “hey, why not expand my English vocabulary too?” and so I started on a course called “100 Sexy Words”. I’m really enjoying it, particularly because this particular course seems to mostly feature words that I have in my passive vocabulary and could understand if I read them in context but that haven’t made it into my active vocabulary and that I’d be either unwilling or unable to use in a sentence or properly define. I’m not one of those people who think that it’s always better to use a more unusual synonym of any given word (on the contrary, really), but I do think expanding one’s vocabulary is important and educational. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with using a word with a little more zing once in a while!

Memrise is a really cool site, by the way, and their system for repeating vocabulary is really neat. You should totally check it out. Especially if you want to learn cool new words like masticate.

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