Last night I had the privilege of spending the evening with one of my old college roommates (and very best friends!) Ruth Todd. As we were reminiscing about our days as broadcast journalism students, we got to laughing about our “nerdy” habit of picking a new word each day and posting it on the refrigerator in an attempt to increase our vocabularies. Ahhhh the exuberance of youth! ;-)
This got me thinking about how stagnant my own vocabulary has become over the years. As children we learned hundreds of new words every year, and by the time we entered first grade, most of us had vocabularies of several thousand words. By the age of 11 or 12, the rate at which we picked up new words began to decline significantly, and as adults, we’re lucky to pick up even 50 or 60 new words a year!
With more than half a million words in the English language it seems a shame not to keep learning some of them. So let’s talk about a couple of ways to do just that!
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#1 Learn a new word each day.
There are lots of daily word sites out there that can help us out with this endeavor…most of which are free and available through e-mail subscriptions.
- Merriam Webster Word Of The Day
- Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day
- Dictionary.com Word Of The Day
- The Learning Network (New York Times)
- The Free Dictionary Word Of The Day
#2 Take The Challenge!
If online vocabulary builders aren’t your style and you’d prefer something a little more concrete to work with….I have made up a list of words I found on the various sites above (that I did not know the definition of!) and made them into a PRINTABLE.
Just print the list out, tack to your fridge, bathroom mirror, wherever……and let’s all take one a day (just like the good ol’ college days!) and increase our vocabulary!
I’m calling it the 30-Day Vocabulary Challenge! Clever huh? Maybe by the end of the 30 days I will be able to think of a more creative name! :-)
I’m really excited to get back in the habit of actively learning, and a few new words in my vocabulary seems like a good place to start. Who’s with me?