As we’ve talked about in previous posts, one of the best ways to quickly expand your vocabulary is by looking at a word’s etymology. This does two things: first, it helps you better understand the word, because it makes it easier to understand what the word means when you analyze all the parts of the word. For example, the word root -logy is common in many words, and once you learn that it comes from a Greek word meaning “study, discourse, discussion” you’ll quickly recognize the meaning of all the words containing that root. That leads to the second advantage of including etymology in your vocabulary study: you’ll learn more words more quickly, because you’ll be able to identify the root meanings. Let’s use four words ending with -logy to illustrate this, and to discuss four other easy vocabulary tricks.
Another great way of learning multiple words at once is by looking at a word’s genealogy (Latin genus, or “family, origin”). By exploring all related words you’ll get a complete set that will be easy to learn and remember, for only a little more time and effort than it takes to learn one single word. For example, don’t just learn the word break, but also look at words like unbreakable and breakfast at the same time.
Theology (Greek theos, meaning “god”) is the study of religions, or systems of belief. Sometimes you need to focus on believing in yourself in order to keep your spirits up and continue working towards a goal. That’s especially important with vocabulary building, which can sometimes be frustrating. Keep in mind that you’ll get a lot of self-confidence from having a good vocabulary, and that will give you the confidence now to move forward with your study program.
Because it often seems like there’s never enough time to do anything, sticking with a schedule is very important for good progress in any study routine. Chronology is a word meaning “the order of events as they occur” or “the study of events as they occurred” – the Greek god Chronos was the original “Father Time.” Look at your schedule and make sure there are regular English vocabulary sessions on it. Try to spend at least 15 minutes a day on vocabulary practice.
Above all, don’t forget that exploring to find new words is a great way to keep your interest in vocabulary active. Just like scientists in the field of cosmology (Greek kosmos, “the universe, the order of the world”) point their telescopes into the unknown looking for new galaxies, you can keep your eyes looking outwards to always be ready to discover new vocabulary words. Keep studying!