As someone who is most likely learning or learned English as a second language, you understand how crucial it is (or was) to memorize at least SOME words and phrases while you are learning.
Experts at the University of South Carolina have said that to be successful at things like attending English-speaking universities that you will need a large vocabulary.
And while there is much debate on the best way to learn a new language, there is concrete evidence that you have to establish a solid and vast vocabulary to be truly successful in speaking that second language.
Let’s take a look at how and why it is important to develop a large vocabulary in English to be successful because honestly, the more you can remember the bigger your vocabulary will be and the less you will run into the following problems.
You can’t remember a certain word. If you have ever run into a situation where you can’t remember or think of a word, you are among good company.
Most language leaners have probably run into this problem. It might be that you simply don’t know the word you are looking for in English or that you haven’t used it in a very long time. But either way, it is difficult and some times impossible to communicate if you can’t remember the words!
Alishia Biler, from the University of South Carolina said, "English has a wide vocabulary language. Unlike other languages that use more grammar or more word endings to express different meanings, English uses vocabulary to do that job… I think the suggested range for reading a newspaper is around 5,000 words but for students who want to be successful academically, let's say at a university level, they need to know somewhere around 10,000 words.”
She goes on to add that an English language learner needs to hear a word 10 times before they feel comfortable using it.
So what are some things that you can do to help yourself become more proficient and to enrich and expand your vocabulary?
A major way is to test yourself (link to article). The most widely suggested way of doing this is to create your own flashcards
A suggestion for these would be to have the vocabulary word on one side, then the definition in your native language on the opposite side. With repeated use, you will train yourself to remember more words and their meanings.
Regularly testing yourself will see how much progress you are making. The down side to this is that you will only remember that information, which you are memorizing. It is important to practice speaking in English so that you can better understand context and phrasing, instead of simply the word out of context. This is how you truly master learning English.