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Want to improve your vocabulary?

February 27, 2006

Do you sometimes get tongue-tied when it comes to beginning/ holding a conversation?

Is communicating your ideas a challenging task?

Maybe, you just need to improve your vocabulary.

BPO training expert Nasha Fitter offers this advice: "Increasing one's vocabulary is a lifelong process. I understand that it can be frustrating because the process is long. Don't give up."

Read on for Nasha's tips and solutions.  

Nasha Fitter is the CEO of Fitter Solutions, a communication and training company. She is an expert in vocational and communication skills management for BPO and service-based organisations and conducts private classes for individuals. She is deeply involved with the upliftment and development of rural youth through basic education, vocational training and entrepreneurship, and writes for a variety of publications. She has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

This is Rajendra. I am software engineer. I have been working for a company for almost two years. Presently. I am on bench with hardly anything else left to do but for my personality development.  I would like to utilise this time properly by learning communication skills.

I am used to reading books, novels, magazines etc. But whenever i try to speak out I become over-conscious about my grammar and try to frame correct sentences. This hampers my fluency and I end up in speaking wrong. Please suggest me how to overcome this problem.

-- Rajendra Shardul

There are a couple things I would suggest. First, you may be reading lots of books and magazines, but are you paying close attention to the language? When you read, try to analyse how sentences are constructed and the vocabulary that is being used. 

For example, in the last sentence of your e-mail you asked: 'Please suggest me how to overcome this problem.'

The slightly better way to say this is: 'Please suggest to me how I can overcome this problem.' These are the types of nuances you will only pick up if you read closely. 

Next, read magazine passages out loud and record yourself. Read them at a slightly fast pace. Then, slowly, listen to the recording while following the written passage. You may notice that even though you were reading (and not speaking freely), you left out words and even changed certain words around. These mistakes are most likely the same ones you tend to make while speaking extempore.

Last, after reading the passage, formulate and record your own version of the passage. Listen to your recording, compare it to the passage in the magazine and start pinpointing where your sentence formation and vocabulary is suffering.

I am from India. I have a question. My name is anandbabu. I recently got a call centre job and I have done well in my interview.

My problem is one day I could talk very fluently in English but the other day I am simply stumbling. My mother tongue is Tamil. I don't know why am I facing this problem. Your reply will be of immense help to me.

-- Anandbabu

Don't worry, this happens to everyone. 

On certain days, we are verbally much more articulate than others. 

In my own experience, I have found that if a few days pass where I don't read quality magazines or books, my ability to eloquently communicate decreases.

Language development is an ongoing process so make sure you are constantly reading and improving your English skills. 

I've been incessantly trying to improvise on my vocabulary, but my efforts proves to be futile. I do read good business magazines. I opted a method of listening and implementing the words in the regular conversation. But of no use. Everything gone vain. 

My problem is that I cannot use right word at the right time. At the time of conversing with someone, I try to recollect words to use but I fail to recapitulate. It's been already more that three years that I am persistent in reading books and implement the same. But I don't think that I improvised on vocabulary. Request you to suggest few swift methods so that I could recollect and use vocabulary while I am talking to anyone. 

-- KK

Increasing one's vocabulary is a lifelong process. I understand that it can be frustrating because the process is long, but don't give up! 

First, expose yourself to different forms of reading, not solely business magazines. It is important that you read good books. 

Next, when you come across a word you don't understand, first try to figure out its meaning from the way it is used in the sentence. Seriously think about it for a few minutes. Then, look up the word in a dictionary to understand its exact meaning.  Although this is an annoying process while reading, it serves to be very effective. 

Last, if you are really serious about improving your vocabulary, keep a list of words you don't understand and continuously quiz yourself. 

You need to consistently keep reviewing the same words to really remember their meanings and incorporate them in your daily speech. Coming across a word once or twice and looking it up is just not enough.


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  • Share your comments

     What do you think about the story?

    Read what others have to say:

    Number of User Comments: 19

    Sub: Wrong Pronounaciation

    hi nilesh here working in reputated company as call Coordinator i having the problem in pronouncing the word.I m from convent medium but from childhood ...

    Posted by Nilesh

    Sub: Problem in understanding and speaking English

    I am working in a company as steno. My problem is that while communicating with English I could not speak very speedily. I understand English ...

    Posted by S M Ansari

    Sub: Hi

    I am a software developer working with a leading company. My problem is I am not going to speak fluently. I tried a lot of ...

    Posted by Jitendra Bhatnagar

    Sub: Improve my english

    Hi iam Naziya working in Jss SGSY Special project( Social Worker) my english Knowledge is very poor and i cant speek in english with others. ...

    Posted by Naziya Begum

    Sub: spoken english

    Well frankly speaking, try to speak first of all slowly and then push the tempo. The either way I can suggest you is that go ...

    Posted by Jishiv


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