Studying English Words by jonghyuk


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									                      Studying English Words

                                                                Jong-Hyuk Nah

    To study English word elements, specifically the prefix, suffix and root of

Greek and Latin, is an effective way to conquer about 80 percent of the whole

English vocabulary. For the students and readers who want to enlarge their

English vocabulary, I would like to suggest some guidelines for improving their


    First, be sensitive to new words, but do not feel frustrated or confused

with them. Face and challenge them. When you come to find a new word or a

word you have looked up several times but you still don't remember, don't be

silly and be a fool. It is natural. You are not a memorizing machine; you are

not a 486 computer, much less 586. Instead, you had better make friends with

some monolingual dictionary of English and always keep it day and night. Just

put a mark outside the word in your dictionary and memo less than a couple of

sentences explaining the context in which the word is used and why you have

to look it up again. Usually, one sentence will be OK.

    To say it again, what I mean by challenge is that you read some writings

and new words greet you sometimes merrily and sometimes sadly, you hear

them from natives speaking English, then you will think about what you read

and listened and about their meanings. This is part of what I call Five Focal

Steps for gaining new vocabulary and good command of English in general. (1.

reading, 2. listening, 3. thinking―in English linguistically and culturally―4.

writing, 5. speaking). Somebody, a good listener I believe, advises us this way:

"expose as many senses as possible to a new word―see it, say it, hear it, write

it." And I would like to affix and append one more step, "Think it." What you

read and hear is not everything. There are so many lives (feelings, conflicts,

and thoughts) and histories (personal, social, and linguistic) in them.

Therefore, you should think about them―why they say so; what they mean;

and how you should respond to them. You should think about them in English,

not in Korean, in Japanese, or in Chinese. You should understand them

culturally as well as linguistically. After that stage, use them, those new words,

in your writings and conversation. In most cases, writing journals in English is

recommended. It is composed of five levels in accordance with students'

command of English. Use one or two new words you studied in your journal.

Look at the following journal model:

Topic: My Today and Network

Level One: List words describing what you did (what you saw, heard, spoke,

and wrote) and, of course, what you thought.

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