VOCABULARY: MEANING AND HOW TO DEVELOP IT
Vocabulary is a list of words or phrases of a language, technical field etc usually arranged in alphabetical order and defined. It can be put as the words of a language a person knows.
HOW TO DEVELOP VOCABULARY
Context: New words are learnt from the context. The way the word is used or the circumstances in which the word is used. E.g.
There are no sidewalks; pedestrians had to be careful to avoid cars.
In the above sentence, the meaning of the underlined word can be derived from the context in which it appears. Sidewalks are intended for people to walk on. Therefore, one can guess right by saying the word ‘’pedestrian’’ has something to do with people on foot. A confirmation can be made by looking up the meaning from dictionary.
Part of speech: There are some words that can be used as different parts of speech. The meaning of such has to be stated differently. E.g.
[a] That is the seal of the state of Lagos.
[b] The notary sealed the document to make it official.
In the first sentence, ‘seal’ is used as a noun while in the second sentence it is used as a verb. Therefore, determining part of speech a word belong to will assist learners to get the meaning of a word.
Synonyms: These are words that have same meanings. A learner is expected to make a list of words that have the same meaning. By so doing, there will be varieties of words of same meaning .e.g.
Abundant——- plentiful, ample, copious
Ally ——- helper, accomplice, partner
Antonyms: Another way of developing one vocabulary is by writing out words and its opposite meanings. Some of them are formed through prefix and suffix. Prefixes are words added at the beginning of words to change their meanings while affixes are added at the end of words to change meaning as well. e.g.
Careful—-careless = SUFFIX
Homonyms : Words that have same spellings and sounds but different meanings can be studied by students in order to expand their vocabulary. e.g.
Ditch—a narrow channel, ditch—abandon.
Head—part of a body, head—leader.
Clear—easy to see, clear—make tidy.
Homophones: Vocabulary can also be developed by studying words that have the same sounds but different spellings and meanings. E.g.
Key—used for opening door, quay—place for loading and unloading ships.
See—look at, sea—big expanse of water on which ships sail.
Rain—water from the sky, reign—govern.
Latin Prefixes and Roots: English has borrowed words from almost all languages, but particularly from Latin and Greek. One needs to learn some of the common Latin prefixes and roots. The knowledge of these words will expand students’ vocabulary.
Latin Prefix Meaning
Ad- to, towards
Latin Root Meaning
8. Greek Prefixes and Roots: There are some words in English that are derived from Greek
words. The knowledge of these words would be an aid to vocabulary development. Some of
these words are:
Greek Prefix Meaning
di-,dial- between, across
Greek Root Meaning
Compound Words: Compound words are two separate words that are used together as one. If these compound words are separated, their meaning are expanded e.g. letter-box—letter[ a written message], box—-a container to hold something, man-servant= man-male sex, servant= one who serves another.