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Strategy for studying vocabulary tiet an le

Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

Vocabulary strategy
It goes without saying, vocabulary is the most important ingredient for those who want to study
English. However, “how to study vocabulary efficiently and effectively” is still a hard difficult question for
many students who begin to study English. This short paper provides my own experience in studying
vocabulary as well as some other useful methods concluded from experts.
For you to easy to follow, I classify the content into 3 questions below:
1) How to learn?
2) Which should to be learned?
3) How to remember?
Now, let ‘s starts with the first question:

1) How to learn?
For almost all of the students in Vietnam, studying vocabulary by rewriting hundreds times for
one word is the most popular method in schools. In my opinion, this kind of technique is the worse method
to learn vocabulary. Why?
Most of my students said to me that they almost forget all the words after one month or even
one week or sometimes one day. If you are using this method, please stop and try to follow my suggested

ones at least once time.
First, vocabularies have the relations, and it is always easier for you to understand a lot of words
by understand the relations of the words. For example, when your friend mention someone else they
usually mention the relation of them for you to easier to recognize: “Do you know Tuan? He is my cousin,
he studies in class 10A4, …” or something like that. When you study words, you should follow this rule,
and of course, studying English is not exactly the same with knowing about people.

1a. Simple group methods:
For the beginner grouping methods is the easiest way to learn basic words (I personally define
basic words by giving some examples: table, chair, car, cat, dog, apple, ruler, …
Using the simple group methods:
You can classify the basic words into:
Animals: cat, dog, …
Furniture: table, chair, …
Fruits: apple, pear, …


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

School things: ruler, pen, …
By doing this, the words can have the family themselves, and when you remember “ruler”, you
might be familiar with “pen” or the others.
This method can be more useful when you apply mind-map method as well as basic drawing technique:

Figure 1: Mind-map and basic drawing methods (Le Tiet An, 2016)


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

As you can see from the pictures, clothes have the family, animals have other complex family,
when the words have relations, it would be easier for you to remember. Drawing also helps you to
remember the meaning of the words, it is the better than defining the long sentence. In addition,
according to scientists, pictures are easier to remember and stay in your mind longer than texts are.

1b. Family words method:
When it comes to longer words and more complex words, the simple group methods are not


suitable any more. Therefore, family words methods take the place to help you. Have you ever considered
about some words: “complete, completion, completely” belong to one family? If you know about the
family, you just learn one word, you can remember the others by understanding the relations. Now I will
show you how to use family word methods:
First we learn prefix and suffix: all of them mean something:

Prefix
un- : không unhappy, unchanged, unlimited, unknown, unlike, unclean
im-: không, impossible, immeasurable,
in- : không inactive, invisible, incalculable
non- : không : nonessential, non-toxi
pre- : trước preview, predict, precaution
mis- : sai misunderstand, misuse, misbehave
re- : lại, nữa react, regain, reread, rewrite
dis- : tách khỏi, không disconnect, disable, disadvantaged
over- : trên, quá overactive, overambition, overweight,
op- : ngược lại opposite, oppose
in- : vào trong inside, in-box, in-car, in-group, include, internal
ex- : vượt quá, vượt khỏi,ngoài: outside, exceed, extend, exchange, exclude, external
inter- : giữa, trong số(liên kết) interact, international, interbank
de- : tách khỏi, xuống deduct, dehydrate, debase
mono- : một mình, một monologue >< dialogue, monocle
com- : cùng nhau, với combat, combination,
sub- : dưới subtopic
ad- : về, về phía advance,


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

pro- : về phía trước, dành cho progress, pro
trans- : ngang qua, vượt khỏi transit, transport, transparence,
epi- : dựa trên
You need to update by yourself from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefix

Suffix:


-s third person singular present



-ed past tense



-t past tense



-ing progressive/continuous



-en past participle



-s plural



-en plural (irregular)



-er comparative



-est superlative



-n't negative

Derivational suffixes can be divided into two categories, namely class-changing derivation and classmaintaining derivation.[5] Derivational suffixes in modern English include:


-ise/-ize (usually changes nouns into verbs)



-fy (usually changes nouns into verbs)



-ly (usually changes adjectives into adverbs)



-ful (usually changes nouns into adjectives)



-able/-ible (usually changes verbs into adjectives)



-hood (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)



-ess (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)



-ness (usually changes adjectives into nouns)



-less (usually changes nouns into adjectives)



-ism (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)



-ment (usually changes verbs into nouns)



-ist (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)



-al (usually changes nouns into adjectives)


Le Tiet An


email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

-ish (usually changes nouns into adjectives/ class-maintaining, with the word class remaining an
adjective)



-tion (usually changes verbs into noun)



-logy/-ology (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suffix

Suffix with people:
-ist
art – artist
chemistry – chemist
dentistry – dentist
guitar – guitarist
journal – journalist
linguistics – linguist
lobby – lobbyist
novel – novelist
nutrition – nutritionist
orthodontia – orthodontist
optometry – optometrist
pharmacy – pharmacist
philanthropy – philanthropist
piano – pianist
psychiatry – psychiatrist
psychology – psychologist
racism – racist
reception – receptionist
science – scientist
therapy – therapist
-ian


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

beauty – beautician
comedy – comedian
electricity – electrician
grammar – grammarian
guard – guardian
history – historian
library – librarian
magic – magician
mathematics – mathematician
music – musician
obstetrics – obstetrician
pediatrics – pediatrician
physic – physician
politics – politician
rhetoric – rhetorician
statistics – statistician
surgery – surgeon*
technical – technician
vegetable – vegetarian
veterinary – veterinarian
*The suffix for surgeon is spelled -eon but pronounced the same as the -ian suffix.
-ess
actor – actress
adulterer – adulteress
author – authoress
duke – duchess
god – goddess


Le Tiet An
launderer – laundress
lion – lioness
master – mistress
poet – poetess
priest – priestess
prince – princess
seam – seamstress
steward – stewardess
-ar/-er/-eur/-ier/-or/-ur
Ø – ambassador*
astronomy – astronomer
Ø – author
bar – barrister
cash – cashier
contract – contractor
Ø – doctor
fight fire – firefighter
dig grave – gravedigger
grocery – grocer
keep house – housekeeper
jewelry – jeweler
law – lawyer
radiography – radiographer
restaurant – restaurateur
retail – retailer
senate – senator
translate – translator

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

treasure – treasurer
Ø – tutor
Source: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/esl-lesson-plans/59221-teachingnoun-suffixes-names-for-people/

Now take the look how to use prefix and suffix in learning family words:
Example: Begin with the basic word: “Act” using the rule, you can easily recognize other members
of its family.
Act (basic words)
Action (noun- hành động)
Active (active- năng động)
Actively (adverb- một cách năng động)
Activity (noun – hoạt động)
Actor (noun people- diễn viên nam)
Actress (noun poeple-diễn viên nữ)
React (verb – phản ứng, làm lại)
Inactive (adjective – ngưng hoạt động)
Activate (verb- kích hoạt)
Activist (noun people – nhà hoạt động)
Activator (noun things – máy kích hoạt)

Educate (verb- giáo dục)
Uneducated (adjective- mất dạy)
Education (noun- giáo dục)
Educationally (adverb- một cách giáo dục)
Educational (adjective- thuộc giáo dục)

Compete (verb- cạnh tranh)
Competition (noun- sự cạnh tranh, cuộc thi)


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

Competence (noun- tính cạnh tranh)
Competitive (adjective – thuộc cạnh tranh)

Now, I confidently state that: I can make the sentence: “learn one understand
ten” become true! ^^
When you read, listen, you can use this technique to guess the words you don’t know. This
method saves your time. Your productivity in studying will be double, triple. If you have now 1000 words,
after one month practice this method, your vocabulary might be 3000 words, 5000 words.

2. Which should to be learned?
Vocabulary is almost unlimited; you need to understand that you cannot learn all or remember
all the words. Therefore, choosing the words suitable to your English level is very important.
The easiest way to learn suitable words might be from books, which classified beginners,
intermediate, advanced words for IELTS, for example.
My experience, you should also learn basic words first by following the rule:
“Learn the words you don’t know, which appear many times when you do the test, first!!!” Tiet An
For example, when you read the test: you don’t know the words: education, diploma, technique, tsunami,
teacher, urban, ram
Words
Education
Diploma
Technique
Tsunami
Teacher
Urban
Ram

How many times you see Classification
5
Basic
4
Basic
2
Rare
1
Rare
10
Basic
2
Rare
1
Rare
Figure 3: Classification basic words

Affection your understanding
High
High
Low
Very Low
Very high
Low
Very Low

Based on the number of times you see the words; you can easily choose what words should be
learned. If you are the beginner you should not learn “Ram”, “tsunami”. Please, save your time to learn
“teacher, education, …” first. They are basic words for you, help you to improve your English most at your
level.
Another good way is from the good dictionary. From my experience, Longman dictionary
is one of the best that I have ever had. You should discover it yourself. Here, I just show you how to use
this dictionary to classify words:


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

Figure 4: Classification by Longman Dictionary
You can see that, behind the word “complete”, there is two symbols: S2, W1. “S” mean speaking
and “W” mean writing. 1, 2 is the level of frequent the word is used. 1 is most frequent. So, W1 means: it
is very often used in writing (basic words for writing). Therefore, you should learn this word.
Keywords technique (From: ielts-simon.com)
Why I put keywords technique here, because it is the most important thing if you want to improve
your score quickly in IELTS test, and it will help you to find the most necessary advanced words easily.
In every reading test, listening test, writing test. The test-maker try to find out the interesting
things from the paper, the dialogue or monologue… After that, they use synonyms (đồng nghĩa), antonyms
(trái nghĩa) double negative (phủ định kép), phrase related to the interesting things to make the questions
(almost all kinds of questions)
If you learn the frequent words that the test-maker use to do the questions, it will help you to do
the test easier (easier to find position in the text, familiar with the answer, have ability to understand the
questions, have ability to paraphrase, …) The tables below show how the learners can create the table of
keywords technique from the test.


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

Figure 5: Keywords technique from Simon
So, the most important of these tables are
Synonyms:

extended = longer

Antonyms and negatives: no longer
When you do reading, listening or even writing, you should try to create the table like these and learn
by your heart. Try and I can sure that, you can quickly see how it change your score.

3) How to remember
For meanings: As I showed you the simple drawing methods, mind-map, it is a good way to remember
the meanings. In addition, color is also very important. That is the reason why you like using highlight
pens.
Another suggestion method is: funny definition. Like for example, “tomato” is your new word. I
define by drawing the girl I used to lo…e. Her face like a tomato. Drawing simple pictures of her is also


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

possible. You know, that kind of methods make me never forget the meaning of the word at the end of
my life. “ as long as I love you”
For spelling: One of the simplest way to remember words that I learned many years ago from the book
“Tôi Tài giỏi bạn cũng thế” Adam Khoo.
The words like “orange, house, mouse, language, etc.” seem to be difficult words for my students
to remember.
When I apply the technique of Adam Khoo, they become easier. You spell the words into your
mother tongue:
O/ran/ge

ho/u/se mo/u/se

lan/gua/ge …

Almost all of my students can remember the words easily, and they appear to never forget the
words. However, the problem with this method is that: it might affect the pronunciation of the child
because of they don’t realize about pronunciation. But for you, the older students, if you use the method
in the right way, the problem does not matter.
From my experience, I develop the method of Adam Khoo into the advanced technique. Of course,
it cannot use for all of the words, but at many times, it helps me to remember the spelling in the perfect
way. For example, I also easily forget the spelling of “firefighter, remember”. I use prefix, suffix and divide
the words into smaller words. By this I mean, we add more rule into the technique, such as prefix suffix,
and pronunciation.
Fire: lửa

fight: chiến đấu

Re: prefix lại

member: thành phần,

er: suffix chỉ người:

lính chửa lửa = fire/figh/er

gọi lại thành phần  nhớ lại = re/member

Sometimes it looks good, sometimes it looks stupid. However, with me, it doesn’t matter because
I can address the problem with the spelling easily. You know, your brain seems to remember the small
things better than the larger things.
Finally, I use pronunciation rule to remember spelling: When you learn how to spell the words in
the good ways, you can easily remember the words by some rules the words have:
You should learn carefully “International Phonetic” (phiên âm quốc tế). Because when you hear
or you speak the words correctly, you will have the letters in your minds.
For example: /u:/ in English usually presented by “oo” , “food”.
Understanding all kind of pronunciation rules, you will be the experts in remembering words.


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn


Le Tiet An

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

Figure 7: International Phonetic
Source:
http://kenh14.vn/kham-pha/bang-chu-cai-bi-an-giup-ban-phat-am-tieng-anh-sieu-chuan2015102512184225.chn
You should learn how to pronoun: “s”: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tieng-anh123/m%E1%BA%B9o-c%E1%BB%B1c-d%E1%BB%85-nh%E1%BB%9B-c%C3%A1ch-ph%C3%A1t%C3%A2m-s-es-ed-trong-ti%E1%BA%BFng-anh/582769095145929/
You should learn how to pronoun: “ed”: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tieng-anh123/m%E1%BA%B9o-c%E1%BB%B1c-d%E1%BB%85-nh%E1%BB%9B-c%C3%A1ch-ph%C3%A1t%C3%A2m-s-es-ed-trong-ti%E1%BA%BFng-anh/582769095145929/
You should learn how to pronoun silent letter: http://ppsvietnam.edu.vn/thu-vien/17-chu-caicam-trong-tieng-anh-hay-gap-nhat
You should learn how to pronoun long and short vowel: http://vnexpress.net/tin-tuc/giaoduc/hoc-tieng-anh/7-nguyen-tac-phat-am-co-the-ban-chua-biet-3315850.html

In Conclusion:
-

Group the words + mind map+ drawing
Family words: prefix + suffix
Basic words (comment words), advanced words (synonyms, antonyms) keywords
technique
Funny definition, separating the words, pronunciation.

LE TIET AN

email: sud2014_an.lt@student.vgu.edu.vn

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