Vocabulary problems… Just writing that makes me think of the Jay Z song… If you’re having word problems, I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems but vocab ain’t one.
Enough of that. Time to get serious.
As an English learner, you have probably experienced nervousness when speaking English. You’ve probably opened your mouth to speak, but no words came out (just a strange noise that didn’t sound like anything). You’ve probably told yourself (in your head) that you don’t know enough words to have a conversation or whatever.
If you can read and understand what I’m writing right now, then you can have a conversation (I’m 98.32% sure of it).
However, I strongly believe that we have two vocabulary banks in our heads for each language we know:
Our Passive Language Bank – basically words you recognise and probably understand if you see or hear them. You can use these words, but it takes quite a bit of effort.
Our Working Language Bank – this is language you can use AUTOMATICALLY (like, without thinking about it).
Now, everyone’s Passive Language Bank (PLB) is bigger than their Working Language Bank (WLB). This is just nature because we understand more than we can use.
However, the difference between the PLB and the WLB varies for each person.
Your aim should be to grow your WLB, not your PLB, because your WLB is the one that you use when you speak to people…
Now, I want to share this video with you. It answers a question from an English learner who thought he had a vocabulary problem.
Do I Have A Vocabulary Problem?
Over To You
So, you’ve learnt about PLB and WLB, and you’ve heard my advice. What do you think now about your vocabulary problem? What can you do to move forward?
Sam is the founder and creator of English For Study. He's also a lecturer in EAP/Academic English. Apart from making Academic English easy, he likes learning languages, lifting weights and eating good food.
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