Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Right Words

Ever read a book, or anything for that mater, and came across a new word?  
One you didn't recognize or know how to pronounce quite right?  
In a word, 

 Usually I skip over them and gain the meaning of the word from the context of the sentence. While that usually works reasonably well, I think I've lost a lot of the specific meaning certain words give by playing a guessing game with their definitions.

I was writing something recently and had a hard time putting my thoughts down on paper as precisely as I wished to, so I pulled out the trusty (and slightly dusty) dictionary and started flipping pages.  I found that the meaning of the words I originally chose perfectly described what I was trying to say. They had so much more meaning than I ever would have guessed. 

Which made me think.

If I don't know exactly what it is I'm saying when I write,
do I really know what the author of whatever it is I'm reading is trying to communicate?
Kind of a strange thought.

Then I kept thinking.

Having a small vocabulary not only diminishes the ability to understand what we read or hear, but also can diminish our ability to effectively teach and communicate with those in our sphere of influence. (Which is a key part of our purpose here on earth. Matt. 28:19, Mark 13:10, Lk. 24:47)

The obvious answer to the issue is, expand your vocabulary!

Easier said than done.

 So, when I sit down to read do I keep a dictionary handy? Not necessarily, but I've become more aware of words that I do not know a precise definition to.  I am more apt to keep a list when I read and look up unknown words a bit later.  I then try to use them in conversation or in writing  (sometimes I have to look them up again.) to help cement their meaning in my mind.

Any other vocabulary building tips out there?

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