Frontier Word Reports

Frontier Word Reports

Congratulations! Some of you embraced the Frontier Word project and acquired new words that are now enjoying life in your lexicon. (A quick review of the Frontier Word project: A way to expand your vocabulary in which you are the one who chooses the words to work on. You collect a few words that are almost known to you, and you work at learning and using them.) You’ll note the word “work” in this explanation. This is key.

Some of you reported on your experiences, and I pass on these comments:

– I thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t come across any words I don’t know.

– I looked up some words but I forgot the meanings.

– I couldn’t find ways to use the words I found, and then I forgot about them.

– The words I picked weren’t very common.

– I liked knowing the words I picked, but I’ll never use them.

These are all pretty common barriers and easily overcome. Some tips:

– Don’t stretch to find “really hard words”.

– Work on only one word at a time if you aren’t using or remembering.

– Abandon the word if it isn’t fitting into your life.

– Pick the kinds of words that fit your speaking style.

Let’s focus on the last one for now. Here’s something to do that might help you get going. If you like adjectives, and who doesn’t, you might work just on words to describe stuff. If you speak adverbially (she said slyly…) you might select words to describe all your fun verbs. And if verbs excite you (thrill you, delight you, absorb you, invite you….) that can be your word group.

Here’s the exercise:

1. Think of the words you use now to describe something positive:

Lunch was……..; The restaurant was …….; That new salad is……..; Her dress is……..; It was……..to see her again.

(If you filled in the blanks with any of the following: amazing, awesome, great, terrific, really good, this exercise is for you. And even if you reached for Fantastic, you could benefit from this work-out.)

2. Listen to yourself for a few days and note the positive descriptors that you’re using.

3. Write them down.

4. Stop using them.

5. Find some new ones! Listen to other people and note the words they use, although this is usually not a good source since we seem to hang out with people who use the same words we do, or snoop around in places where words hang out: dictionaries, on-line, books. Dial up your reading material a notch. Try the Brits. They do some nice things with English.

6. Use those new words! Done!

This exercise is helpful because by focusing on a specific area of your speaking practice you’ll be more likely to use the new words. Picking positive descriptors is a good place to start because you frequently say nice things, right?

If your answer is no, maybe frontier words isn’t the right project for you to start on, but whatever frontier occupies you right now, do let us know how you’re doing.

We love to wallow around in words- yours and ours!

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