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How to Create Vocabulary Lists

Learning the Vocabulary you Need to Succeed


Learning new words by creating vocabulary lists in English will help you expand your understanding and ability to communicate in English. There are a number of ways to go about this task including creating vocabulary trees, using various vocabulary charts, and other techniques you can find in this focus on vocabulary learning resources. In this article, I will present a method you can use to create vocabulary lists for specific professions, as well as test your spelling of the new vocabulary and finally practice using this vocabulary. Using this method to create vocabulary lists will ensure that you study using a variety of methods. This, then, leads to a better understanding, usage and comprehension of the terms you have created on your vocabulary list.

There are five steps to creating vocabulary lists for specific professions:

  1. Choose your topic / profession
  2. Research new vocabulary
  3. Mindmap the new vocabulary
  4. Practice spelling
  5. Write summary

Step 1: Choose your topic / profession

The first step is to choose your topic. For this article I will use different professions as my choice of topic. What field would you like to work in? Do you want to find out more about a specific profession? Choose a profession, and then you will be on your way to learning new vocabulary for that profession.

Step 2: Research new vocabulary

Research new vocabulary used in a profession by going to the Occupational Outlook Handbook supplied by the US government's Department of Labor. At the site, you will find a list of various occupation groups, from these you can choose individual professions. Let's take the example of the group of media and communication. I first click on the media and communication link, and then choose from a wide range of occupations. By clicking on an occupation (for example - announcers), I can browse through the tabs including: What they Do, Work Environment, How to Become One, and more. Each of these pages offers a treasure trove of new words about the profession to help you create your vocabulary list.

Step 3: Mindmap the new vocabulary

Once you have collected the new words into a simple list, use mindmapping software to arrange these words into specific groups. In our example, I might arrange a vocabulary list about media and communication for announcers by tasks they perform, equipment they use, professionals they meet with, and so on. Arranging vocabulary using a mindmap helps provides a visual overview of the vocabulary you would like to learn. This visual approach helps your brain understand the connections between the words and start to formulate sentences and deeper understanding.

Step 4: Practice spelling

Spelling is difficult in English! We all know that. Practice spelling and context by making a vocabulary list of all the new words, or a select group that are especially difficult. Visit Spellingcity.com to practice the spelling for free. You can cut and paste your list into Spellingcity and the site will test you by saying the word, repeating the word in a sentence for context, and then correcting your test. It's an amazing way to learn the spelling of new vocabulary.

Step 5: Write summary

As a final step, write a summary or overview of the profession you have chosen. This will take the new vocabulary list that you have created and help you memorize the words through usage. If you have a chance, try to also find a friend to whom you can summarize the materials. You'll find that the vocabulary list will come into active usage during this process.

Why is it important to use this type of method to learn new vocabulary? First of all, English learners should study a broad range of topics. However, as their English improves it becomes increasingly important to work on topics that are important to the learner. Using this method to create vocabulary lists will motivate learners as they focus on something that is important to them. This in turn will lead to a desire to use the vocabulary they have learned in an active manner. It's what we call a "Win Win" situation here in the United States - in other words, everybody wins.

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