I enjoy good vocabulary when I come across it and my working scope of words is not too shabby. When our kids went to learn “SAT words” they were underwhelmed because those supposedly challenging words were already words spoken in our home. But when I read and encounter new words ( like recently in Shantaram or the Priory of the Orange Tree) I look them up, enjoy them in context, and then promptly forget them.
Recently I was convicted when I realized that if I’m not actively trying to learn these new words and utilize them, then I’m not growing anymore, and that, to me, feels congruent to growing old and shutting down. Which needless to say, is not what we’re after! So how to get myself to gloriously expand instead of wax complacent on this front?
Enter the free app: Anki Pro. Ignore the stacks of pre-prepared flashcards they have on all sorts of things, and make your own in the app instead. It is easy to do. Then it will quiz you on your cards, strategically giving them to you in the best order for increasing your level of retention.
I’ve included words I know but don’t use like cataclysm, perfidy, reprobate, moribund, peripatetic, trenchant, endemic, cuckold, immanence, inimical, predation, caprice, unctuous, and proletarian.
But most of the flashcards I’ve been making are words I don’t know like caliginous, pleach, spume, prurient, excoriate, sangfroid, spuddle, brume, interlard, bifurcate, aegis, pluviophile, jejune, propinquitous, gelid, louche, labile, bowdlerize, expiate, sybaritic, vitrine.
The list goes on. Whenever I come across a word I’d never think to use or don’t know, I quickly make a flashcard for it– word on one side, and dictionary definition on the other, along with sometimes how it was used in a sentence. In those miscellaneous moments when other people play phone games, I go through my flashcards. The app gives you 40 per day to study.
It feels great to feel your world and word choice expanding! It is fun and it feels good to not just get to a place in one’s learning and then accept coasting. Maybe you want to join me in continuing to climb? What new words are you trying to use? How are you insisting on growing outside of your comfort zone?