Public servants will be well aware when starting a new role that there are often quiet a number of unknown acronyms and unaccustomed terms which need to be learned. When you first hear these terms it’s almost a foreign language. You try to comprehend as best as you can but due to a limited vocabulary in this area, you can only retain so much of what is being spoken about. I think it’s similar to when introducing my children to new words and expressions.
People who read constantly have far greater vocabularies than those who don’t. I was not a reader in my adolescent or early adult years. I much preferred listening to music or having the tv on then reading a book. When I had a change of occupation six years ago, it became obvious that my understanding of many fundamentals was extremely lacking as I had focused on only several areas rather than trying to become a generalist in many basic fields.
Thankfully, the Master of Knowledge in my household is an expert in wordsmith and grammar as she has been an avid reader for the majority of her life. I have a big bookshelf in my room of all the books she has read – I haven’t read them but it’s a nice looking shelf! Whenever I’m at home and working on something and a word I don’t know appears – I ask her. We used to play a game where she would teach me a new word each day to help me improve my vocabulary. These days, I try to stump her with new words I come across but it’s rare that she doesn’t already know them. With the wealth of knowledge at our fingertips with the internet and dictionaries, there is no excuse for not becoming a more learned person.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to get through one to two books per month. While much of what I read is quickly forgotten, I manage to hold on to some great ideas and lessons and add them to my every vocabulary. It is far easier retaining information when you understand what is being discussed. This is why exposure, practise and asking questions are so important. Practise repetition to attain familiarity with whatever your learning and remember things may start slowly but if you put the effort in, you’ll soon be understanding as well as everyone else.
Learning the origins of words is another great way of figuring out what words may mean even if you haven’t heard them before. I use a learning application called Elevate but there would me many tools out there to assist in this manner.
Don’t let language hold you back from doing what you want. Today is the perfect day to start