Other bloggers have already written about having a notebook. You know, a notebook to write the grammar rules you learn, the list of words you may draw up, and so on. Now, let me give you a better idea. Let me tell you about a Lexical Notebook.
Don’t worry! A Lexical Notebook is a kind of personal dictionary that you compile for your own use. On that personal dictionary [your Lexical Notebook], you note down any chunks of language, collocations, idioms, common phrases, phrasal verbs, words, etc you may find interesting. Do not write any grammar rules on it. It’s a Lexical Notebook, not a Grammar Notebook!If you want to have a Lexical Notebook [I really hope you do], you have to learn how to organize it. One way to do so is as it follows.
The very first thing to be done is, of course, buy a small notebook (or a notepad, which is smaller). In my humble opinion, a notepad [caderneta] is way better. The choice is all yours! You can get the one you really like. The most important thing is that you have to feel comfortable with it.
Secondly, organize it in an alphabetical order. Separate 3 to 5 pages to one letter of the alphabet. Some letters – ‘k’, ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ – don’t deserve too many pages, because there aren’t many chunks or words starting with them [in Portuguese].
Third, start writing some words on your Lexical Notebook. Don’t write the word in English and then its equivalence into your language. Do the opposite! Note down the chunks in your language first and then in English. The example below takes into account speakers of Brazilian Portuguese:
- Se você não se incomodar – if you don’t mind
- Você alguma vez já foi a…? – have you (ever) been to…?
- Na minha humilde opinião, (…) – In my humble opinion, (…)
- … e assim por diante – … and so on.
- Uma vez na vida outra na morte – once in a blue moon
- Significar – stand for
All the chunks above should be written in the right place on your Lexical Notebook. I mean, in the right letter: S, V, N, E, U, S. Another tip: write an example or any curiousity about the chunk/word you write down. An example is “significar – stand for“. If I had to write it on my Lexical Notebook, I’d have it like this:
Significar – stand for
- example 1: What does “UN” stand for?
- example 2: UN stands for United Nations.
- curiosity: “stand for” is a phrasal verb and it is usually used as a reference to abbreviations.
This is a wonderful way to improve your vocabulary in English. It’s also a great opportunity to get yourself organized. If you want to know more about organizing the way you learn English and your Lexical Notebook read the book below [click on the picture to get more info about it].