Vocabulary Improvement Technique #4 - Making a Word Personally Relevant Will Dramatically Enrich Your Learning
Making a word personally relevant will DRAMATICALLY enrich your learning. Studies show that our memories are actually geared to "forget" or "block out" information that isn't perceived as relevant. The same studies also show that your memory DRAMATICALLY improves when information is made PERSONALLY RELEVANT.
Make up your own examples
When you learn a new word, think of common examples in your own life where the word would apply. For example if you learn the word "belligerent" (which means "aggressive, confrontational, war-like") you could think of your annoying neighbor who constantly confronts you and makes aggressive remarks over the fence. Next time you are complaining about him to your friends, tell them that you are "fed up with your belligerent neighbor."
Define it in your own words
Another way to make a word personally relevant is to define it in your own words. When you look up a word, first read the definition (or definitions) provided in the dictionary. After you have closed the dictionary, try making up your own definition. For example, you could think of that belligerent neighbor and define the word in your own terms, perhaps describing him as "my neighbor who always seems to be eager for a war of words."