A limited vocabulary limits one's effective intelligence

(a multitude of words, most of which are not known)

Words are obviously our primary means of communication

There are in English over half a million words, of which most Americans probably recognize fewer than twenty thousand. Those who rarely read and whose interests are narrowly confined may actively use a hard core of only a thousand words for ordinary conversation.

Obviously, no one can hope to master more than a fraction of the 125,000 words included in most abridged dictionaries, let alone the 600,000 plus words in an unabridged dictionary. Despite the limitations of our vocabularies, words are still our primary means of communication and a limited vocabulary places limits on our understanding. Language is equally essential for thinking, without which one has nothing to communicate. Before it learns speech, a baby can communicate no better than a puppy and often not as well.

Too many have impoverished vocabularies

Unfortunately, many adults have vocabularies that have not progressed much beyond the elementary school level; and while they have more experience, their communication and reception of ideas through language is so restricted as to impede them in the area of mature and critical thought.

For this reason, vocabulary is one of the main ingredients in intelligence tests. These are formal measurements, and a person is not necessarily more intelligent because he has had more formal education because we learn most of our vocabulary through other means than formal studies in educational institutions.

Most of our words come from the various media

Most learned people spend very little time studying dictionaries; instead, they work at their professions and hobbies. Did you have to consult a dictionary to learn such words as, "cinema-scope, transistor, carburetor, computer, internet, spam," or the latest teenage slang?

You probably learned these and many other words from conversation, newspapers, television, politics, science, hobbies, things that you observed or were interested in; just as a small child learns to say "water, more, ice cream, kitty," or "mamma" and "daddy" to express its needs, interests, or observations.

Varieties of experiences are important elements in expanding your vocabulary and understanding

The more you read, the more you study the arts and sciences, the more you work with car motors or radios or music or any other field of activity, the more you automatically pick up their terminology; therefore, a mature person whose vocabulary is quite limited is likewise limited in the scope of his or her interests and accordingly may appear limited in intelligence.

Despite the expansion of one's vocabulary via a variety of activities, there are times when we must focus on a specific word, or word groups, so we can understand and appreciate some of their complications based on evolutionary changes through the centuries and learn more about their current meanings and acceptable applications.

Take advantage of the special
vocabulary resources which are available at
this unique Word Info site.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

—Mark Twain