Building a Better Vocabulary : The Great Courses: Linguistics

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Kevin Flanigan
  • Series: The Great Courses: Linguistics
  • 18 hrs and 48 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

What is the difference between specious and spurious? What does the word bombast have to do with cushion stuffing? Would you want to be called a snollygoster?
The hallmark of a powerful vocabulary is not simply knowing many words; rather, it's knowing the exact word to use in a specific context or situation. A great vocabulary can enhance your speaking, writing, and even thinking skills. This course will boost your vocabulary, whether you want to enhance your personal lexicon, write or speak more articulately in professional settings, or advance your knowledge of the English language. For anyone who has ever grasped for the perfect word at a particular moment, this course provides a research-based and enjoyable method for improving your vocabulary.
Building a Better Vocabulary offers an intriguing look at the nuts and bolts of English, teaches you the etymology and morphology - or the history and structure - of words, and delves into the cognitive science behind committing new words to long-term memory. By the end of the 36 enjoyable lectures, you will have a practical framework for continuing to build your vocabulary by discovering new words and fully mastering the nuances of familiar ones.
If you are an avid reader, you may have previously encountered some of the words in this course. But even the most voracious reader will be surprised and delighted by these eye-opening lectures, which delve into the building blocks of the English language and reveal intriguing new nuances to words you thought you knew well. These lectures will kindle a passion for the process by which words are created and for the beauty of the words you read, speak, and hear every day.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Delectable, Illuminating and Nonpareil

Would you consider the audio edition of Building a Better Vocabulary to be better than the print version?

Great in-depth 300 page course material which helps make the new words become more like second nature.


What did you like best about this story?

Over the past 4-5 years I have purchased over 70 audiobooks from Audible. Build a Better Vocabulary is in my top 3 favorites; I've listened to it twice already and I only purchased it three weeks ago.

It's great to learn a logical process for growing a better vocabulary. The course uses an organized and entertaining method to deliver exactly what is says on the tin. Other vocab courses I've purchased are bland and unrealistically expect that spelling and repeating a random word, then giving a brief definition, will do the trick.

Learning many of the Latin and Greek affixes and roots has helped me immensely. Whilst many of the words are just too pretentious to be used in every day life, many are not and many more of the new words are just plain fun to say. Snollygoster lol. However, over and above that, the biggest thing I've gained from the course (coupled with an even stronger love for words) is a structured method for building a better vocabulary. That is, the five step process, using games such as connect two, connecting the new 'dim word' to words that are second nature, having pet words and much much more.


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- Mark

Entertaining and Informative

Where does Building a Better Vocabulary rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It is the only one of its type that I have listened to, and it is therefore the best. It introduces Kevin Flanagan's technique for learning and remembering a large number of words by offering context, etymology and related stories to fix words in a context within your memory. The system works, and into the deal, you get an enjoyable lecture from an interesting and enthusiastic educator.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Building a Better Vocabulary?

The stories which acted as memory-aids for 3 similar latinate -id adjectives.


Which scene did you most enjoy?

Each chapter covers similar groups of words which are similar on what they describe. Ingenious.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me laugh a few times.


Any additional comments?

Well worth listening to. Much better than listening to the facile, banal nonsense of the average radio DJ.

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- Matthew A. Vaughan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-02-2015
  • Publisher: The Great Courses