The Importance of Vocabulary

Today’s frontier is knowledge. Brain has taken precedence over brawn; our physical struggle for existence had been replaced by intellectual struggle, and a knowledge of words has become a most valuable tool. The more vocabulary we possess, the more efficient are these tools of thought. With a good vocabulary, which indicates scope of knowledge, we an grasp the thoughts of others and be able to communicate our own thoughts to them.

As early as the 1930s, the HEL found a close relationship between a large, precise knowledge of English words and achievement in life. Worldly success, earnings and management status correlated with vocabulary scores. In follow-up studies of persons tested as much as twenty or thirty years ago, a limited vocabulary is proving an important factor in holding men and women back from achieving the position which their aptitudes showed they should have gained. The truth is that low vocabulary decreases the effectiveness of inborn gifts in any civilization.

Youth, with its idealism and enthusiasm, probably has always wanted to change the world. Perhaps there is only more evidence of this desire today. But those with limited vocabulary never can alter the world.

Frustration about inability to express thoughts in words too often results in physical aggressiveness. It is interesting to note that the Laboratory has found that the nation’s vocabulary level has been decreasing for some years, while crime has been increasing. Strong aptitudes and low vocabulary can spell trouble. This is especially true for those with high inductive reasoning. One in nine teenagers scores high in inductive reasoning but low vocabulary. With high vocabulary and inductive reasoning, law, diplomacy, editorial work and government can be outlets. Without vocabulary, the same aptitude gropes angrily for ideal forms of government, social justice and reforms, and may find expression in violence, protestations, an rebellions of many kinds in an attempt to realize hopes envisioned b this strong aptitude.

For any individual, a low vocabulary is a serious handicap. Ambitious and energetic persons can push ahead in their jobs just so far, but then they reach a plateau caused by low vocabulary. They never advance. And while youthful zest and high aptitudes can enable us to forge ahead despite low vocabulary, when we become mature the world expects us to know something and we are judged on knowledge rather than our possibilities. The world doesn’t see our aptitudes, but it pays for knowledge that can be seen. There is a relationship between the length of time a man stays with a job and his aptitudes, the money he makes and vocabulary. Laboratory studies show that at middle age the low-vocabulary persons are less


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An accompaniment, accessory, appurtenance, appendage, adjunct, something occurring or associated with something else.

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