Introduction to the word-a-day calendar
which can be used to improve vocabulary, comprehension, and literacy, and provide a command of the English language.
In 1975 I was suffering from numerous health problems which my doctors were not able to diagnose or understand. Essentially I was getting those pains when I leaned toward a desk to read or write. I therefore began to read medical books to find out the nature of those problems for myself.
However, as reading was causing me pain, especially abdominal pain, I was restricted to reading one word a day.
After a few months of reading a medical dictionary I discovered a condition called Da Costa's Syndrome where all of the symptoms matched my own. Also the typical physique of the patients matched mine as well. i.e. patients with Da Costa's Syndrome were typically thin and stooped, and they were generally sedentary workers, as I was. Nowadays the condition is called the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, although there are various causes and types.
While I was reading I found the medical language was difficult to comprehend, but then I found a list of Latin and Greek word bases which were used in combination to form medical words, so I began to learn those. For example micro means small and scope means to look at, so I could understand the meaning of the word microscope, and guess at the meaning of many other words containing micro or scope. Those word origins were listed near the front of Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary.
I was also testing my vocabulary by using the Reader's Digest Word Power test, and initially I thought that I was quite intelligent but could not understand why I was getting scores as low as 3, ranging to 7 out of 20. After learning one word a day for a few years I was averaging about 17, and then the monthly word power test words in the Reader's Digest were based on medical terminology, and I scored 20 out of 20 for the first time. I also read somewhere that the scores I was achieving were equivalent to a vocabulary of 40,000 which was the same as Shakespeare's; the greatest writer in history.
Of course there were only 40,000 words in the English language in Shakespeare's time and he probably knew all of them. When I did the test there were an estimated 750,000 words in the English language, and nowadays there are more than 1 million.
The important matter to consider is that I decided to put my method of learning into a calendar for other people to benefit from. It was used by the Australian and New Zealand public speakers organisation called Rostrum as their Australian 1988 Bicentennial product.
You too can improve your vocabulary if you use my method. i.e. by learning one-word-a- day, my way, you can soon achieve a vocabulary greater than Shakespeare's.
I cannot convince you of how valuable that has been to me, or motivate you to try it for yourself, but I can describe what I did and how I did it.
The rest is up to you. M.B. (author of The Posture Theory)