A person may dress very fashionably and present a very good appearence, but the moment he or she begins to speak their level of education is evident. A good example of this is depicted in George Bernard Shaw’s musical comedy, My Fair Lady. When we speak our use of the English language is one thing we cannot hide.
Years ago a major university gave the graduating class an examination in English vocabulary. The test scored the graduates into groups of 5% from highest scores to the lowest. At regular intervals during the next twenty years the group received questionnaires asking them about their occupations, incomes, and so on. Without a single exception, those who had scored the highest on the vocabulary test were in the top income group, while those who scored the lowest were at the bottom of the income groups.
Interesting, isn’t it? Litterally millions of people are being held back in life simply because they’ve never taken time to learn their own language.
Readers Digest published an article by Blake Clark entitled, “Words Can Work Wonders for You.” He wrote: “Tests of more than 350,000 persons from all walks of life show knowledge of the exact meanings of a large number of words accompanies outstanding success.” Clark went on to explain about tests developed by scientist Johnson O’Conner. The results of those tested dramatically illustrated the importance of vocabulary. The tests were given to executive and supervisory personnel in 39 large manufacturing plants. The results showed that everyone tested rated high in the basic aptitudes that go with leaership. But there were definite and dramatic differences between the scores of floor bosses and top executives. Top executives scored an average of 236 out of a possible 272, while managers averaged 168, superintendents 140, foremen 114, and floor bosses 86. In virtually every case vocabulary correlated with executive level and income.
Clark went on to say; “An encouraging fact to keep in mind is that when we master one word, we find that we have added several others. It’s as if the new word is a nucleus of thought around which whirl numerous related ideas that we now come to understand. Deliberately learning 10 new words, we pick up probably 90 more without realizing it.”
Right now, take a minute to mentally rate yourself on your knowledge of your language. Rate yourself as “excellent”, ” good”, “fair”, or “poor.”
If you rate yourself as excellent, you are in the top 1%. If you rated yourself as good, you are in the top 5%. If you rated yourself as fair or poor, get a good book on English at your local bookstore and begin a self-study to improve your use of the language.
Impress on your youngsters the importance of knowing their language and the importance of expressing themselves through use of a good vocabulary. Teach them that language is one of the keys to achieving success in any field of endeavor. Children with the best vocabularies get the best grades in school. A person with a good vocabulary can say in one word what otherwise will take a full sentence. A good vocabulary gives you the ability to cut to the chase and get to the heart of any problem. English is the richest and most extensive language on earth and has about 600,000 words while other languages have about 200,000 words. Our language more than anything else determines the extent of our knowledge. A person’s knowledge and his vocabulary go together. It’s almost impossible for one to be greater than the other.
For now, Earlynn’s just sayin’ your ability to use our language will determine your leadership level, so challenge yourself to lifelong vocabulary growth.