Perfecting your vocabulary skills

As a pet owner, I feel it’s necessary to be able to communicate with my cat. I’m not a crazy cat lady, nor would I go to the extremes of hiring a “cat psychic,” but like many animal lovers, I do like to be able to interact with another, non-human, animal. I’m also not one of those people who constantly talk to their pets, but my cat and I definitely have our own way of communicating. He’s been with me since he was less than 8 weeks old, and we’ve developed a mutually recognisable social language through repetition. I recognise the different sounds he makes and the ways he tries to communicate with me. For example, the sound that he makes when he sees a ladybird on the ceiling and he wants to chase it is much different to the sound he makes when he wants to play catch with me. In turn, he recognises my human sounds, when I say his name and various words, like “down” (when he’s somewhere he shouldn’t be) or “mouse” which refers to his favourite toy. We also recognise each other’s non-verbal communication, which helps with the emphasis of the verbal communication.

My point here is that repetition is key when learning new words. A Spanish friend who came to London to perfect her English would write down any word she didn’t recognise when I spoke to her, with both the correct spelling and the phonetic spelling, and then repeat it. The next time I would see her, she would use it in our conversation. Obviously, this works best when you have a conversational grasp of the language you are learning, otherwise you would be writing down everything!

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