Learning Vocabulary Expands Perception

The thing people don’t get about vocabulary is that doesn’t just give us more options in conversations; it actually widens  the range of things we can perceive.  If we don’t know the word “sycophant,” for instance, then we have no way of recognizing one when you see one.  Once we know the word and its meaning, however, we immediately gain the ability to  spot sycophants when we see them.

The same is true for billions of other words. If we have an “intuition” that something is there, but no concept or name for it, then we won’t know what we are looking at. The most we are able to do is relate it to something or some word we do know, by saying something along the lines of “it is sort of like…” When we learn vocabulary, we are able to put names to our intuitions. Every new word we learn enhances our perception and enriches our experience of the world immeasurably.

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