Whoa! Do words matter that much? I was teased as a kid in school for "using big words" and "reading too much" (it was not fun being teased and taunted). I have a lifelong love of words and reading. I was not popular when I was growing up, especially when I would rudely "correct" people for using or pronouncing words inaccurately (so don't do this!). I am naturally biased to want to believe that all of the teasing had a silver lining and that there is a benefit to having larger vocabularies. That does not mean it is true, just that I would love for it to be true as it would make me feel better. So, as we discuss in many of our programs, what does the data tell us?
Why is vocabulary important (for my income)?
1) From E. D. Hirsch, Jr., a professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia, “there’s a positive correlation between a student’s vocabulary size in grade 12, the likelihood that she will graduate from college, and her future level of income. The reason is clear: vocabulary size is a convenient proxy for a whole range of educational attainments and abilities—not just skill in reading, writing, listening, and speaking but also general knowledge of science, history, and the arts. […] Simply put: knowing more words makes you smarter. And between 1962 and the present, a big segment of the American population began knowing fewer words, getting less smart, and becoming demonstrably less able to earn a high income. […]" (http://www.city-journal.org/2013/23_1_vocabulary.html)
2) Higher vocabulary ~ higher income (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/06/higher-vocabulary-higher-income/#.U9mYeYBdVmg)
How vocabulary affects your family (not just your professional and income opportunities)
3) From Stanford University, “Fifty years of research has revealed the sad truth that ....