A person has a special attitude to the word. It is generally accepted that the word is the source of knowledge.
With the help of words, we satisfy the natural curiosity and exchange information. It is very interesting to know their interpretation and it is simply necessary to orient in their world.
Using the language, people exchange sounds by means of speech, that is, they communicate, talk, and correspond. And words and sentences are the main elements of the language, they express concepts and thoughts. Without the knowledge of words and understanding of their meaning, it is impossible to build sentences, express your thoughts and transfer them to each other. A word that has reached consciousness can induce a person to act.
It is known that the limited vocabulary is a serious obstacle to communication. The graduates of the school have a vocabulary from 1500 to 4000 words.
The dictionary of a person, who likes to read and has a decent education, expands to about 8000 words. You can also increase the vocabulary by solving and creating crossword puzzles. And this is our main topic.
Crosswords are very popular today. All solve them, children and adults. These puzzles, invented in the ancient world (tasks like crossword puzzles were found in excavations of ancient Roman cities in England and the infamous Pompeii), have become more popular since then.
But in general, it would be interesting to know when the first crossword puzzles appeared. The earliest example of this verbal game is the 25-letter acrostic of Roman origin, found on the wall in Cirencester (England) in 1868. But it was just an accidental episode in history. 3 countries contest the right to be called the motherland of crosswords: England, the United States and South Africa. The British consider M. Davis the inventor of crosswords, who often published them in the London newspaper. In America, the first crossword was published by journalist A. Wynn in the newspaper "New York World", December 21, 1913. Readers liked the experiment, and his verbal fun began to be printed in different editions.
In South Africa, the first crossword was drawn up in prison. A resident of Cape Town V. Orville, becoming the culprit of a car crash, was landed in jail for 3 years. To pass the time in the prison cell, he thought of writing letters into the rows of square stone slabs with which the floor was paved. Then he transferred the words to paper, gave each of them a mysterious definition and sent it to a local newspaper. Readers filed up the editorial office with requests to continue the unusual game. The history holds back whether the inventor was released ahead of time, but this fact is known: when he left the prison, his bank account accumulated a considerable amount of fees.
This epidemic overtook Europe in the twenties. With the advent of computers, the creation of crosswords was put on the conveyor.
There are numerous varieties of such popular entertainment. They differ in the form of the drawing, in the principle of the choice of words, in their themes, in the way of guessing, and so on.
These verbal puzzles are used in radio and television programs, competitions and championships are held to compose and solve them. Today it is already difficult to imagine a newspaper or a magazine without an indispensable checkered drawing, and many publications are fully dedicated to them.
Crosswords allow you to simultaneously recall the forgotten knowledge and acquire the new one. The meaning of this game resembles a quiz with a hint. Crosswords are useful for everyone, as they expand horizons, help better orient in the constantly increasing flow of information.
Solving them you train memory, sharpen intelligence, it teaches to work with reference literature, stimulates interest in deepening knowledge, develops the ability to bring the matter to the end and, most importantly, promotes people's communication, and this is "the first joy," according to the French writer, the military pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery. It requires a certain amount of perseverance. Sometimes you have to make several attempts, apply for advice to friends and use dictionaries, encyclopedias, reference books that are available in any library.
Success in this business does not come immediately, but gradually. If we search for answers to another crossword, then we have a new useful intellectual passion.
When solving a crossword, we ask our friends for help. Someone better understands sports, someone music, someone literature, and these questions are the best occasion for easy communication. It is a good tool for relaxation, reducing nervous tension. Longtime fans of such puzzles say that they are more interested in what they do not know and use this hobby for memory training.
Many psychiatrists consider crosswords to be the gymnastics of the mind. Firstly, there is no informative monotony here, because ordinary ones, nonthematic, switch the activity of our brain from one sphere of knowledge to another with each definition. Secondly, the moment of the solution is often accompanied by reactions like "Eureka!", so the memory very steadily fixes new information, which is important. It is equally useful to make such puzzles. Despite the fact that you have to look through a lot of literature, the brain, paradoxically, rests, replenishing and enriching its "information department".
Crossword Puzzle and Learning English
And what about the connection between these two concepts?
Learning a foreign language is a system of processes different in content but equally important. Who will say what is more necessary: pronunciation or understanding? Grammar or vocabulary? It is impossible to do without some component and fully learn English. But once the components of the study are different, then the approach to them also differs. For example, what is the best way to expand your vocabulary? Traditionally, cramming is offered at schools. Learning the columns of words with translation in the next column. In modern educational institutions, the associative method of memorizing is used. Words are associated with images based on semantic analogies. But the most fascinating way to a vast vocabulary is the English crossword.
In the general sense, it is an intellectual game based on guessing the ciphered words and inserting them into special cells. The name of the game comes just from English, but its solution is not just a puzzle meant for native speakers. Solving the crossword, you entertain yourself and train erudition. Thus, we study English having fun at the same time.
Many popular personalities could not live a day without a crossword puzzle. But do we need it? Let us start with the use of this puzzle for the youngest.
The Use of Solving Crossword Puzzles by Children
You can start to solve such puzzles from the age of 4, although there are puzzles for three-year-old children in Japan.
Crossword puzzles for children were first invented in the middle of the last century, and already in the ninetieth, one began to publish collections of children's crosswords on a regular basis.
Children's puzzles need to be divided into two types. It is necessary to include entertaining questions for children of preschool and younger school age to the first kind. The second kind is the one that targets teenagers.
The division into two types is not accidental. The vocabulary of preschoolers is naturally inferior to adolescents’ one and it is necessary to create simpler crossword puzzles for them.
"Simpler" does not mean primitive. Answers to the most common game with words for children and adolescents may coincide, but the questions must be different. For children, puzzles with drawings and questions from fairy tales or other works that are oriented to their age will be more interesting.
The most amazing thing is that the compilers of such puzzles believe that it is much more difficult to create the one for children than to do it for adults.
What is their use for children? First of all, it is a memory training. After memorizing new words, invite the children to check them with a crossword. This is an effective technique for increasing the vocabulary, and hence raising the child's intellect.
Mental development of the child is a necessary part of the education of a versatile person. Crosswords can be compared with the study, but unlike the last one, the child more perceives the solution of this puzzle as a game. Thanks to this game, the child shows more perseverance, and the substitution of the study (in the classical sense of the word) with the game most effectively affects the mental performance of children.
When solving easy crosswords, the child trains and adjusts the brain to solve more complex puzzles in the future. This is especially useful for children who quickly get tired of lectures or exercises. But it is worthwhile to offer the younger group a rebus in English with answers and the learning process will be animated.
When a child grows up, and the vocabulary increases too, you can spend time solving crosswords with the whole family. This will not only help bring the family together, but also eliminate quarrels and conflicts. The thing is, as scientists from Harvard have shown, the superciliary and lateral cortex of the brain responds for solving problems and puzzles. It is these parts of the brain that people actively use during a quarrel. That is, if redirecting the work of the superciliary and lateral parts of the cerebral cortex from a quarrel to solving puzzles, then it is possible to reduce or completely eliminate conflicts in your family.
The game is the most natural state for a child and the favorite occupation. So, you do not have to persuade, nor additionally motivate the child to study: the motivation is laid in the task itself. But it is in your power to make it even more exciting and effective.
Bonus for Adults
Now we are actually talking about an alternative tool for learning a foreign language. Of course, it does not replace other proven methods, but it can be an important and effective addition.
So, what are its advantages for adults?
- Replenishment of vocabulary. This, perhaps, is the main task of such tasks. And the complexity of questions and the degree of encryption of concepts are relegated to the background compared with the opportunity to learn and apply as many words as possible. In this case, English crosswords with answers are not prohibited, because it is more important to expand vocabulary than to show miracles of general erudition;
- Workout to think in English. That is, you can think in your native language. But guessing English puzzles will be easier if you do not translate questions and answers, but immediately rebuild your thinking in English. This approach will increase both the speed and efficiency of problem solving;
- Growth of self-confidence. It is one thing to do homework and answer the teacher's questions, and quite another to guess the riddles. It will greatly enhance your self-esteem and confidence in your own abilities. And these feelings, in turn, will help achieve even greater success in learning.
Replenishment of the vocabulary of English in the game form is not only the entertainment, but also the truly effective method. It is good for both children and adults, and the difference between children's rebuses in English and the ones for older groups is not fundamentally different. Do not give in to the illusion that crosswords for children – it is too easy. Even looking at the picture and hearing the pronunciation of the word, you can be mistaken in its writing, so be careful when solving such tasks.
Classic games with words are written on paper. But, of course, this is not the most convenient option in the XXI century. In English lessons, you can use not only printed materials, but also English crosswords online. To do this, just go to one of the special websites.
There are many such sources on the network, so you will never get bored if you fall in love with these riddles. But do not forget to gradually increase the load. Because entertainment and recreation – it is fine, but the main purpose of the work is to replenish the vocabulary. So do not stay long at solving crosswords with answers. Complicate the problem, try new formats of puzzles (from verbal to sound, from questions to searching for antonyms, etc.). And, you know what? Some students are so addicted to this process that they begin to make such puzzles by themselves. Who knows, suddenly you will like it too?