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  1. #41
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    Nah, just read stuff that challenges you intellectually. The vocabulary will probably be there too.
    This is exactly right.

    But I would very much like to see more of your dorky teacherliness.

  2. #42
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Actually I wouldn't recommend just reading dictionaries or spending your coffee break with a thesaurus cos then it'd just be a case of memorizing stuff and it's be so dull and boring you'd not only quickly lose interest but also retain less than you'd like to.

    Experience tells me that learning new words by coming across them repeatedly in context is much more effective. So there's reading more, true, but you've also gotta use the words to keep them in there, to turn passive into active vocabulary - words you know into words you use. You remember the ones you use much more.

    Spending time around people with bigger vocabularies means you can freely use your 'big words' without being accused of doing it to sound clever or impress people or make them feel stupid (as people with big vocabs often get accused of doing). It also means you learn more words from them and they from you.

    Failing that, try watching documentaries or movies that are more sorta high-brow. Together with the reading that should provide enough input both visually and aurally. But really the biggest leaps are made when you can use the words yourself in both writing and speech.
    Absolutely!!! If you just see a bunch of words and do not know how to use them, it is deadly.

    I come across this problem all the time with my students. (I am an English teacher). In an attempt to increase their vocabulary, they will sit there with a dictionary or electronic translator. I COULD SCREAM!!!! These things are only good IF you are ALREADY familiar with the words and just need to check. Otherwise, they are the devil in disguise.

    <---THAT!!! looks like that --->

    My suggestion, whether it is a foreign language or a native language, is to expose yourself to many different kinds of literature (scientific, historical, literary, religious, technical, philosophical, etc.) - basically whatever floats your boat - and read the words IN CONTEXT.

    BUT that is not all. Then TRY to use the words ON YOUR OWN in an ACTIVE way - to see if you are using them correctly. Then get a trusted friend who is (nearly) perfect in the language to correct the sentences. Once you are sure you are using them correctly, try to incorporate them into your SPEECH. Then you can avoid embarrassing mistakes like:

    "He made a really mute point."

    "She was always so loud and bolsterous - it made me not want to talk to her!!!"

    "The task was totally untolerable. Damn it - why couldn't it have been more enjoyable????"

    "They are totally unresponsible - I mean, couldn't they do their share once in a while?"

    "We are really too aggressive onto them; we should have been nicer."

    Soooo, if you get a trusted friend to read this, you can see the mistakes and avoid making them in the future.

    :-))) That's my advice.

    Oh, right, and another thing: A good way is also to speak to people who have an excellent command of the language. Then you also get exposed to words in a natural context. This is a good method for those who do not like to read allll that much. It's even better if it is a trusted friend because then you can ask the person if you have questions about words without embarrassing yourself. I mean: I'm pretty brazen - I will ask questions about words in pretty much any language, even my own, if I am not familiar with them. But some people are a little more reserved; then, it is better to ask a friend.

    Once you speak about certain things over and over again, the vocabulary becomes clear.

    A dictionary should be used ONLY if you want to look a word up really quickly. However, it should not be used as a bible to sit down and try to memorize vocab. (YUCK!!! Reminds me of the SAT!!!!!! *barf*)
    If you are interested in language, words, linguistics, or foreign languages, check out my blog and read, post, and/or share.

  3. #43
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Linguist View Post
    Absolutely!!! If you just see a bunch of words and do not know how to use them, it is deadly.

    I come across this problem all the time with my students. (I am an English teacher). In an attempt to increase their vocabulary, they will sit there with a dictionary or electronic translator. I COULD SCREAM!!!! These things are only good IF you are ALREADY familiar with the words and just need to check. Otherwise, they are the devil in disguise.

    <---THAT!!! looks like that --->

    My suggestion, whether it is a foreign language or a native language, is to expose yourself to many different kinds of literature (scientific, historical, literary, religious, technical, philosophical, etc.) - basically whatever floats your boat - and read the words IN CONTEXT.

    BUT that is not all. Then TRY to use the words ON YOUR OWN in an ACTIVE way - to see if you are using them correctly. Then get a trusted friend who is (nearly) perfect in the language to correct the sentences. Once you are sure you are using them correctly, try to incorporate them into your SPEECH. Then you can avoid embarrassing mistakes like:

    "He made a really mute point."

    "She was always so loud and bolsterous - it made me not want to talk to her!!!"

    "The task was totally untolerable. Damn it - why couldn't it have been more enjoyable????"

    "They are totally unresponsible - I mean, couldn't they do their share once in a while?"

    "We are really too aggressive onto them; we should have been nicer."

    Soooo, if you get a trusted friend to read this, you can see the mistakes and avoid making them in the future.

    :-))) That's my advice.

    Oh, right, and another thing: A good way is also to speak to people who have an excellent command of the language. Then you also get exposed to words in a natural context. This is a good method for those who do not like to read allll that much. It's even better if it is a trusted friend because then you can ask the person if you have questions about words without embarrassing yourself. I mean: I'm pretty brazen - I will ask questions about words in pretty much any language, even my own, if I am not familiar with them. But some people are a little more reserved; then, it is better to ask a friend.

    Once you speak about certain things over and over again, the vocabulary becomes clear.

    A dictionary should be used ONLY if you want to look a word up really quickly. However, it should not be used as a bible to sit down and try to memorize vocab. (YUCK!!! Reminds me of the SAT!!!!!! *barf*)
    We all learn to speak our language at home, naturally and intuitively.

    And we learn a relatively large vocabulary when we are very little.

    But we are taken out of our home and sent to a State Institution with specially trained staff to learn to read and write.

    Almost no one learns to read and write at home, but everyone learns to speak our language at home.

    So we learn to speak our language intuitively but we learn to read and write counter-intuitively.

    There are tremendous stresses placed on us to learn to read and write and naturally we seek to relieve these stresses by returning to the natural intuitive world of baby-hood.

    And so we are attracted to intuitive cults like MBTI. Where the history of MBTI is not taught, where jargon is used to induce conformity of thought and to befuddle the mind, and dissent is met with sheer nastiness.

    This explains why literacy and the printing press gave rise to the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century.

    It also explains the reaction of the Romantic Movement against the Enlightenment.

    It explains why religion reacted against the Enlightenment by declaring it a heresy.

    It also explains the reaction of the New Age Movement against the Enlightenment.

    And MBTI is part of the New Age Movement.

    So how bizarre to be asked how to improve your vocabulary on MBTI, when MBTI is itself a reaction against literacy, against the Enlightenment and against the counter-intuitive.

    But MBTI is in good company, as Islam is also opposed to the Enlightenment.

    But all this is too hard to try and understand. Better to bury your nose in the dictionary - it has a wonderful cast of characters and a riveting plot and will simply explain the whole world to you.

    I recommend Noah Webster's Dictionary.

  4. #44
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Soften your expectations on dusty concepts like grammar and singular word definition.


    I can knife a thought into you without worrying about verb confusion. Or, I can amphitheater an opinion.

    Breathe more. Let your fingertips exhale.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night View Post
    Soften your expectations on dusty concepts like grammar and singular word definition.


    I can knife a thought into you without worrying about verb confusion. Or, I can amphitheater an opinion.

    Breathe more. Let your fingertips exhale.
    Fan-bloody-tastic!

  6. #46
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Linguist View Post
    . . . .
    My suggestion, whether it is a foreign language or a native language, is to expose yourself to many different kinds of literature (scientific, historical, literary, religious, technical, philosophical, etc.) - basically whatever floats your boat - and read the words IN CONTEXT.

    . . . .

    BUT that is not all. Then TRY to use the words ON YOUR OWN in an ACTIVE way - to see if you are using them correctly. Then get a trusted friend who is (nearly) perfect in the language to correct the sentences. Once you are sure you are using them correctly, try to incorporate them into your SPEECH. . . . .
    I am totally in agreement with this first (quoted) paragraph. Try to diversify your reading... unless you're reading extremely experimental writers, focusing on even high-brow literature won't expand your vocabulary beyond a certain range... for instance, I was reading a book on agriculture and I learned the wonderful words: "biotope" and "biocenosis". Looking back at my former self, the one unsullied by such terms of ecology, I feel like I was incomplete somehow.



    Oh, and yes... do use the words... otherwise, even if you've a good memory, they'll languish and become artifacts of study and not 'living potentialities' of your expression.

    As for Night... yes... 'waving' can mean two very different things...
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  7. #47
    Senior Member millerm277's Avatar
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    Read, a lot, and figure out words that you don't know. (Some people can do that from looking around in the sentence, others need a dictionary) I read a lot of long books at a young age (Tom Clancy, John Grisham, and such around 6th grade), and as a result, gained a very good vocabulary. I don't see why it wouldn't work the same way at an older age.

    That was all it took for me to ace every "vocabulary" type test that came my way throughout middle/high school, and to get in the 700s on the english/reading portion of the SAT's.
    I-95%, S-84%, T-89%, P-84%

  8. #48

  9. #49
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    We all learn to speak our language at home, naturally and intuitively.

    And we learn a relatively large vocabulary when we are very little.

    But we are taken out of our home and sent to a State Institution with specially trained staff to learn to read and write.

    Almost no one learns to read and write at home, but everyone learns to speak our language at home.

    So we learn to speak our language intuitively but we learn to read and write counter-intuitively.

    There are tremendous stresses placed on us to learn to read and write and naturally we seek to relieve these stresses by returning to the natural intuitive world of baby-hood.

    And so we are attracted to intuitive cults like MBTI. Where the history of MBTI is not taught, where jargon is used to induce conformity of thought and to befuddle the mind, and dissent is met with sheer nastiness.

    This explains why literacy and the printing press gave rise to the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century.

    It also explains the reaction of the Romantic Movement against the Enlightenment.

    It explains why religion reacted against the Enlightenment by declaring it a heresy.

    It also explains the reaction of the New Age Movement against the Enlightenment.

    And MBTI is part of the New Age Movement.

    So how bizarre to be asked how to improve your vocabulary on MBTI, when MBTI is itself a reaction against literacy, against the Enlightenment and against the counter-intuitive.

    But MBTI is in good company, as Islam is also opposed to the Enlightenment.

    But all this is too hard to try and understand. Better to bury your nose in the dictionary - it has a wonderful cast of characters and a riveting plot and will simply explain the whole world to you.

    I recommend Noah Webster's Dictionary.
    Way to let your Ne out for a test drive!!! Luv it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel De Mazarin View Post
    I am totally in agreement with this first (quoted) paragraph. Try to diversify your reading... unless you're reading extremely experimental writers, focusing on even high-brow literature won't expand your vocabulary beyond a certain range... for instance, I was reading a book on agriculture and I learned the wonderful words: "biotope" and "biocenosis". Looking back at my former self, the one unsullied by such terms of ecology, I feel like I was incomplete somehow.



    Oh, and yes... do use the words... otherwise, even if you've a good memory, they'll languish and become artifacts of study and not 'living potentialities' of your expression.

    As for Night... yes... 'waving' can mean two very different things...
    Thanks for your support.

    Quote Originally Posted by millerm277 View Post
    Read, a lot, and figure out words that you don't know. (Some people can do that from looking around in the sentence, others need a dictionary) I read a lot of long books at a young age (Tom Clancy, John Grisham, and such around 6th grade), and as a result, gained a very good vocabulary. I don't see why it wouldn't work the same way at an older age.

    That was all it took for me to ace every "vocabulary" type test that came my way throughout middle/high school, and to get in the 700s on the english/reading portion of the SAT's.
    Agreed.
    If you are interested in language, words, linguistics, or foreign languages, check out my blog and read, post, and/or share.

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