Debate and Discussion

standard word definitions
bravo1102 at 7:26AM, Jan. 5, 2011
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ayesinback
I guess the standard I'd like to see, which would require a terribly large database, would be a history of word definitions, an attempt to identify when a word came to have an additional meaning, or even replacement meaning, with ideally an example of usage in speech or writing that clearly demonstrates the shift.


Get the Oxford Unabridged. It has all that ad infinitum and some words have a single sentence for the definition and an entire column of origins and changes in usage. That was the dictionary my mother had. Needless to say it was a bit much for when you just needed a quick definition for that vocabulary test.

About your efforts to communicate with speakers of another language. I have two deaf/mute residents in the building I deal with a lot and I've learned to speak what I call “Harpo” a frantic and exaggerated mugging that gets the point across very well. It also helps with foreign language users that I have done pantomime.

I remember from my business writing classes the admonition “DO NOT USE LOCAL COLLOQUIALLISMS WHEN SPEAKING/WRITING WITH FOREIGN LANGUAGE SPEAKERS” So much of the language we may take for granted isn't taught in that English Class in Asia or Europe. I've had that experience with some friends who are Brasilian as well as Eastern Europeans who come up and ask what a phrase they heard on the TV means as it wasn't being used in the literal manner they had learned in school.

And there I was thinking I was a security guard not the Information Desk.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:34AM
Beelzy at 11:59AM, Jan. 30, 2011
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bravo1102
I remember from my business writing classes the admonition “DO NOT USE LOCAL COLLOQUIALLISMS WHEN SPEAKING/WRITING WITH FOREIGN LANGUAGE SPEAKERS” So much of the language we may take for granted isn't taught in that English Class in Asia or Europe. I've had that experience with some friends who are Brasilian as well as Eastern Europeans who come up and ask what a phrase they heard on the TV means as it wasn't being used in the literal manner they had learned in school.

And there I was thinking I was a security guard not the Information Desk.

And this is precisely why I advocate reading and watching native speakers' materials as the main method of learning a new language. You get to hear and read the kinds of stuff they would normally say; not some dumbed down textbook version that doesn't tell you anything useful, and for which you'll probably forget quickly.

Unfortunately, I found that doesn't work for Niederdeutsch though because the stuff people read in German is Hochdeutsch.
Pauca sed matura.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:16AM

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