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How many words to speak?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
309 messages over 39 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 38 39 Next >>
patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 3037 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 297 of 309
25 September 2014 at 12:18pm | IP Logged 
Personally I am of the belief more words are better, but this came across my RSS feed this morning and I thought others might enjoy it:



The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know About the All-There-Is by Roberto Trotta.

This is an astrophysics primer discussing black holes, the big bang, quasars etc written using only the most common 1000 words in the English language.

An article about the book can be found here:

http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/24/the-edge-of-the-sky- roberto-trotta/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_ca mpaign=Feed%3A+brainpickings%2Frss+%28Brain+Pickings%29

Edited by patrickwilken on 25 September 2014 at 12:42pm

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Serpent
Octoglot
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Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 298 of 309
25 September 2014 at 5:42pm | IP Logged 
About the test again... didn't anyone feel that the many definitions were harder than the words themselves? even in English stuff like this is just stressful for me:



and this is little better.

Also I wonder whether those who speak Spanish and French find the following words clearer than their definitions:



Why am I bringing this up? well, because it's basically what the native speakers will have to do if you use circumlocutions. If your 300 words are technically enough but don't allow much precision.

BTW, I suspect that part of the issue is that for most of us, speaking implies being able to speak with monolinguals and only having to prepare in advance if the conversation is above your level. you have to be able to converse on most level-appropriate topics without preparation. Admittedly this gets more blurry if you use tutors for practising conversational skills. But I hope we all agree that you should be able to speak with someone who's not your tutor and isn't willing to be one during a specific conversation.

Edited by Serpent on 25 September 2014 at 5:45pm

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Bao
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
tinyurl.com/pe4kqe5
Joined 4270 days ago

2256 posts - 4045 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 
 Message 299 of 309
25 September 2014 at 6:21pm | IP Logged 
Serpent, I just did the English test to see if I agree with you, and what irritated me more was that there were descriptions referring to a secondary meaning of a word, not the most used one. For example, I would think that 'wind' as in moving air is a word that is in the top 5000, but not 'wind' as in 'to wind up' - and that was what they asked for. Those aren't even homophones ...

I don't think I agree with your main point though, because paraphrasing in a conversation is not the same as a test writer having to choose the shortest possible description of a word which does not include a tautology.
On the other hand I think paraphrasing is used best as a strategy to improve your language by getting the native speaker you are talking to to help you, and not as your main strategy for carrying on a conversation.

Edited by Bao on 25 September 2014 at 6:22pm

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 300 of 309
25 September 2014 at 6:56pm | IP Logged 
I agree that the illustration is exaggerated, but if you focus too much on the multifunctional words, the danger is quite real imo.
Yeees wind annoyed me too. And I entirely agree that paraphrasing is a better strategy for learning than for just communicating. It can certainly hinder communication when speaking English isn't an option.
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kanewai
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
justpaste.it/kanewai
Joined 3393 days ago

1386 posts - 3054 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Marshallese
Studies: Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 301 of 309
25 September 2014 at 9:50pm | IP Logged 
EMK: With the right Anki deck, it looks like you could be reading Harry Potter
with a nothing but a popup dictionary after 50 days of Assimil and 50 days of Anki,
starting from scratch. Not bad! If it doesn't work, I promise you a full refund for this
post. :-)


It works. No refund needed. It actually explains why I can read complicated literature
but still get shit scores on vocabulary tests.
4 persons have voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
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9078 posts - 16471 votes 
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Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
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 Message 302 of 309
25 September 2014 at 10:11pm | IP Logged 
I totally agree with Serpent. Those circumlocutions are more confusing than helpful - which is one good reason for my aversion against monolingual dictionaries. And how do the test makers score the natural answer to "dizer algo para ayudar o ensinar" (in Portuguese), which would be "aconselhar" rather than the noun "conselho"?

And now that we are discussing vocabulary tests: about 4 pages back or so PatrickWilken gave the link to a set of tests at itt-Leipzig.de I did the first five words in each block in the German test and wasn't really in doubt about any of the words because I got the first couple of letters in each one served on a silver platter. OK, I didn't strike the bell at 100% so I must have hit a couple of wrong keys, but when you are supplied with parts of the words you are asked to produce the test isn't a pure test of active vocabulary - it is just as much your passive vocabulary that is tested.

Edited by Iversen on 25 September 2014 at 10:24pm

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 3037 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 303 of 309
26 September 2014 at 12:07am | IP Logged 
BAnna post this link on my blog, but in case other's haven't seen it I thought I would post it here. Accepting the various caveats that go with such a simple Internet test, there are some really interesting results and cool graphs that have come out of the very large data set the researchers have accumulated.

What is remarkable to me is how much reading helps, and for how long in vocabulary acquisition.

The Results

The English Test

If anybody knows of an equivalent in German I would love to know.

Edited by patrickwilken on 26 September 2014 at 12:07am

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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 5101 days ago

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 Message 304 of 309
26 September 2014 at 12:49am | IP Logged 
Iversen, my screenshots are from the leipzig tests too. These were multiple choice so you had to pick what is close enough. I think the whole point is that the correct answer isn't always the part of speech implied by the definition.

Edited by Serpent on 26 September 2014 at 12:52am



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