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East of Eden by John S.

 Language Learning Forum : Books, Literature & Reading Post Reply
9 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
albysky
Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
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287 posts - 393 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, English, German

 
 Message 1 of 9
28 September 2014 at 10:52am | IP Logged 
I bought a copy of this novel and I have read so far about 50 pages , I can understand on average about 97
%, Some doubts have come over me though , at times the language seems to be either too formal or with
too much american slang (slug , take truck with ) . Overall it seems to be enjoyable ,but I wonder if it can
be the right novel to further expand my vocab seize , at the end Of the novel I should collect about 2500
unknown words . Here are some I have come across so far : wantonness , swale , to hone , take out after ,
sullen , malinger , noncommital, foaling mare , lace through etc . What is your opinion ?
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
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1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 2 of 9
28 September 2014 at 11:24am | IP Logged 
My strategy is simply to read, and not worry about it too much. If the words are useful they will come up again, and eventually you'll learn them.

Of the words you mention I know all but 'swale'. Some like 'wantonness' or 'sullen' or 'malinger' or 'noncommittal' are useful. You 'lace' boils and the like. Not sure how often you'll use 'foaling mare' unless you are on a farm,but then again its not without use.


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albysky
Triglot
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Italy
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Speaks: Italian*, English, German

 
 Message 3 of 9
28 September 2014 at 11:41am | IP Logged 
I am not entirely sure I will end up learning those words without looking them up .
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
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Studies: German

 
 Message 4 of 9
28 September 2014 at 11:47am | IP Logged 
OK. I thought you were wondering if you should more actively try to learn them via SRS etc.

I mostly read e-books, so it's very easy to look up words as I go. If I am reading p-books I don't bother looking them up, though it would probably help my learning if I did, but I find it interferes too much with my reading if I do. I am pretty sure you'll learn these words over time whether you look them up or not though.
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Spanky
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3910 days ago

1021 posts - 1715 votes 
Studies: French

 
 Message 5 of 9
28 September 2014 at 5:57pm | IP Logged 
albysky wrote:
Here are some I have come across so far : wantonness , swale , to
hone , take out after ,
sullen , malinger , noncommital, foaling mare , lace through etc . What is your
opinion ?


I am unfamiliar with "swale" and "take out after" and I would suggest that "foaling
mare" will be of really limited distribution or understanding apart from horsey folks
and such. The expressions "take out" and "take after" are quite common English
expressions, but I have never heard of "take out after".    I believe Patrick may have
been thinking of "lancing a boil" rather than "lacing a boil".   One laces up shoes,
skates, clothing, etc.



Edited by Spanky on 28 September 2014 at 6:20pm

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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
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Studies: German

 
 Message 6 of 9
28 September 2014 at 6:17pm | IP Logged 
Spanky wrote:
I believe Patrick may have been thinking of "lancing a boil" rather than
"lacing a boil".   One laces up shoes, skates, clothing, etc.


Quite right!
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iguanamon
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
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2224 posts - 6707 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole

 
 Message 7 of 9
28 September 2014 at 7:39pm | IP Logged 
albysky wrote:
... I wonder if it can be the right novel to further expand my vocab seize , at the end Of the novel I should collect about 2500 unknown words. ...

No one book will do that. This book as one of many that you may read, then, yes it will help you. Just try not to think of it as an intensive exercise.

The thing with reading books extensively, is just that. You don't have to learn every word. Over time, reading many more books, vocabulary will be broadened by sheer exposure- especially if you are also interacting with the language by speaking, listening and writing. The words "foal" and "mare" may come up a few times in a hundred books. Is it necessary to srs such words. No, I wouldn't do it. I do know the words in Spanish for foal and mare- "potrillo" and "yegua" from having read a ton of books and watched a lot of Spanish TV, but "foaling mare"- I haven't a clue. I'm sure if it comes up, I'll figure it out.

I was watching an episode of a Brazilian HBO series set in Rio that I like- called "Mandrake". In this particular episode Mandrake, a lawyer, was trying to help a client to get his girlfriend, an exotic dancer, out of that sordid life and live happily ever after with him. When she came on to the stage to dance, the MC kept calling her "a egua" which is the cognate to "la yegua" in Spanish. My point being is that though nowadays the west is industrialized and far removed from its agrarian past, agricultural metaphors are still used a lot, more often than we realize. I, myself, am only one generation removed from my parents rural upbringing.

"Swale", "sullen", "malinger", "noncommittal" are all words I know from having lived my life as a native English-speaker. They're not words I use everyday, sure, but I know what they mean. "Malinger" and "noncommittal" are more common in my active vocabulary than the first two words but definitely not everyday words. Would knowing and using these words make you a better English-speaker? I'm more inclined to agree with s_allard in that I think it's better to really master a core of the most commonly used words in one's speech (and build from there) than to be able to burst out with "malinger".

If you were sitting under the shade of the mahogany tree by the beach with me and my friends talking about a friend of ours who really should "get over" his "injury" and get back to normal life. You might hear one of us say- "he's just malingering". Such a word might come up once or twice every couple of years. Is that worth a month of srs?

The point of extensive reading, to me, is not to worry about every obscure word that may come up from time to time but to be able to recognize it the next time (or five times) I see it and then to be able to understand it if I hear it and maybe to incorporate it into my active vocabulary if the need arises. When I reach the stage of extensive reading, I don't obsess over every unknown word but I trust that over time and more massive exposure, I will know more of them. That's hard to do because you have to have faith, faith that this will happen. I accept that it might, and also that it might not, happen. Whatever the case, it saves me from srs!

I also believe that the more languages we learn, the harder it is to reach this level in many of the them. Am I willing to read 100, 300 page books in Haitian Creole or Ladino (I doubt if I could find them in HC, maybe Ladino but they wouldn't be novels)? No, I'm not. I have enough to do with Spanish and Portuguese to last me a lifetime and other things I enjoy as well, speaking of the beach...

Edited by iguanamon on 28 September 2014 at 7:55pm

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albysky
Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
lang-8.com/1108796Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2342 days ago

287 posts - 393 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, English, German

 
 Message 8 of 9
29 September 2014 at 9:30am | IP Logged 
@ iguanamon , yes I think you are right I lack faith ,but I will follow what you advise . I have read some
more pages
without looking anything up and it was enjoyable anyway even though I missed something here and there
. Hopefully at the end of the novel I will have learnt also some words like the ones I mentioned , if this is
not the case , I will have anyhow enjoyed a novel :-) .

Edited by albysky on 29 September 2014 at 9:37am



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