learning new words

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learning new words

Post by Archived Topic » Sat Nov 06, 2004 1:58 pm

What is the best way to learn new english words? Is it by studying books on Etymology or checking the words in dictionary as and when u come across new word(s) or just keep on reading and hearing--like television--assuming that one can grasp the meaning from the context?
Submitted by shashidhar N (davangere - India)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:13 pm

It depends on the type of English you want to become more familiar with, Shashidhar. The style of say the Brontes or Dickens is quite removed from modern conversational British English, and as for that of Shakespeare - A-level students need study notes to decipher the language as well as the implications.
Watching and listening to modern(-ish) programmes such as "The Simpsons" or "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (is that spelt correctly?) will expose one to language of a very different register. My son, at University, comes home armed with new expressions each vac (vacation) - usually new slang usages filtering over from the States, but sometimes subject-specific language from his accountancy course. The most thorough English dictionaries give guidance as to the register of a word or phrase - eg "slang" , "maths", "taboo" .
It's probably best to concentrate on the approach that would help you familiarise yourself with the style of English you need or desire, and give you the most fun, if the two are not incompatible. Conversations are probably the most powerful language learning tools. This web-site is great for difficult problems.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:27 pm

Quite so, Edwin.

One delightful fact I have learned here is that there's rarely a solution without a problem.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:41 pm

Go not to Etymology Elves for advice, for they will say both yea and nay.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 2:56 pm

Well, yes and no.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:10 pm

Shashidhar, these people are lying to you. You must read the entire dictionary from beginning to end. Twice.
Reply from Zachary Walls (Dixon - U.S.A.)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:25 pm

Zachary, I suspect you're Tolkien nonsense. Are you after MY job? And I always get stuck at "mirbane".
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:39 pm

Shashidhar,I think it is a matter of personal choice. When I began to learn English, many teachers instructed the pupils to read books and newspapers. What I found best was conversing with others who speak the same language. This obviously depends on what setting your are in. To date and especially after visiting this site I am convinced that the English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn. I only say this because I grow up in a home with one parent speaking in Arabic (English too) the other in German (Learning Arabic at the same time) conversing with one another and their children in more then one language. As you can imagine no one in the neighbourhood understood what I and my brother was saying as we mixed it up pretty good. Almost like Maltese, some Italian, English, Arabic and I believe some Turkish. When I continued my studies after prepatory school (mostly in Arabic), I attended an English School. My best companion was the Oxford Dictionary and Coles Notes, both helped me to understand the subjects and the new words that I encountered. Good luck.

Ahmed
27th April, 2004

Reply from Ahmed ELNamer (Dawson Creek - Canada)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 4:08 pm

And everybody should read Tolkien.
Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 4:22 pm

On the other hand, Tolkien in class should be forbidden.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
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learning new words

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Nov 06, 2004 4:37 pm

.. and don't forget shashidhar that there are major differences between the many forms of English .. your own country has a vibrant Indian English spoken and understood by millions of people .. alas the US is attempting by sheer force of technology and neocolonial invasion to set it self forth as THE keeper of English .. unfortunately their economic influence is achieving that sorry end .. heaven help the English language !!!
WoZ of Aus. 28/04/04
Reply from Wizard of Oz (Newcastle - Australia)
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