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#2353 - 06/27/00 03:19 AM Re: vocabulary
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
We communicate in different ways with different people at different times.

If I am writing a leaflet for general consumption I keep the language clear and simple, leaving very little room for ambiguity.

If I am discussing computing with colleagues it is likely that the conversation will include technical language that wouldn't be used elsewhere. A group of people who had all studied, say History of Art, English Literature or Astrophysics would have another set of technical terms.

In a group like this we talk about words. One would expect to cover the whole range from the simple to the unpronounceable.

The "showing off" bit comes in when we choose to use inappropriately complex language in a situation where we know it will be perceived as being used to score points. In these days of inverted snobbery more people make their language downwardly mobile rather than the converse.

One of the things that I always found strange was that words from the study of literature, history or French would be considered as essential knowledge for an "educated" person. Whereas it would be possible to know everything there is to know about DNA, Quantum Theory or nuclear fusion and have very little to talk about at a party.

As science becomes the new "arts" with so much popular writing about science perhaps it will change. Somehow I'm not so sure.


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#2354 - 06/27/00 04:31 AM Re: vocabulary size
andwild Offline
stranger

Registered: 06/27/00
Posts: 2
Loc: Switzerland
I think that one also has to differ between an active and passive vocabulary, i.e. between word that one would use and words one only understands. Therefore, your estimate of 4327 words might be quite good for an active vocabulary, at least for some people.


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#2355 - 06/27/00 06:54 AM Re: vocabulary size
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Dr. Sieber,
>> "Look what an intelligent and learned person I am and how lucky you are to know me" .<<
Indeed you are, and indeed I am! (And the fact that you got
my point exactly is a fine demonstration of these things!)







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#2356 - 06/27/00 07:03 AM Re: vocabulary size
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
andwild--
Oh, what a perfect combination your username makes! (She said with envy.)
And, welcome aBoard.


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#2357 - 06/27/00 09:49 AM Re: vocabulary
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
>We communicate in different ways with different people at different times.

We should of course (and perforce) use language styled for the audience at hand, just as in writing. It is very annoying to have to listen to someone who seems to be talking solely to hear himself talk and is just sooooo impressed with his own erudition. [witness W. F. Buckley!]


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#2358 - 06/27/00 12:25 PM Re: vocabulary
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Well, Tsuwm,
You were right, as usual, when in one of your first posts on this thread you said this is endlessly arguable!
>>It is very annoying to have to listen to someone who seems to be talking solely to hear himself talk and is just sooooo impressed with his own erudition.<< Yup, 'tis. I usually make a quick exit if possible!




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#2359 - 06/29/00 04:14 PM Re: vocabulary size
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
I stumbled across the following link fortuitously - I don't know how much credence to give the method, but it might be interesting to use as a benchmark for several people...
http://minyos.its.rmit.edu.au/~s8904850/vocab.html


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#2360 - 06/29/00 05:25 PM Re: vocabulary size
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
Thanks for the test link. It is obviously flawed. My score was rather less than a google. It think that there should have been more words like "it" in it.

Apart from that, it seemed as if it would be quite useful for lesser mortals. Maybe it should have had a little more Kentuckian.


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#2361 - 06/30/00 07:29 AM Re: vocabulary size
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11609
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
>>it seemed as if it would be quite useful for lesser mortals. Maybe it should have had a little more Kentuckian.<

Well, I reckon the truth hurts. Confess we are not known
for high levels of education.




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#2362 - 06/30/00 06:50 PM Re: vocabulary size
Bridget Offline
addict

Registered: 06/27/00
Posts: 444
Loc: Sydney Australia
>>My score was rather less than a google. <<

I don't think this test lets you have a vocabulary of a googol - this is in a way a relief as it means I don't need to strive for that level!

Also, of course it only tests passive vocabulary, and even there it limits itself to 'words you can define out of context'. The question of what consititutes 'knowing a word' came up earlier in this discussion.

All that said, I've printed it out to take away and do next time I have a quiet weekend. Will get back to you in 2003 with my score...


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