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#2226 - 05/11/00 08:25 AM the word-mavens' hagiography
pieman Offline

Registered: 04/27/00
Posts: 20
I nominate Johnson O'connor.
(Ever heard of him?)
The bishops may begin to deliberate.


#2227 - 05/11/00 01:29 PM Re: the word-mavens' hagiography
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
Why do large vocabularies characterize executives and possibly outstanding
men and women in other fields? The final answer seems to be that words are
the instruments by means of which men and women grasp the thoughts of
others and with which they do much of their own thinking. They are the "tools
of thought." --Johnson O'Connor

that Johnson O'Connor?


#2228 - 05/11/00 01:44 PM Re: the word-mavens' hagiography
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
I tend to idolize writers who actually utilize the language to unusual effect (as opposed to didactic pedagogues [tautology intended]). People often ask me the sources of my words-for-the-day and some of the more prolific writers in this regard have been WF Buckley, Gene Wolfe, James Joyce, Pynchon, George Will.... (not to say that the political ravings of Buckley and Will aren't occasionally pedantic :)


#2229 - 05/11/00 04:52 PM Johnson O'connor
pieman Offline

Registered: 04/27/00
Posts: 20
Yes, I do mean that Johnson O'connor.

Have you ever seen his English Vocabulary Builder? A giant work in psychometrics conducted by O'connor at Steven's Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, USA. He tested people's vocabularies, then arranged the results under the headings "100% of those tested knew these words...99%....98%..." All the way to "1% of the people tested knew these words..." It's a pretty cool study. Horseshoe was a word that 100% of the peope knew.
Along with each word, he gives the etymology and says stuff like "People may have gotten this wrong because..."
Anyway, I thought the book would interest the AWAD ilk.

(Did I just coin AWAD as an adjective?)

#2230 - 05/12/00 06:54 PM Re: Johnson O'connor
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York

>(Did I just coin AWAD as an adjective?)

Prob'ly not, us English-speaking folks have been using nouns as adjectives for light years (twisting time and distance to suit the conceit).

Could you please supply this old and tired one a link -- if you know of one - for the English Vocabulary Builder? I'd love to see it, and could search it myself but a link from you would be most helpful.

Anna, Journeyperson*
* (with a wink and a nod to jmh)

#2231 - 05/13/00 02:29 PM Re: English Vocabulary builder
David108 Offline

Registered: 05/09/00
Posts: 112
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I found this site, which appears to be a "Teach-Yourself-English" for Chinese people. One needs to download a Chinese character set to view the site.

Does anybody know how many words are in the "average" English-speaker's vocabulary?


#2232 - 05/14/00 12:04 AM Re: Johnson O'connor
pieman Offline

Registered: 04/27/00
Posts: 20
I can't actually provide a link to Johnson O'connor's English Vocabulary Builder, because it's just an old fashioned book. You'd probably be able to find a used copy at
Or look in the library. It's a pretty old book (1938 or so) There was a second edition that was printed in the late 1970's. It is worth checking out. It's really an interesting piece of work.



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