July 20th, 2011
|10:48 pm - Test your vocab|
Here is a little on-line test you might like. Test your vocab. You have to tick the words you know the meaning of, and it will estimate your total vocabulary. For some words I thought I knew the meaning, but I looked it up online to check and I was wrong. It makes me realise that often I think I know a word and I'm misinterpreting it. For example I thought fuliginous meant 'glowing', and it turns out it means 'sooty'. Anyway, I got 40,000 I think that's OK. I didn't check every definition, so I might have over-estimated how many I know.
They want more data: they say 'Please share this test ...We especially need participation from children and teenagers, where the biggest vocabulary growth occurs.'
ETA - and I think they would be interested in the results of people for whom English is a second (or other) language.
I think they ought to have had made-up words to test for false positives. I would have given you 'fuddle', and I gave myself 'uxoricide' because I can work out what it means. Might have inflated my mark that way.
34,300- which I can live with. Though I wondered about whether some of them were real, too. It would be interesting to find out when the most recent word on the list was coined. It gave me the impression that it could have been delivered in 1950, or even earlier. Not necessarily a bad thing, but some of the more colloquial words seemed a little quaint.
They have said they don't use slang or technical terms, but I think some obsolete slang is no longer classified as slang, for example 'fuddle', so it has slipped in.
Fuddle isn't obsolete! Not in Geordieland, anyway. "Aa wiz fair fuddled last neet" is still well hearable..
I really must look up adumbrate again - one of those words that doesn't stay in my head. I got 41,300 but a lot were guesswork based on knowing the roots. A classical education does have its uses!
I am thinking the professional writers on my f-list would do the best, plus people whose job is to evaluate writing.
|Date:||July 21st, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)|| |
They're all real. They have a link for the hard words, they all exist, and some of them I realised I did know.
I got 39,300. Interestingly, the highest scorers i've seen are all second language speakers. However the project only gathers data from native languages for now: there is too much variability in second language speakers. They do have plans for a follow up study in Brazil (hence the exclusion of Potuguese cognates).
Mt theory for higher scores in fluent second language speaker is that a) they have access to more root words (latiate words are much more transparent for me, for example) and secondly, our language aquisition skills get a lot more exercise: we have to do the all language acquisition thing as adults, so we keep doing it past the point native speakers taper off their efforts.
|Date:||July 21st, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)|| |
Sorry for the typos. I'm on the iPad.
You are bilingual? I don't think that was an option on the questionnaire, and it's a very interesting additional factor.
|Date:||July 22nd, 2011 01:13 pm (UTC)|| |
Well, I was about to say no, because I thought only people who acquired two languages naturally counted as bilingual, but there doesn't seem to be much agreement on the definition. I didn't become fluent in English until I was about 18, but I am functionally bilingual, yes.
However, just as speaking multiple languages might help the English vocabulary of someone who speaks it as a second language, surely speaking other languages also helps the English vocabulary of someone who speaks it as their first?
I know my English vocabulary would be much poorer without the Latin, the French and the etymological fundamentals of a lot of other languages.
(Here via espresso_addict
While it would be interesting in its own right to test for false positives, I don't think "knowing" nonexistent words should count against someone for the purposes of measuring the size of their vocabulary. For example, once told "funambulist" was a word, I knew from Latin what it meant. That is legitimately part of my vocabulary, in the sense that I will understand a document that includes the word.
I'd sulk if they tried to exclude words I can understand etymologically, as well as ignoring my technical and archaic vocabularies. Especially since a lot of words regarded as archaic are in my writing vocabulary: I'm especially fond of the obvious but obsolete variants of common words, such as "abed", "whenceforth", "thereunto", "pregnable".
I know what you mean. So, if 'uxoricide' wasn't a real word, what does 'not real' even mean? If I said it, people would understand, even if it had never been used before. Like 'fratriphobia' which (as far as I know) I just invented.
Ah, but would it (does it) mean "fear of one's own brother", "fear of brothers (males who have siblings) in general" or "fear of communality" (in the more general sense of "a fraternity")? "Funambulist" really does have just one plausible meaning.
On a very small handful of the words in that test, I decided on an etymological basis what I believed the word meant then checked via Google and gave myself a tick if I was right. I think I was wrong in just two cases.
Conservative though I might be about language, I do acknowledge that new words have to happen some time, somehow. A new word that's elegant and has an at least vaguely obvious meaning is welcome, if rare.
Interesting! I got 41,400 but I was fairly generous. I looked up all the ones I didn't know and they were all in Chambers so I guess no made up words.
Like me you do/did write for a living, I think that is probably useful in making you work up vocab. It has never made me very careful though.
40,400, which is reasonable. There were definitely words that not only could I not define, but ones I'm pretty sure I'd not seen before.
Yes, and funnily enough, coming back to the list, I still can't remember what they mean.
|Date:||July 21st, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)|| |
Tut tut tut. I remembered fuligin from The Book Of the New Sun! :-) (also, fuliggine is soot in Ialian. )
I must have read it somewhere referring to a fire or a hearth, and just jumped to the wrong conclusion.
|Date:||July 25th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)|| |
test your actual knowledge
I wonder what you would think of vocabularysize.com (http://my.vocabularysize.com) which tests your vocabulary size by asking you to prove you know the definition, not just recognize it's written form.
Re: test your actual knowledge
That was very interesting. I got the impression that it was designed for people for whom English was a second language, because the words were quite low-level. I like the way you have consciously chosen different word-roots and word-types. I don't think the test accurately discriminates vocabulary above about 20,000 words. I think I got every question right, and it told me I have a vocab of 27,000, which I believe is the average for a native speaker. Perhaps extend the test to include less well-known words?