Sproucing up my English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by water, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    Sproucing up my English



    English is my third language and it gets rather clumsy on occasion, esp. when it comes to fancy words.
    I sometimes take English novels or magazines, choose words that I don't know, look them up in the dictionary and learn them. I also have some practice books I work with. But, goodness gracious, does this get boring!! I need some variation and distraction.

    I once read here that someone was preparing for SAT's, and said there were lists of synonyms and antonyms they had to learn. Now *that* would be something I would really really like!

    Does anyone know of websites which present English in such a manner -- with lists of useful synonyms, or simply some "creative ways" to learn more English?

    Thanks.

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  3. MagiAwen Registered Senior Member

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    I don't know about websites but I have a Dutch friend that used to be horribly limited in his written and verbal english. What we did for him is get him in a chat room. A really busy one where people generally talked about what he was interested in. Then myself and some friends became the grammar police and definition patrol lol

    Everytime he didn't understand a word or sometimes he knew the word but did not understand what it meant in the context it was being used he would say so and one of us would explain it. We also corrected his spelling and a lot of times suggested words for him to use in his sentences.

    He said this helped him a lot and he is a lot easier to understand now. But it took a while. Your written English already looks better than his did in the beginning.

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    But being on a board like this you will naturally pick things up as well as I am sure you have.

    If you go to www.dictionary.com there is a link in the middle for an online thesarus (synonymns and anotnyms). There are also links that can help you with grammar and usage as well. Those always helped me when I was taking classes so I wasn't using the same descriptive words all the time. Hope it helps.
     
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  5. slotty Colostomy-its not my bag Registered Senior Member

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    Well i for one am very surprised that english is your third language, i'm very impressed with your command of it. Well done!

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  7. SkippingStones splunk! Registered Senior Member

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    Rosa,
    You write better than two thirds of the monolinguals on this forum.

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  8. Dreamwalker Whatever Valued Senior Member

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    I would also be interested, since English is not my primary language it would be nice to add a couple of useful expressions to my vocabulary.

    For the most part, I have learned this language by reading books solely on English. It was a bit tedious in the beginning, but I got better. Besides that, I would also appreciate websites that present English the way Rosa suggested.
     
  9. SKULLZ Banned Banned

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    248
    You need to learn things like idioms,thats most peoples problem,like if i say:

    "cor bloody hell! youre like a *bull in a china shop*!"
    or
    "id *bend over backwards* to get my mum a christmas present"

    or
    "comon we better *strike while the irons hot*"

    Do you know what these mean,while they are certainly written in english,if taken litterly they look odd,so definatly learn idioms.
     
  10. Dreamwalker Whatever Valued Senior Member

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    Whew, lucky me, we have nearly the same idioms in German, and I found that mostly true for many European languages, but eastern idioms are sometimes greatly different.
     
  11. SKULLZ Banned Banned

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    Yeah im no expert but essentially the modern english language is made up of other languages like french,german and latin.

    However learning welsh is a completely different thing,cos they didnt convert in any invasion so in a sense the welsh language is the original english,in fact recent science study suggests the welsh are true british as they didnt undergo the ethnic cleansing of the anglo-saxons in celtic britain.
     
  12. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    I reacall hearing at work that the "sun" newspaper is pitched just right to learn basic English. Its a shit newspaper, but the style and difficulty of its reading suits anyone learning english or simply those Britons who dont like too much information or difficult words. With that in mind, perhaps you could read some of the more up scale newspapers, such as "the Times". The Telegraph isnt doing so well just now, but the Times has a century or two of tradition behind it and is not afraid to use long words,and its letters page often belongs to a bygone era.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
     
  13. SKULLZ Banned Banned

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    I read the daily/sunday express personally.

    The reason the sun and mirror and various others are so shit is because they are more interested in poking thier nose in the personal lives of celebritys,and i dont care,i dont care about posh spices new hairstyle or david beckhams new tattoo or what they think of these things.

    Its like they turn stupid shit into front page news,i can see the headlines now "posh spice caught puking up in a toilet after a drunken night out!"

    I DONT CARE!
     
  14. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone!

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    Yes, idioms are one of those things foreigners have great struggles with. We often can't tell whether the other person has his tongue in his cheek ...

    As far as newspapers like The Sun are concerned: The language may be "simple", but it is also full of idioms and colloquialisms. Eventually, The Times may be easier to comprehend for a foreigner than a "much simpler" The Sun.

    Dreamwalker can testify, foreigners don't have that much trouble discussing serious scientific issues -- but small-talk is the sure killer for us. :bugeye:
     
  15. Dreamwalker Whatever Valued Senior Member

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    Yep, that is true. But for that reason I visited chat rooms... but that sucked.

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    It is better to speak with native English in real life I found out.
     
  16. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    I learned something just yesterday : the plural of octopus is not octopi, but octopods.
     
  17. curioucity Unbelievable and odd Registered Senior Member

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    Eh? Looks like I still need a world to learn it seems.......
    First, I always thought that nouns ended with -us will have -i as the new ending replacing the singular one when it comes to plural.....
    (when I think about this, the sentence is too flawed...)
     
  18. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    5,060
    Thank the lingva bene that is Latin . . . And I'm not even sure if "lingva bene" is declined right . . . I'm not a Latin student, and I kinda like it that way.
     
  19. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

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    In fact, this is the reason why I'm making a Germanic language that isn't corrupted with Latin like English is. And I think all this Latin makes English seem too snooty. It's a very interesting project, too. By looking at some words in Anglo-Saxon, I've found cognates in the German language.
     
  20. Kunax Sciforums:Reality not required Registered Senior Member

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    scivillage had a few new words here and there, for me anyway. Mostly put there by those with english as there primary. i liked the new words as i come from a more technical english bacground and there for lack certian everyday english words.

    bummer gtg work calls....
     

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