April 17, 2008

BTT: Pardon my Vocabulary

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Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by Nithin:

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?


Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


I think I'm a skipper. Often I'm too involved in a book to stop to look it up. I'm pretty good at figuring it out through context. I still remember that lesson in school. "Read the words around it to figure it out." It's a very useful lesson.

A common problem in classic books is the use of foreign phrases with no footnotes. A little French I can hammer out but anything else is a lost cause. I suppose the writers of these books believed at the time that any literate person was educated in other languages. That's not really the case now.

I have looked up words I don't know when I remember them later. I love the Online Dictionary and have it bookmarked.

I have a few words, I think of as book jewelry. They just look so pretty on the page:

Verdant
Ephemera

come to mind, although I'm sure I have more. How about you?

15 comments :

  1. "Book jewelry." I love that!

    I'm with you on the foreign phrases thing, too.

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  2. OK, you're probably going to get a lot of this, but I always think of "felicity" and "winsome" in the same way - book jewelry. Loved your answer.

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  3. Ah yes, untranslated French! I got myself a French-English dictionary to help with that, but found that I couldn't always be bothered putting down the book to go and get it!

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  4. Writer2b & Coversgirl- Oui, Oui!

    JLshall- Oh, good ones!

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  5. I love the phrase book jewelry and your right some words do just look better than others!

    I agree about the foreign phrases and online dictionaries are great.

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  6. Argh yes I forgot about foreign phrases or words in the middle of books with no translation. It seems reaing Russian books they have random French sections. No idea why...!

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  7. My favourite word has always been 'dwell', although I think it has more to do with the sound than the way it looks.

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  8. I often skip and read around too. Most times it is a 'slang' term or word that I just don't get. Urban Dictionary www.urbandictionary.com is great for looking those types of words up. It can be funny too :)

    http://maternalspark.blogspot.com

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  9. I want to think that I'm one of those people that writes everything down then goes and looks it up, but I'm not at all. Maybe one day I'll be that person. It sounds like retirement is a time to pick up new habits, so there's that to look forward to.

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  10. I like that phrase! Book jewelry! Most words I can understand in context but I go online to find the definitions of words that I just can't get.

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  11. I try to translate French - but I skip it and don't bother looking it up if I can't get it straight away.

    I like the word "delicious", so inviting.

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  12. Alix- Thanks

    Rhinoa- I don't get that either.

    Table- Dwell is a good one.

    H.E.- I like the Urban Dictionary too!

    Aka_nik- LOL!

    Jaimie- What did we do before the internet?

    Booksplease- Delicious is a good one too.

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  13. "Ephemera" - great word. And until I read it here I had no idea there was a noun to go with the adjective "ephemeral" ... so I looked it up!

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  14. I think that because I keep a running journal while I read, I take to interruptions a lot more easily than some people might. Stopping to look up a word I can't figure out on my own isn't too much of a hassle as a result.

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