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Old 01-04-2013, 11:12 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I'll start worrying about the meanings of words in technical fields when one of my cosmologist friends accidentally interprets a "hot babe" to mean an attractive lady moving at close to the speed of light .
That reminds me of this book title:

Strike the Baby and Kill the Blonde

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Old 01-04-2013, 11:16 AM   #122
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:26 PM   #123
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I looked up a word from a Patrick O'Brien book about two weeks ago (I forgot what exact word). It was clear from the context that it was a type of sail but I wanted to know what type of sail as the action implied it was an important type. The dictionary promptly told me that it was "a type of sail"...

Anyway, I'm not used to looking words up. I started reading books in English about 20 years ago and obviously they were paper books. I had only seven books (given to me for free) and no dictionary which I read again and again for about a year or two. To begin with I probably knew half the words in every sentence, but context saved me. When context definitely did not help I wrote the word down and asked the next native I met (well, the next acquaintance not really random strangers...).

Still, context can sometimes be misleading.
For about a year or more I thought that "bugger" is a pseudo swearword like "gosh" or "darn" because of how I heard it on TV a couple of times. Once my "internal dictionary" classified it as harmless I started using it frequently and with much gusto, to express frustration or astonishment in "polite" company where I could not swear.

And then I actually found out what it really meant!
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:37 PM   #124
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I rarely look up a word when reading, and on the rare occasion that I do it's usually because I've never seen the word before. I've read widely over the last 35+ yrs (1st library card at age 3 though I couldn't read yet and am now 42) so I've seen a good many words in that time, but there are still some that I'm not familiar with. Usually they are either specialized in that they are only used in a limited set of circumstances or maybe they are archaic and not used much anymore.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:15 PM   #125
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Quote:
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I'll start worrying about the meanings of words in technical fields when one of my cosmologist friends accidentally interprets a "hot babe" to mean an attractive lady moving at close to the speed of light .

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Old 01-04-2013, 05:03 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
"In it's subterranean resting place". Possessive pronoun hence no apostrophe. "It's" is only ever an abbreviation for "it is" or "it has"; if you mean "belonging to it", the word is "its" with no apostrophe. None of the possessive pronouns - my, his, her, its, our, their - have an apostrophe.
True. But the usual way of indicated possession in English is by adding "'s" to the end, which is what causes the confusion.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:58 PM   #127
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Respected dictionaries, if not "correct" by some standards, accurately document word usage.
So if Oxford documented that people use it that way, then people use it that way
Or the clerk that wrote that particular 'definition' did so in a Friday afternoon, and simply translated it.

Quote:
Your personal "I never heard it used that way" plus your biology focus, plus you being a random anonymous stranger on the Internet, needs to be weighted against Oxford appropriately.
I notice that you still haven't answered my question. Have YOU ever heard this word used before this thread? "Defend you limitations, and sure enough, you own them." You can stick with the book, and I'll stick with real world usage. No harm, no foul.

I used the expression 'the map is not the terrain' previously. To people who use maps, they are just marks on a piece of paper, not the ground upon which they actually walk. A guide line until they actually walk on it, they only have a vague idea of what is there. A dictionary, too, is just marks on a piece of paper, not the 'ground' upon which people walk. The map doesn't show if the footing is rocky or smooth, or if the going is easy or hard. It takes real world usage, actually walking over the terrain, to know the facts. The map doesn't always show them. You can continue to reject this if you wish, and just cling to the map. And perhaps one day you too will say 'the fertilizer is sub rosa.'


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Old 01-04-2013, 09:52 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Stitchawl View Post
Or the clerk that wrote that particular 'definition' did so in a Friday afternoon, and simply translated it.



I notice that you still haven't answered my question. Have YOU ever heard this word used before this thread? "Defend you limitations, and sure enough, you own them." You can stick with the book, and I'll stick with real world usage. No harm, no foul.

I used the expression 'the map is not the terrain' previously. To people who use maps, they are just marks on a piece of paper, not the ground upon which they actually walk. A guide line until they actually walk on it, they only have a vague idea of what is there. A dictionary, too, is just marks on a piece of paper, not the 'ground' upon which people walk. The map doesn't show if the footing is rocky or smooth, or if the going is easy or hard. It takes real world usage, actually walking over the terrain, to know the facts. The map doesn't always show them. You can continue to reject this if you wish, and just cling to the map. And perhaps one day you too will say 'the fertilizer is sub rosa.'


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No, I'd never heard the word. Now, thanks to the author of Harry's book and the dictionary, I know what it means. Thanks to this thread, I'm also now aware of a technical use of a form of the word in biology.

As for the map and the terrain, all it may mean is that you think that your familiarity with your little plot of ground makes your assumptions about places you've never even heard of more accurate than the accounts of travelers from those parts.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:40 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by ApK View Post
No, I'd never heard the word. Now, thanks to the author of Harry's book and the dictionary, I know what it means.
Well... you know the translation of the Latin roots, not necessarily what it means. Or is the fertilizer still sub rosa?

Quote:
Thanks to this thread, I'm also now aware of a technical use of a form of the word in biology.
Which is a good thing, as it isn't used any other way... Unless, of course, you know of one? Or anyone else does? So far, have we heard of anyone actually hearing this word used, except in the example of the first poster displayed? Quite a few well-read people have contributed to this thread, yet no one has shown any other familiarity with the term, only book definitions. But please, cling to them if you wish to.

Quote:
As for the map and the terrain, all it may mean is that you think that your familiarity with your little plot of ground makes your assumptions about places you've never even heard of more accurate than the accounts of travelers from those parts.
I'd be more than happy to hear 'accounts of travelers from those parts.' There doesn't seem to be any though. Only people who looked at a map and decided they were experts in the terrain because the map was made by a reputable company. No matter how good the map, it's still just marks on paper, and will never equal the knowledge gained walking the trails.

I do have to say that places I've often traveled are better known to me than places I have only read about. I think most experienced travelers would agree. And certainly more accurate. If I'd only traveled them once, I could agree with you. The guide book is often helpful... if it's accurate. All too often they are not. 50 years of familiarity with the term have to have 'some' influence on my understanding. Certainly more than looking up a word in a dictionary once.

And as I said, how about we agree to disagree?


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Old 01-06-2013, 01:07 AM   #130
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I'm only 17, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I'm somewhat of a 'binge reader', and before a couple of years ago, I went a long time without reading at all. I regret not taking the time to read much, and my vocabulary is none too dazzling. At the moment, my reader is basically my vocab teacher. A couple of my most recent ones are 'craven' and 'vehement'. Aside from leaning new words, it's also nice to definitively have a rarely-used word defined, and then used in the context of the story. All in all, it's a good help to someone who's vocabulary isn't particularly developed
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:11 AM   #131
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I'm only 17, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I'm somewhat of a 'binge reader', and before a couple of years ago, I went a long time without reading at all.
Don't worry. You have plenty of time to make up for it!

Quote:
Aside from leaning new words, it's also nice to definitively have a rarely-used word defined, and then used in the context of the story. All in all, it's a good help to someone who's vocabulary isn't particularly developed
I think it's the BEST way to improve one's vocabulary! Read and use, read and use, read and use...


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Old 01-06-2013, 05:00 AM   #132
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Read and use, read and use, read and use...
That's one of the problems I had with some posts here: who actually uses words like "dolichocephalic"?? (And what a face is he/she making at this moment?)
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:54 AM   #133
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Still, context can sometimes be misleading.
For about a year or more I thought that "bugger" is a pseudo swearword like "gosh" or "darn" because of how I heard it on TV a couple of times. Once my "internal dictionary" classified it as harmless I started using it frequently and with much gusto, to express frustration or astonishment in "polite" company where I could not swear.

And then I actually found out what it really meant!
In Australia you could use it liberally without getting into too much trouble.

We've even had television commercials of some popularity using the word over and over again.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:38 AM   #134
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I don't use the dictionary much with newer books, but sometimes I read books written long enough ago that they either use words unfamiliar to me, or they use words slightly differently than I'm used to seeing them used, and it can be helpful to see the definition. Also, British authors sometimes use some words a bit differently than I'm used to as an American, again particularly when the book was written a very long time ago.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:49 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by RoseWolf95 View Post
I'm only 17, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I'm somewhat of a 'binge reader', and before a couple of years ago, I went a long time without reading at all. I regret not taking the time to read much, and my vocabulary is none too dazzling. At the moment, my reader is basically my vocab teacher. A couple of my most recent ones are 'craven' and 'vehement'. Aside from leaning new words, it's also nice to definitively have a rarely-used word defined, and then used in the context of the story. All in all, it's a good help to someone who's vocabulary isn't particularly developed
Oh, how I wish some of my younger colleagues would think like this! I'm frequently being asked what a word means that I use in every day speech - misogynist being a recent word I used that someone later asked me to spell so that they could look it up. I now do a "Word of the Day" in which my team have to find the meaning and use the word during the day, either verbally or written Just a bit of fun, but everyone seems to enjoy it. The main problem is that none of them actually read anything other than the celebrity pages in the red tops.

I do use the dictionary on a regular basis, although I can quite often work out the meaning from the context. I just like to check the word and find out its stem and general usage. But then I'm also always looking things up on the internet as well. I'm currently reading a series set in Minneapolis, an area I know nothing about. I've looked up the town the story is set in, the history, location, ethic make up, geography and the history of Lake Minnetonka's steam boats. Before reading this series, I didn't even know there was a Lake Minnetonka, but I'm UK based, so that's probably not too surprising. It's helped me have a better understanding of the book itself as I can now picture the location and understand better the demographics of the region I'm reading about.

I enjoy reading for the pleasure of reading itself, but the added bonus for me is that I keep learning about new things - even from fictional writings, and you are never too old to learn something new.
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