BTT: Vocabulary

This is something I've always been curious about, which is why I suggested this question on Booking Through Thursday. Thanks Deb for posting this question. :)



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? (see links to other responses here.)


That question itself pretty much sums up the things I've tried to do when faced with a word I've never seen before. Right now I usually try to guess the meaning from context or just ignore it so I don't have to stop reading. It's so very distracting to have to put down whatever you're reading to find a dictionary or switch on the computer.



I used to keep a dictionary beside me while reading, but having to open an enormous dictionary to find a word while in the middle of a book is very annoying. Pocket dictionaries aren't of much use either because they often don't have words I'm looking for. On one occasion, I even tried jotting down the words on a piece of paper, but ended up with far too many words on the list to have any reasonable chance of remembering more than a very few of them.



Using the define: operator in google helps find the definitions of some unusual words, especially obscure ones or slang words that aren't easy to find. Wordnet dictionary is another good way to look up words because it defines words in clusters rather than individual words. That way I can read the definition along with synonyms which makes remembering the words easier. The problem with using either of these is that they require that the PC remain on all whenever I'm reading, but they're dead useful when I'm reading something on the computer.

9 comments:

writer2b said...

Thanks for the question and for the google tip! I agree about it being an interruption to have to stop and look up words.

jlshall said...

Yes, Google and all the other online reference resources have certainly made things easier. But I still love actually going to the dictionary or print encyclopedia and looking things up - but then I'm a dinosaur and I know it! Thanks for coming up with a great question.

Chris said...

Great question. The internet has so many great resources for this.

Table Talk said...

I think it says something about my age that i simply never think of using the internet to look up a word. I'm still an old-fashioned dictionary woman at heart.

Jaimie said...

That was a very good question. I always use the internet nowadays.

Lesley said...

I have a mammoth dictionary (as befits another old dinosaur), which I read in hard copy and subscribe to online, but it peeves me when it fails to include a word I'm looking for. Then I use the internet and - if I trust what I find, and despite my horrors at writing in books - I'll write the word and a brief definition o the appropriate page of the dictionary. It's been really useful when I'm proofreading.

Alix said...

It was a great question. I turn the page down and come back later. I usually use the dictionary online now as the lap top is always on and it is so quick.

gautami tripathy said...

I do look up online. It saves me from carrying a dictionary!

Here is my BTT post!

My Used Machinery said...

How to enhance my english vocabulary , I read books ,newspapers and often look at difficult words in a dictionary but I dont remeber their meaning the second time I see that word somewhere else.

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