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This is so that you memorize the word. When it is used out of context it forces you to really think. If the sentence is something like "the turtle swims" and you know the word for "swim" you may automatically assume "turtle" since that's one of the animals you've learned.
If i don't wrong i remember turtle are from sea, acquatic, and tortoise is from land....i understood this difference becouse of the video youtube about these animals.....but it is english....it isn't portuguese.....i am italian, we say tartaruga for the acquatic and small turtle and testuggine for those from land, more big