https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

Frustrated with learning vocabulary

I want to make my English perfect. I've already knew it but I wanted to spread my vocabulary. I want to know even don't often used words like 'alleviate', 'stipulation' etc. So I bought a vocabulary. Withal I constantly was on 'Oxford Dictionary' online. I learnt words by examples in a sentence also. But I got frustrated because a lot of words has more meanings.

For instance, 'anticipate' in my native is translated as 'očekivati'. But here is a problem: 'anticipate' also means something like 'predict' and also 'come or take place before'. So it makes it very hard to be focused on. Three bloody meanings.

Attemp, for another instance, means 'be present'. But it also means 'take care of', 'follow something'.

A lot of words have many meanings in English. I'm really getting confused. I found the same thing in German, where we have another problem also: making suffixes or prefixes changes a huge difference.

How to be able to get all of those meanings, list of words?

Not to forget: English has amazingly lot of words in general, what makes thing even harder.

June 21, 2015

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/OrangeJulius3

I am a native English speaker and I feel the exact same way about English. There is always more to learn. If someone asked me, "Have you mastered English?" I don't know what I would say, but it would not be an easy "yes".

The way that most people increase their vocabulary is by reading. Your brain will begin to associate some of those more difficult words with the way that they commonly appear. You should consult a dictionary as you go to prevent yourself from creating too many of your own definitions. The level of English you are talking about requires regular reading.

Good Luck.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

Yes, I completely agree. But I have amazingly bad memory and when I read one word and don't use it in at least 5-6 examples, I will forget it instantly. About consulting a dictionary, that's very good advice, yep.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/OrangeJulius3

Sometimes people get so afraid that they are not learning, that they do not let themselves learn. Have some trust that your brain will absorb words and patterns without you needing to force it. Sometimes you will need to focus. But other times let yourself just read, and if you must then take only very quick notes for later review. Try to allow learning to happen rather than forcing yourself to learn minute by minute.

Your memory is probably fine, but you are too demanding of it.

Your English is getting pretty good, I am having a lot of difficulty getting myself to be able to write in anything other than English.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

English speakers feel the same way about Spanish. Why two words for 'to be' for example?

But learning vocabulary by memorizing lists is a painful way to do it. ;)

June 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LorenzoCabrini

+1 for rspreng's answer. Wouldn't it be better to learn words in context: by reading (books, comics), by listening (radio shows, music), by watching (movies, documentaries). When you stumble upon a word you don't know, look it up and get the meaning in that context.

Then you can build up sample sentences containing the new word you learned and add it to your favorite SRS. Mine is anki (http://ankisrs.net). That way you should be able to memorize the words, again, in context.

June 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

It's very hard to stop an audio file on that way. I will do it with reading firstly. Your SRS advice is the most helpful thing I've got on here. Thanks!!

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Elagui

The first thing I had to accept is that perfection is beyond my grasp, but that doesn't mean that I can't learn my chosen language very well. Sometimes I have to write out multiple sentences; like: I attend a prestigious university on the East coast. The nurse attends to my wounds. There was another matter that he had to attend to, so I will lead the lesson in his place.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

But it's very weird. Why wouldn't I say 'The nurse takes cares of my wounds'. I know that there's somewhere lot of ways to tell something, but why 'attempt to' when it firstly means 'be present'? Wouldn't it be better if it's 'look out', for instance? Do you understand a concept? Because, I had never heard anybody saying 'attempt to'. I've heard only 'take care'.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Criculann

First of all, it's "attend to". "attempt to" means "try to".

Now, "attend to" is a bit more formal in my opinion. So you might use it to sound more sophisticated. That's what we mean, when we're talking about the nuances of a language. Sometimes there are many ways to express an idea and they all have slightly different meanings, implications. I can say "I've done, like, the stuff ya told me to do" or I could say "I have accomplished the tasks you ordered to be executed". It's basically the same thing but it's easy to picture where and by whom the one and the other could be said.

IMHO, the best thing you can do is trying to absorb this stuff. Read, listen, watch, speak a lot and at some point all this will be second nature to you.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

Yes 'attend to'. It was an lapsus. Thanks, you're very helpful!

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Elagui

English words do have multiple definitions - the first is the more common, but all others are equally valid meanings. We get used to hearing different sentences and we just pick up the difference in meaning by the context of the sentence. If we take a look at: "The nurse takes care of / attends to my wounds." The first definition on Google says "be present" or "go regularly to" This sense is usually used for places which fits: "I attend a prestigious university on the East coast." The second sense, "deal with" or "give practical help and care to" or "pay attention to" fits more closely with the sense in "the nurse takes care of my wounds." Context clues will help you understand which meaning is best. The first definition is not always the right one.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

I know, I know that the context is a key. I can draw the anology now with my native: 'paziti' means 'pay attention' but also could be 'take care of'. Now I see that in global, attend is perceived as 'paziti'. Thanks.

June 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SierraSlim

Well, the truth is that it takes longer to acquire a large vocabulary in a foreign language than most purveyors of language courses would like us to believe.

A typical adult native English speaker has a vocabulary in the range of 20,000 to 35,000 words. A typical 8 year-old native English speaker has a vocabulary approaching 10,000 words.

I think I will know about 1,800 Italian words by the time I finish the Duolingo course. You can do a lot with 1,800 words, but most of us will require much more time and energy to acquire a vocabulary approaching that of a native speaker.

Check out this website for more information, and you can take a simple 5-minute test that will give you an estimate of the size of your English vocabulary.

ClickHere

After you take their test, read their blog for more information.

By the way, your English is pretty good from what I can tell.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

Thanks!! That's a good website.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyriddle

All languages have words with more than one meaning. Yours too. It's just that you're so used to it that you don't register that in a conscious level. Learning a language by learning vocabulary is a very old approach and I accept it as a valid one in the some levels of learning. But the real feel of the language can only be found in learning through communicating in that language and making the effort of understanding others and making yourself understood.

Mind you, the other problem all languages have is: synonyms. Related to your complain in an oblique way, but also something that may frustrate a lot of people.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

Yes, I know that my language have multifaceted words. But it's more rational and without phrasal verbs. There are also a lot fewer words/synonyms.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LeIouch

Don't try to force it, just work your way through content that you consider to be meaningful and compelling, books/podcasts/articles/whatever. Once you see these words in different contexts you will gradually understand the many meanings of words, and because the content is interesting you will have a higher chance of remembering. I've thought the same thing as you about French, though I've heard that German words are often very specific!

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

German's words are specific but there's often really similar words with totally another meanings. Example: angeben, angaben. And angeben also means a lot of things haha.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/voxlashon
  1. Get an English dictionary in English, if you haven't already... so you read definitions of English words in English. I've found that's really helped me build my Spanish vocab.

  2. Read a book in English that stretches you, but not so much that you can't get lost in the story reading it.

June 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

1 - yes, I've already tried it but I always like to draw the analogy with my own language translating it haha. I do it all the time but also translate.

2 - I started to read the articles all the time, newspapers and that things. Here comes Readlang. It's web reader which help a lot in translating while you're surfing. Idk if you know for it. If not, take a look at that :)

June 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/voxlashon

Thanks! Sorry I couldn't be more help.

June 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PonyDesu

Hi!

English isn't my native language, either. Like you, I want to enlarge my English vocabulary and know as many English words as possible. Please take a look at (this site)[http://www.antimoon.com/how/howtolearn.htm] and read it from cover to cover.

In a nutshell, you need to start using only English-English dictionaries, download an SRS software (I recommend Anki!) and add there sentences. Review them and try using them. You'll find more detail on this site. I've been using this method for... 5 months and I can't believe that I have made such a big progress.

By the way, "očekivati" - is Czech your native language? :)

June 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Ahtess

I'm glad I see this website because I do all 6 things. So yes, I have SRS, just Anki and I do that things. (I started 2 days before lol)

No, Croatian is mine. We don't have those accents and things all the time haha. Czech would say: očekávat :)

June 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PonyDesu

Oh, it looked Czech for me. Mine is Polish and "anticipate" means "oczekiwać". It's so similar!

June 23, 2015
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