A language fluency scale for use in this subforum

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Fraggle Rocker, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Aaargh! Although the word may have gradually moved that way (apparently - when it is used) that's not the meaning. "Tomboy" would be closer - displaying an "unladylike" enthusiasm or energy, given to "talking back".
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  3. NCDane Registered Senior Member

    I also wonder about the 25k claimed for lawyers.

    Anecdotally, however, a lawyer cousin of mine knew
    what the word "eleemosynary" meant without looking
    it up. Do you? No cheating now!

    I am guessing that word alone denotes knowledge of
    at least 25k others.

    That doesn't leave much, does it?

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? I read it. Out with it.
    Dubliners? Maybe JJ found himself there but I doubt it.

    I am no Wittgenstein scholar, but I do know his early
    Logico-Tractatus and his later posthumously published
    work are deliberately incompatible.

    I have recently read the hilarious book Wittgenstein's Poker,
    which paints him in an absurd light. Snippets I previously read
    from his later work were just as bad. I am not tempted to go
    further, and I predict fewer and fewer scholars will devote
    themselves to his work because he is not worth the effort.
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  5. NCDane Registered Senior Member

    My problem is that I could not believe you were claiming to now know less
    than you did when you graduated from college. Putting it in the light most
    favorable to you I thought perhaps you meant to say "accumulated" rather
    than "attenuated".

    Parsimonious expression is usually best.
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  7. NCDane Registered Senior Member

    Invalidates what contention, and how does it invalidate it?

    I also try to write clearly, although I do not vary style according
    to who I am addressing. But then I am not as advanced as you in
    such fields as physics.

    I do know enough to wonder why you style yourself Schrödinger’s dog.
    You don’t like cats? Or is it something more subtle than that from
    a master of irony?
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Did you bother to read my reply when James R asked?

    I don't. It was a title given to me by another poster (in jest), and I found it amusing enough to adopt.

    I adore cats.

    He suggested that I only "bark" to bring attention to myself, so that I don't disappear.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  9. NCDane Registered Senior Member

    Right. Your masterful, elegant irony went right by me.

    Then you should have addressed the contradiction with your source.

    I have already spoken of the need to better source the number
    1,700. On the other hand it is a bit hard to credit the precision
    of one person's journey through the entire gargantuan OED.

    Knit-picking, and the same word could be applied to anyone's
    coinages, every one of them, including Milton.

    See here:

    Etymology "Admirable"

    (from link, emphasis added):
    And yes, I know what "ur" means, so don't try to tell me its use as
    a prefix makes any difference here.

    Stop being ridiculous. Age is not a disqualifying factor in this context
    and you know it.

    That guy who drove himself blind plowing singlehandedly through the
    entire QED is no more likely to have been accurate than whoever it was
    who arrived at the number 1,700.
  10. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    It wasn't irony. I was genuinely amused at your error.

    I did. I gave a link to that source.

    I fail to see how a link to "un admirable" refutes my link to "admirable" (which was the example I gave).

    That would be incorrect. More modern sources tend to be regarded more favourably. If not I wonder how science manages...

    Really? Blind?
    Couldn't a computer have done it?
  11. NCDane Registered Senior Member

    I have enough to do keeping up with posts addressed
    directly to me, so if you think you have found a problem
    with my writing how about telling me about it, and not
    someone else.



    Finally, after 15 or so posts, you say something meritworthy.

    I thought it was Carroll's Cheshire Cat rather than Schroedinger's Cat
    in the fateful box who was putting on a disappearing act.
  12. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Oh, one other hint for doubters.
    Use this link, and try a search on some of those "obscure" words.
    While I don't read The Times every day, it is the only newspaper I buy.
    For example there are entries on 31 May 2003, 30 January 2011, 30 March 2009 (plus other dates) for "barouche", and similar numbers for many of the other words on that list.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  13. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    The question was asked by someone else.

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    In your opinion.

    And it was Schrödinger's cat that (popularly) didn't know whether he was alive or not until observed. He made the comment (by PM) in the middle of a discussion on Schroedinger's cat and what the "experiment" meant.
  14. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    No, people would think I was being stuck up/biggety/putting on airs, AND they would not understand me in many cases.

    My Smarter Half would... but she's smarter, so we'd expect that.

    According to my Certified Protection Officer training, the average American reads, writes and speaks on a 6th-grade level(A depressing thought, no?).
    So for effective communication to an audience of unknown intellectual ability, you talk as if you are speaking to sixth graders.

    Besides that, it strikes me as rather dumb, as well as disrespectful, to not attempt to talk to someone in a way most conducive to understanding.

    Pretty much this...although I'm afraid I really went fast and didn't confirm.*embarrassed*

    James linked a word test in a different thread, and it estimated my understood vocabulary at around 92,000 words. That one's more modern and likely more accurate, as it gave me more options-understood, inferred,something below inferred, that I took to mean "guessed meaning from word elements".
    But understood meant I could probably sit and write a passable definition, from scratch.

    I knew what a nostrum is-usually to describe the sort of patent "medicines" they sold in the late 1800's that were said to cure everything, but, at best, usually had opiates and/or alcohol and or unrefined mineral oil.

    You know, Snake oil.

    Fortunately, I have no theory of everything to push on you.

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    Quite frankly, I think that would go along with believing that the universe actually makes sense or has an overreaching purpose.
    No point I can believe in.:shrug:

    When I wrote "slam" type free verse, I wasn't necessarily interesting in rhyming, but it was the percussive click of consonants, as well as dramatic rhythm, that really got to me...and I didn't care to write in a really verbose style. Free verse, plain English, pared down and elegant in its' simplicity.
    Like a zen painting, intimating far more than it actually states outright.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  15. adoucette Caca Occurs Valued Senior Member

    Well there's the problem.

    We aren't talking about the same language.

    The NYTs and the Times don't write the same language, and the guy who made up that test was a Limey.

    Try looking up the same words on the two papers sites and see the difference in usage.

    In the England paper Gibe was used 744 times, in the NYTs 14 times.
    Tyro in England was used 655 times, in the NYTs 20 times.
    Trow twice correctly in England, only misspelled as Throw in the NYTs
    Amain twice in England, Amain in the NYTs zero
    Kail twice as the veg in England, never in the NYTs

    So what we are seeing is that Brits have a leg up on the test.

  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    If we're counting distinctly spelled words then we're including not only do/does/did/done but want/wants/wanted and dog/dogs/dog's/dogs'. We can't know what the people who made up your Victorian Era vocabulary test were thinking, but I think it's most likely that they had no intention of counting inflected forms. If we count them because they are "distinctly spelled" then suddenly we're all up in the 60K+ range. I did not mean to imply that when I developed my scale, but perhaps that's the professional standard so I should have. It certainly rescues my calibrations!

    It has validity at the bottom of the scale. For quite a while, when you're first learning a language, inflected forms are just as much work as the basic form. But this would make it difficult to compare fluency in a heavily inflected language like Spanish with a lightly inflected language like English or with an inflection-free language like Chinese.
    Just pick a hundred words at random and look up their etymologies. I'll get around to it, but not soon.
    If it shows up in the funnies it must be more widely known than that.
    Crappy metaphor, you could write Obama's speeches. Everyone agrees on what a rotten egg is. We don't all agree on what's great literature. Virtually everyone can smell the rot in an egg. Millions of people, like yours truly, can't understand highbrow literature well enough to distinguish great from sophomoric, and those who can don't always agree.
    So why should we take your word that the entire literary community is wrong about Joyce? This sounds an awful lot like a situation we encounter on SciForums rather often: the precocious teenager with two semesters of college physics telling us that he's found a flaw in the Theory of Relativity. The difference is that the scientific method can be used to test his hypothesis.

    We can't test your hypothesis so easily, but we can at least ask you to elaborate on your reasons for dismissing Joyce as well as your own rebuttals to the literary community's praise for his work.
    I learned that word in 1959 in my second-year Spanish class. We had just been taught the Spanish word limosnero for "beggar." Someone asked the origin of this odd word and apparently the teacher had been asked this before, because she explained that it came, via the same path through Latin, from the same Greek word as English "eleemosynary."

    Do I get a million bucks from you too, to add to the million James owes me for "plantigrade?"
    Apparently not in my case unless we've agreed to count inflected forms.
    Hmm. By putting my knowledge in a favorable light you managed at the same time to accuse me of misusing a word that is common among scientists and engineers. A backhanded compliment for sure.

    I'm as capable of modesty as the next person.
    Yes, we should definitely avoid using obscure five-syllable words whenever possible. Glad to see you have a sense of humor.

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  17. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Actually it's zero for the The Times too. Both instances listed are a run-together of " a main".

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    Amain is, and remains, archaic.
  18. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Why, you filthy liars, you. You should be ashamed.
  19. leopold Valued Senior Member

    limey? as in shit on a shingle?
    i love my navy.

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  20. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    I thought that was an army description.
  21. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    The US Air Force has it too. SOS gets around like...chipped beef on toast.
  22. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Pfft, I bet they got it from the army. After it was the USAAF for a long time.

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  23. leopold Valued Senior Member

    description of british sailors because they are the ones that started carrying limes to combat rickets during long voyages.
    shit on a shingle is an amercan navy term for british sailors because they were called tars.

    bit of trivia, no offense intended.

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