Crazy test ...

Guest   Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:49 am GMT
It sounds crazy, but I tried today to test my English, not grammar wise, but to see how good-or bad- my vocabulary is. I randomly opened the dictionary on two pages and started looking at all the words in those pages one by one….Jess, I was shocked to see a vast number of words that I don’t even have a clue what it means. Look down what I opened the dictionary on (the words with stars I don’t know) :

B: p:
Balmy *profligate
*Balneal *profluent
*Balneology *profroma
*Balneum maris profound
*Balsa profoundly
Balsam profoundness
Balsamic profundity
Balsamous *profuse
*Baluster *profusely
*Balustrade *profusion
*Bambino *prog
Bamboo *progenitor
Ban *progenitress
*Banal *progeny
*Banality *proglottis
Banana *prognathic / prognathous
Band *prognostic
Bandage *prognosticate
Bandbox *prognosticator
*Bandeau program
*Banderol *programme
*Bandicoot progress
*Bandit progression
Bandmaster *progressionism
*Bandog *progressionist
*Bandoleer progressive
Bandstand progressively
*Bandy prohibit
*Bandy-legged prohibited
*Bane prohibition
*Baneful prohibitive
Bang prohibitory
*Bangle project

So I was wondering, how much the English natives from different levels would know from the above list. How would you evaluate me? same leve as a 15-year-old?
Guest   Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:54 am GMT
here is the same list:

B: p:
Balmy……. *profligate
*Balneal…… *profluent
*Balneology …… *profroma
*Balneum maris….. profound
*Balsa….. profoundly
Balsam….. profoundness
Balsamic….. profundity
Balsamous….. *profuse
*Baluster….. *profusely
*Balustrade….. *profusion
*Bambino….. *prog
Bamboo….. *progenitor
Ban ….. *progenitress
*Bana….. *progeny
*Banality….. *proglottis
Banana….. *prognathic / prognathous
Band….. *prognostic
Bandage….. *prognosticate
Bandbox….. *prognosticator
*Bandeau….. program
*Banderol….. *programme
*Bandicoot….. progress
*Bandit….. progression
Bandmaster….. *progressionism
*Bandog….. *progressionist
*Bandoleer….. progressive
Bandstand….. progressively
*Bandy…… prohibit
*Bandy-legged….. prohibited
*Bane….. prohibition
*Baneful….. prohibitive
Bang….. prohibitory
*Bangle….. project

So I was wondering, how much the English natives from different levels would know from the above list. How would you evaluate me? same leve as a 15-year-old?
zxczxc   Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:53 pm GMT
Most native speakers would be on a slightly higher level. The problem with looking in a dictionary is that there are a myriad of words no one ever uses... The important thing is to know when to use which word, not necessarily just how many words.
Guest   Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:47 pm GMT
As a native speaker, I know most of those "p" words except for: profligate, profluent, profroma, prog, proglottis, prognathic, prognathous. I've never ever seen any of those words before.

As for the "b" words, the only one I knew that you didn't know was bambino, which is an Italian word, and not one ever used in English.
Damian in N2   Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:50 pm GMT
Surely you know the word profligate? I certainly do....ha!
stella   Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:31 am GMT
the important point to speak english ike a native is not how many words you know but what you can do with the words that you do know. even if you have just a limited amount of vocab, if you are creative enough to put these words into completely new connections, you will be able to express almost everything you want. i did the same thing you did, and i was just as shocked about how many words i didn't know. a much better way to improve your vocab (instead of trying to memorize entire dictionaries...) is to watch many movies in your NATIVE tongue with ENGLISh subtitles (take the ones for the hearing impaired, they are best). then, whenever there is an interesting word that you would use in your language on the screen, you will have it spelled out in the subtitle. there are also websites where you can order a daily program that sends you one word per day (my favourite one is "to defenestrate". to throw sth. out of a window ;) ), and reading English books will also help you to get a better feeling for the language. when you read, don't make the mistake to look up every single word that you are not 100 percent sure of. what counts is that you start developing a feeling for what a word means, which you will if you read because books are supposed to have loads of different emotions in them. try this, and your (already very good) english will get even better. promise!
mike   Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:34 am GMT
Speaking of dictionaries, do you think it is better to look up words using an English-English dictionary, or an English to other language dic.? Maybe for beginners it is better to use the later one, but what about at later stages? I’ve always felt some sort of guiltiness whenever I am not using the English-english Dictionary.