6.3. Lexicon practice

One of the worst mistakes in language work is to keep vocabulary practice apart from grammar exercise. We are about avoiding it here. Books on both belong together.

 

Exercise 32. We can have virtual words for a grammar warm-up. Let us exercise the time frames. To begin, we can use our virtual phimo and bimo. In all languages, kids invent words to exercise language form and speech sounds. We can use inventions we may later abandon, too. Phimo can be our virtual noun. Bimo can be our virtual verb.

 

Link to the color code and virtual words

 

Example 1: Phimo had bimoed.
Answer: TO a PAST cognitive ground.

(a time frame open to a time in the PAST)

 

Example 2: Phimo will bimo.
Answer: ON a cognitive ground for the FUTURE.
Real time closed frame
(a time frame closed on a FUTURE time reference)

 

Please mind that our grounds for the PRESENT, PAST, or FUTURE are grammatical. We do not need insight greater than for classic grammar, which also recognizes the grammatical PRESENT, PAST and FUTURE.

 

1. Phimo bimoed.

 

2. Phimo will have bimoed.

 

3. Phimo has bimoed.

 

4. Phimo bimoes.

 

*****

 

We learn to find real words. Big dictionaries should not scare us. We do not have to memorize them. We can learn by referring to them.

 

It is good to use monolingual dictionaries and select on word sense. A monolingual dictionary has words and their definitions in the same language. Our brains can get the habit to choose on word sense. For example, the American Heritage dictionary has about 10 senses for the verb to be.

 

The word man has about 20 senses, and one of them is “a human being, a person”. Women also belong with this sense of the word, as in all men are created equal, a phrase we may know from the Declaration of Independence.

 

 

We may not want to worry about getting the money to buy expensive dictionaries, especially if we are just beginners. There are free dictionary resources, available over the web and in libraries.

 

There is the American Heritage dictionary at ahdictionary.com. There is the Free Dictionary at thefreedictionary.com. We also can go dictionary.reference.com, or merriam-webster.com. Spanish learners may like the spanishdict.com/diccionario. Larousse.fr or de.pons.com for example, allow multilingual interface. All the websites have extensive free contents.

 

*****

 

We may look up dictionaries for definitions, but we people naturally build own, mental lexicons for meaning. The word “mental” means “of the mind”. It comes from the Latin word “mens, mentis”, signifying the mind, disposition, feeling, character, heart, as well as soul. Reading dictionaries can help us build own lexicons in our minds.

 

American English ― same as any other language ― has formal and standard, as well as colloquial language uses. The colloquial use happens to depart far from the standard. Quite often, a use can be colloquial only if it is not standard, and colloquial language happens to go even opposite to standard.

 

Colloquially, the word “mental” may refer to insanity. Formally, a “mental illness” denotes an “illness of a mind”. Our use of the word “mental” has nothing to do with illness. A “mental lexicon” is a “vocabulary of a mind”. We can decide how we use words. Free speech could not require blind following, especially in colloquial uses.

 

Naturally, we need to have our language comprehension in our heads. Let us try building own word sense.

 

Stollen: a rich yeast bread containing dried fruit, such as raisins, candied fruit, such as citron, chopped nuts, and spices (ahdictionary.com)

 

In other words, stollen can be full-bodied sweetbread with fruit sweatmeats, grated or milled nuts, as well as marzipan or citron.

 

Obviously, own lexicons cannot be always a piece of cake. Let us think about cosmos, as in the American Heritage dictionary:
1. The universe regarded as an orderly, harmonious whole.
2. An ordered, harmonious whole.
3. Harmony and order as distinct from chaos.
4. pl. cos·mos·es or cosmos Any of various mostly Mexican herbs of the genus Cosmos.

 

Human civilization has had concepts of “cosmogonic strife”, and the outer space observably happens to have clashes. The cosmos flower grows also in the USA, up to the Olympic Pennsula in Washington (Wikipedia).

 

Here is my idea for the word “cosmos”:
1. space to include the planet Earth ― we can compare the “outer space”;
2. spatial reference to be mapped on itself, as in stereometry, mathematics, information technology, and philosophy (we can refer to the cosmos and give it attributes, we yet do not include the cosmos in any larger space, to map it);
3. American colorful garden flower to attract birds, similar to gillyflower in pink.

 

what-is-the-cosmos(Do not underestimate juniors learning, and please remember that the word “dude” is TABOO in official situations.)

 

There are a few kinds of the cosmos flower. The word “cosmos” comes from Greek. Also originally, it happened to refer to the outer space. If we want to find out about the position of the Earth in space, we can visit nasa.gov. NASA is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of America.

 

A good idea is to read a dictionary “until we get it”. If we are not sure what the “solar system” means, we open the dictionary at “solar” and “system”. Sooner than later, we are going to be able to flip pages and read big dictionaries just like books. Let us try our linguistic natures with real words and big dictionaries.

Exercise 33. Part One of the journey shows irregular verbs. Appendix 2 and Appendix 3 present irregular verbs with their sound patterns, for example,

mean ~ meant, meant;
meet ~ met ~ met;
read ~ read ~ read.

 

Could we try “summing up” forms, as in Exercise 31? Please mind that word sense can be much unlike a simple sum. More, natural languages do not have fixed connotations. A “squid” can be a marine animal. It may be a bird toy. “A bit of cosmos” may be a garden stretch grown with cosmos flowers to attract birds. Let us mind our time frames.

 

Example: The goldfish awoke, hearing a croak.
Answer: a/wake, {ON} the PAST ground
PAST arrow CLOSED real-time frame

 

1. The motmot had completely befallen for a piece of fresh stollen.

 

2. The skylark found nothing to outbid the bit of cosmos with a squid.

 

3. The soybean alone outshone the legumes fair in Bayonne.

 

4. The hornbill had overlooked the rook by the brook.

 

5. The golden frog behind the chilidog overslept and wept.

 

6. The windflower withstood the rude mood in the wood.

 

7. The woodpecker has custom remade the pasquinade to treat his clade.

 

8. The spotted redshank bachelorette reset her buret for the bouncing bet.

 

9. The kinkajou understood that honey was for feel-good.

 

10. The kittiwake has shaken and partaken in casing bacon in Macon.

 

Feel welcome to further practice.6-4-the-simple-and-the-perfect_more-lexicon-practice

 

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