Tag Archives: vocabulary

How Do You Pronounce That?

Have you ever read a book, encountered a word you’ve seen many times and know the definition of, yet you’ve never heard it spoken aloud? This was asked at the Grammarly website here.

Has this ever happened to you? I have a good example of this.

I’d read the word paradigm many times. Basically, it means a model or a pattern. You can read the definition here. But I’d never heard someone read this word out. I’d heard the word spoken before, but I never connected the two. When I saw the word, I always thought, “That’s such a stupid sounding word… para-diggum.”

There are plenty of other words. Hyperbole? Is that a football game? The Hyper Bowl? Or the character Hermione from Harry Potter. Hermy-own? I know how these are actually pronounced, so no problem with those for me. But there are many who don’t know how to say them.

What are some words you knew in printed form, but had/have no idea how to pronounce? Share them in the comments below.

The Teaching Urge – English Lesson Videos

As you probably know, I taught English for eleven years in Japan. It still feels strange that I’m not doing it anymore. I spent more than a quarter of my life doing it. But I have that urge to do something, and I want to make sure I don’t forget grammar rules. I’ve been thinking about what to do, and then it came to me a couple weeks ago: easy one-point lesson videos!

There are English lesson videos on YouTube, of course. But I’m planning on doing something that I haven’t seen (although may exist). I’m going to be doing simple lessons that tackle common problems that people have with English. But the thing is, this won’t only be for English learners, it’ll also be for those who are fluent in English. You see, this is where the writing and editing part comes in. There are many problems that English speakers have with their own language, especially in writing.

This is where you come in. A lot of you are readers and writers. What are some English grammar problems you have? Let me know in the comments below. Your idea will likely become a lesson video!

A Great Resource for Writers

I discovered a great blog today that I have to share with you. If you’re struggling with making your writing stand out with a variety of words and phrases, this is the place for you. Bryn Donovan has a very informative blog, as well as a book that just came out.

Going through her blog briefly, you’ll notice some of her more popular posts are Master Lists. Actually, her book is Master Lists for Writers. It looks very interesting, and after moving to Canada, I’m considering buying it. Looks like a good resource for livening up my writing.

But back to the Master Lists.  There are three that I’ve seen on the blog:

These are some long lists that are very useful. And these are just the first three sections of the book. There’s a lot more in the book, from what I’ve seen of the table of contents.

So, check out her blog. I’m following it now, and plan to check out more.

Cooking Taught Me a New Word

Here’s my dinner.

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It’s beef with bean sprouts, onions, a spicy sauce, and garlic stems. Or so I called them. Turns out that the correct term for garlic stems is garlic scapes. I had no idea. Even my iPhone thinks it isn’t a word. It’s underlined.

So, you never know when you’ll learn a new word. What have you learned recently? Any interesting words?

Even a Writer Needs to Learn Vocabulary

I was recently introduced to a vocabulary building website, vocabulary.com.  It tests your vocabulary and introduces new words to you, which you then have to try to correctly answer questions about.  It’s a kind of learning tool that uses spaced repetition to help you recall what you’ve studied, and it regularly goes back to learned words and retests you.

Why would I, a person with a good vocabulary and just happens to be an English teacher, work on my vocabulary?  Well, it’s not a bad idea to improve myself.  I frequently come across words I haven’t seen before in novels, and it makes me think about my own writing. I want to keep my vocabulary up.

What are some other ways to acquire new words for use in writing?  What do you do?

Write Better by Reading

This is not a revelation, as this is a very well-known fact.  If you write, you most likely read.  And while reading, you are subconsciously taking in new techniques and vocabulary.  I think this is extremely important.

I’m currently reading Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson, and I’ve noticed how his writing draws me in to the world so easily.  I feel like I’m there.  Without concentrating on how he writes, I just let the voice continue in my mind while I started narrating a scene of my own.  I tried using the same style of narration, particularly the action and the descriptions of facial expressions, and found I came out with a more authentic and captivating scene.   It worked.

I wasn’t stuck in the Malazan world when thinking of my own story, but the same general richness transferred over to my own thoughts.

How much do you think reading helps your writing?