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Old 7th June 2010, 02:33 AM   #1
Cide Hamete Benengeli VII
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Default Building a core vocabulary

One area of concern for students of Spanish at all levels is building vocabulary, and more specifically, how to build a core vocabulary that will be useful to you no matter what Spanish-speaking country you visit, or what native Spanish speaker you may communicate with, or whose texts you may read.

We all have the opportunity to learn new vocabulary as we engage with Spanish in a variety of contexts, reading, listening to music, going to films, watching the news, talking to native speakers, taking classes, etc. I think that the Dicionario del estudiante is an ideal text to compliment the efforts of intermediate and advanced learners to expand their vocabulary.
The Dicionario del estudiante contains a subset of the words included in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (DRAE) and other works by the RAE. The entries in the Dicionario del estudiante were selected by the RAE in consultation with the respective academies of all Spanish-speaking countries. The intended audience for the Dictionary is secondary school students between the ages of 12 and 18 in all Spanish-speaking countries so the definitions given for each entry are intended to represent the fundamental general vocabulary used throughout the Spanish speaking world.

I seem to recall that one of Ben’s tips for massively improving your Spanish was to read the dictionary, which he mentioned that his sister was doing. If you want to go that route, this dictionary is certainly much less intimidating to read than an unabridged one, and while not pocketsize it is certainly much more portable than the monster DRAE and easier to curl up with, but don’t be fooled by its diminutive size or the fact that it’s aimed at school students. Even if you only learned a quarter of the words in it, you’d still have a fantastic vocabulary covering many topics: reading about the latest financial scandals in the Spanish language press? You’ll find useful words like malversación and desflaco. If you’re into the geological sciences you’ll find gems like silúrico (I expect Doctor Who fans will have an advantage in this case).

Some other ways to use this dictionary to build your vocabulary:

1. Flip through it and pluck out a word a day at random. No matter what you select, it’s bound to be useful!

2. Need to look up a word in Spanish? Reach for this dictionary before going for any of its larger cousins. If the word is included here, the definitions are likely to be more concise and clear.

3. If you’re an intermediate student of Spanish, this is an ideal monolingual dictionary to cut your teeth on.

4. Reading the newspaper or watching the evening news are excellent ways to expose yourself to a wide array of vocabulary on varying topics and this dictionary is the perfect lexical companion to those activities.
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Old 7th June 2010, 04:16 AM   #2
Uriel
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That's great! I have a giant Latin-American Spanish/English dictionary and get the word of the day sent to my email every day by SpanishDict.com, which is cool. I also read online news in Spanish and I agree that it's an excellent way to learn vocabulary, 'cause I have to look up about every fifth word....

On the other hand, after reading about the derrame de petroleo en el Golfo for a week, I was pleasantly surprised to read a medical article and find that derrame cerebral is also the term for stroke (the cerebrovascular kind, not the Billy Squier kind). That kind of cross-reference is great for cementing a meaning in your head.
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Old 7th June 2010, 05:37 AM   #3
MraNir
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I really think your message is so useful. I am trying to improve my english and I have a dictionary called Collins Cobuild (english-english) and I think is good to read definitions in the language you're learning. It works.
And if you catch it once and again, to look for any word, your vocabulary will increase easily.
Great post!!
I need your help please, as I do not understand some parts of your message CHB VI....
1. What does "bound" mean? Complete sentence: that bounds to be useful
2. And "Curl up"?
3. Flip through it and pluck out a word a day - well phrasal verbs are difficult to me
4. "to cut your teeth on"
If you could help, I will be very appreciated.
Have a nice day!
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Old 7th June 2010, 06:58 AM   #4
greytop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MraNir View Post
I really think your message is so useful. I am trying to improve my English and I have a dictionary called Collins Cobuild (English-English) and I think is good to read definitions in the language you're learning. It works.
And if you catch it once and again, to look for any word, your vocabulary will increase easily.
Great post!!
I need your help please, as I do not understand some parts of your message CHB VI....
1. What does "bound" mean? Complete sentence: It is bounds to be useful
In this context bound = certain
2. And "Curl up"? Find somewhere comfortable and relax with...
3. Flip through it (pick pages at random) and pluck (pluck = pick) out a word a day - well phrasal verbs are difficult to me
4. "to cut your teeth on" to start on (as in a baby getting first teeth and needing anything to chew on)
If you could help, I will be very appreciated.
Have a nice day!
Hi MraNir. Your English is very good
This sentence gave me a bit of trouble though: And if you catch it once and again, to look for any word, your vocabulary will increase easily.
I´m not sure if you mean that to use the dictionary regularly will improve your vocabulary, or to look for a word more than once will do it. I suspect the first meaning. Suggestion: "If you use it again and again to look up words, your vocabulary will quickly and easily improve"
I hope that helps
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Old 7th June 2010, 10:29 AM   #5
saffron
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Default core vocab

Quote:
Originally Posted by MraNir View Post
I really think your message is so useful. I am trying to improve my english and I have a dictionary called Collins Cobuild (english-english) and I think is good to read definitions in the language you're learning. It works.
And if you catch it once and again, to look for any word, your vocabulary will increase easily.
Great post!!
I need your help please, as I do not understand some parts of your message CHB VI....
1. What does "bound" mean? Complete sentence: that bounds to be useful
2. And "Curl up"?
3. Flip through it and pluck out a word a day - well phrasal verbs are difficult to me
4. "to cut your teeth on"
If you could help, I will be very appreciated.
Have a nice day!
Hi
I had intended to reply to your message, but Grey Top got in first and his reply was better than mine would have been! If you would like a further suggestion ...."I will be very appreciated" doesn't seem right phrase would be better as "I would appreciate it " or "I would be very appreciative" I am in the UK it may be american english has a slightly different turn of phrase.

Your English is very good much, much better than my spanish.

Last edited by saffron; 7th June 2010 at 10:32 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 8th June 2010, 03:56 AM   #6
Uriel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saffron View Post
Hi
I had intended to reply to your message, but Grey Top got in first and his reply was better than mine would have been! If you would like a further suggestion ...."I will be very appreciated" doesn't seem right phrase would be better as "I would appreciate it " or "I would be very appreciative" I am in the UK it may be american english has a slightly different turn of phrase.

Your English is very good much, much better than my spanish.
Nope, it's not American. I think it's a direct translation of agradecido. Use "grateful" in place of "appreciated" and it will work perfectly in English, MraNir -- "I will be very grateful".

You are going to love the wealth of phrasal verbs in English the way I cherish all these verb endings in Spanish! You're going to think, Good lord, do they lie awake at night thinking more of these up? Who needs all these?
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Old 8th June 2010, 04:25 AM   #7
cdowis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MraNir View Post
I really think your message is so useful. I am trying to improve my english and I have a dictionary called Collins Cobuild (english-english) and I think is good to read definitions in the language you're learning. It works.
And if you catch it once and again, to look for any word, your vocabulary will increase easily.
Great post!!
I need your help please, as I do not understand some parts of your message CHB VI....
1. What does "bound" mean? Complete sentence: that bounds to be useful
Bound, in this context, is used to indicate the present subjunctive mood in English. It means "probably", "very likely". "With such a nice home, you are bound to be happy." It is an informal way of saying "you should be...".

"Curl up" comes from the image of a cat lying on a pillow or chair, very relaxed. You usually hear it in the phrase, "Curl up with a good book." You are on the sofa reading a book in a relaxed setting.

"Flip through" means to go through the pages quickly, only glancing at the pages and not reading it. You can flip through a magazine, for example, only looking at the pictures, or the headlines.

Last edited by cdowis; 8th June 2010 at 04:43 AM.
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