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Chambers of Vocab Queez - Pt 42

Define the words! This is in deference to online_stalker's flash card avoidance.

Poll #1225619 whodahammawhattasamma?'













Jul. 18th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
thank you for your pity, b. i seriously need to bone up on this vocab. i've only got five days left. i finally figured out the difference between a sycophant and a sybarite, since these two words kept showing up on my practice exams, but now that i know what they mean i'm sure they will be useless to me come test time.
Jul. 18th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
you ever try mnemonics?
i'm dyslexic, and have a really good vocab now, but when i was a kid, like in second grade, vocab drills were the pits. "Chambers of Vocab" (that reviewer had a very different opinion than I do) actually refers to an old Apple IIe game which was, ironically, what helped me get into words. Since then, they have re-done aspects of the game in several similar style games, but none which captured my interest the same way.

My biggest challenge in list-drill was similar words - desert and dessert - I knew the definition of both, but I couldn't fucking tell them apart if they weren't in a sentence - contextless vocab was a personal hell!

I think a kids book eventually gave me the answer - a Beverly Cleary maybe? Dessert has two 's' in it, because you want it to last longer, desert has one, because you want to get through it quickly. Holy fuck - it was a revelation! I could remember spelling and meaning in a contextless state by adding my own context to the word!

I use Mnemonic devices pretty heavily in a lot more than vocab, and it always helps me when I need to memorize a bunch of shit - it turns rote drilling into a thinking game, which I always absorb and retain better.

In your example, for instance, a sycophant vs a sybarite - a sycophant makes you sick with their flattery, but you'll often find a sybarite drinking top shelf at the local.

Once I got older, learning more of other languages (particularly Greek and Latin) helped a whole lot in being able to figure out a word I had never seen before, even in a contextless state. Unless you have some sorta scary John Travolta brain tumor thing, I doubt you'll be absorbing two classic languages in five days, but running through the flashcards with mnemonics might help you at least get through it, even if it only marginally improves your retention.

The point is, don't kill all your brain cells tonight, you might need a few by next week.

Edited at 2008-07-18 01:33 pm (UTC)
Jul. 18th, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: you ever try mnemonics?
that is a great idea. i have tried that with a few words in the flashcard book where the mnemonic device was apparent to me. the one that comes to mind right now is "impunity" - it means "immune to punishment" and i can just kind of see both the words "immune" and "punishment" in it. i don't know if that makes much sense, but it does to me so i roll with it. now if only i can come up with 500 mnemonic devices for all the vocabulary words i don't know yet from my book in the span of five days. oh, i give up.

also, i had no idea you were dyslexic. i record books for the dyslexic on monday nights! this is how we can scam a free copy of that book i taped with the sex scene in it. also, i apologize belatedly for any tasteless dyslexia jokes i may have undoubtedly made in the past in relation to said readings. i'm a douche.
Jul. 18th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
good luck mnemonicizing - it helps! it also doesn't have to make sense to anyone else but you, so go for it.

don't worry about dyslexic jokes, i think they are hysterical - eddie izzard did a whole bit on them the last time i saw him - "why is it that the word that describes this horrible condition has like 17 spellings, and is pretty much impossible for someone who is dyslexic to come up with? the condition should be called 'duh' or 'wha' or something simple man! dyslexia, and all its variants use more than half the goddamn scrabble tiles! it is a killer scrabble word through - if you ever threw it down against a dyslexic kid, they'd kill you."
Jul. 18th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
Re: ha
LOL @ Eddie Izzard quote.

Jul. 18th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
Re: you ever try mnemonics?
i had no idea you are dyslexic
Jul. 18th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
neither did my folks - i found out in college when i ordered a speedreading course. i always assumed my word/order issues were sight based, but they were actually cognitively based.
Jul. 18th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
What sort of test are you taking?

I admit that I was one of those library geeks that read reference books for run. I got through the middle of the S's in our dictionary at home. This is greatly responsible for my vocabulary, but since I've jammed myself into a community of writers, I have discovered that what impresses the neighborhood ghetto kids isn't anywhere near up to snuff in the profession writing world.
So I find myself curious as to what test you could possibly be taking that requires your vocabulary muscle to be built up, for I ponder the notion that I might benefit from taking on a similar endeavor for my own betterment.

Jul. 18th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
i'm taking the gre next wednesday and i can't wait for it to be over.


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