The limited vocabulary is not a problem

As an ESL learner, when you are reading some contents that have some unfaimliar words, your first reaction is that your vocabulary is so limited, you need to improve your vocabulary. That’s wrong. There are many Chinese students have spent too much time to memorise the vocabulary, many of them also considered that learning English is the same as to memorise the vocabulary only. This is a typical cognition bias.

The contents that you are unable to comprehend, which might have three possibilities:

  1. You don’t know the strange words.
  2. You don’t know some grammar knowledge.
  3. You don’t know some concepts or slang.

For the first situation, we can look up the dictionary and find the proper definition to put in the sentence that you’ve just read. But we always ignored the second and third situation, it is not obvious to see. For example:
The silhouette of a moving cat waved across the moonlight, and turning my head to watch it, I saw that I was not alone - fifty feet away a figure had emerged from the shadow of my neighbour’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars.
As you can see, even you look up the dictionary, you still unable to understand this sentence. Because it has some metaphors and grammars that are not easy to understand. The concepts and slang need so much time to familiar, the grammar knowledge you can learn through many books, this article will tell you how to learn a word.

The only advice that I suggested here is just to read the dictionary carefully and slowly. The faculty of your memory is not reliable, you are hard to memorise the things that you don’t understand. Whenever you are trying to memorise everything, trying to understand it first.

A word has the forms, prounciation, definitions, synonyms and phrases construction, you can’t just use your memory to store all of these things. You must treat them as a cell in the language, not the only definition that you have memorised. Every word has its own structure to fill in the language, is like a free spirit, not a brick that build in a wall and can’t be changed forever. It is also like a drop of water, it can be flowed into any direction or be replaced in another drop of water.

When I started trying to read the dictionary carefully, I found that to memorise the vocbulary is total wrong. When I was memorising a word, I’d always try to translate it to Chinese automatically. Even I have spent too much time to memorise, I still can’t use it in the sentence correctly. There are many word can’t just be translated as one-by-one mapping in another language. For example, we can translate “Apple” to “苹果”, but we can’t find a simple word or pharse to translate “vary” to Chinese. The Chinese word “打” can’t just be translated to English word “hit”. If you do this, how to translate 打架(fighting),打车(take a taxi),打电话(calling) in which start with “hit”? It’s also the limitation of bilingual dictionary.

English vocabulary has a feature that the common word is hard to learn and the rare word is easy to learn. For example, “notorious”, “proapaganda” and “shimmer” is easy to learn in dictionary, because they just have one or few definitions. But some words we are common to see such as “by”, “if”, “make”, that they are hard to learn, because they have many definitions which have the very little differences. Many common and simple word are hard to be used correctly. For example, I need get some help. is not correct, we should say “need to do something” or “need doing something” .

Being an ESL learner, the hardest part of writing is not the limited of vocabulary, it’s the propper sentences to express your ideas, it’s the right grammar syntax, it’s the simple and clear words that your’ve chosen, not the rare and abstract words translated from your mother language. The common and simple words are more important than rare and complicated words. Simple is better than everything, it’s easy to make, easy to find error, easy to be understand by your readers. The limited of vocabulary is not worse, it’s good, it makes your sentences to keep a simple style.

Looking up the dictionary while reading a book will slow down your understanding, but it doesn’t matter, some books need to read slowly, it gives your time to think clearly.

If you find some words that you don’t fully understand, or it might has a little bit errors, don’t hestate, read the the dictionary carefully, even it might be learned from your childhood.

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其实我觉得英语基础薄弱的人,一方面应该积累适当词汇,一方面应该从原版英美儿童启蒙书开始读起,读到大学程度的书籍,期间背诵积累语料(就像我们学语文一样)。我现在就在这么做。因为如果英语基础实在薄弱,纯英语词典也不是那么好读,未必能看明白(就算勉强看明白,也要花费很多时间)。

读自己懂的,慢慢积累,才是正道。

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楼主的题目就是错的,
我估摸楼主是想谈 ”单词量” 的问题,
但楼主给出的的题目实际意思是: 词汇本身所能传达出的含义如何,是词汇本身的能力“局限”。比如词汇的局限性可以用手势来弥补,文字表达的局限性配以图画弥补,诸如此类概念。
如果想说 "词汇量“ 的概念, “Vocabulary is not a problem.” 这样表达足以。

接着只看了一句话,就有错误。
slang是不可数名词,加s直接错了。

最后想干脆欣赏一下楼主引用的句子吧。抄都能抄错了,此处明显少了一个with
… was standing WITH his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars.

写的真烂。

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感谢反馈,我正愁着自己发现不了这些微小的错误。

不要打击人。

读儿童书不是个好的选项,就像如果老外学中文同样不会从三字经,小蝌蚪找妈妈这样的书籍开始。
读书慢并不是问题,问题主要是读不懂。

还“微小”的错误?说的就跟你写的没 ”大“ 问题似的。

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这些网站用起来挺方便的,可以协助检查语法错误:

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你倒是具体说说?

Sakula 兄,這個名取的好,還好不是取 Saku …,失禁時帶一下可能有效

你说的这个没错,但用 are not a problem 在这里有点奇怪,are 和 a 不对称。

dylan_lee 兄,在下的文法真的不行,都是瞎說的,王兄的見解應該會正確些 :grinning:,那位 saku 兄應該經驗多些,哈!哈哈哈哈哈!

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我是举个例子,像四六级过了的同学,可以从小学读起。

just 有两个form,一个是adverb还有一个是adjective。 adverb是大量使用的,在意思上大概可以分为两种用法:

  1. 做刚刚过去一小段时间讲:
    I’ve just finished my lanuch.
  2. 做“仅仅”,“刚好”,“恰好”讲:
    He’s just a kid, don’t blame him.

其他的用法你应该去翻词典,或者你的问题可以再具体一点。

我用习惯了。

其实这正是英语学习者的一大痛点。在中国,绝大多数人认真学习英语,基本上都是初中开始,大量阅读,可能是从大学才开始。这个年龄段,英语能力仍然是小孩子的水平,而认知能力已经远远超过这个阶段,基本上对儿童读物没有兴趣。因此就会出现看得懂的英语材料没兴趣,有兴趣的看不懂的问题。

Being an ESL learner, the hard of writing is not the limitations of vocabulary, it’s the propper sentences …

楼主仿效上帝在第737665天的时候为世界带来了hard的名词用法;
“Being an ESL learner” 的逻辑主语和主句的主语“the difficulty of writing”不对应,病句;
limitations词义理解错误, 弄不明白什么是limitation,什么是limit;
全句逗号瞎用(粘连句)。

楼主写的东西没有一句话是不带错误的。还美其名曰“微小的错误”。

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hard 改成 the hardest part 不就行了。
limitation这个你为啥不去翻翻字典呢?这里这么多字典,你就凭着一副键盘乱喷???
原来一整天的时间憋出这么个屁来,我还以为你有多高明。还扯什么上帝,有本事你自己写长文不带任何错误?

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喜欢嘲笑,打击别人是中国人英语学不好的一个非常大的原因。学语言就是要犯错,有时候自己觉得没错了还不行,还要让其他人能看到你的错误。
越是喜欢嘲笑别人,越不敢暴露自己的缺点。我曾经看到一个香港人,号称学习英文30年,一辈子喜欢干的事情就是对别人的语法错误和一些发音指指点点,乐于此道,他自己的blog写了十几年却从未有过任何拿得出手的作品。

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感谢 fruition 兄指点。