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ETpro's avatar

Does learning a new word teach it to everybody?

Asked by ETpro (34472points) May 9th, 2010

It certainly seems so. Haven’t you noticed that you can go for decades without ever seeing a word, but once you run into it in something you are reading, and you look it up and add it to your vocabulary, writers everywhere suddenly start using it with remarkable regularity?

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20 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I have noticed the serendipity of that.

phoebusg's avatar

You could be looking too hard. Otherwise known as confirmation bias.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

ETpro's avatar

@marinelife Yes, serendipity must explain it. :-)

@phoebusg Great link. Thanks. Now I can prepare to see Confirmation Bias everywhere I look. Writers have just learned of it today, thinks to me. :-)

Tomfafa's avatar

I thought I was unique when I bought a ferrari… now I see them everywhere. Damn!

ETpro's avatar

@Tomfafa Works for cars too, hey?

Tomfafa's avatar

@ETpro Only if you are a shallow bastard like me…

ETpro's avatar

@Tomfafa Ha! You said it, not me. :-)

Tomfafa's avatar

@ETpro This might be a good time to confess that I don’t own a ferrari.

ETpro's avatar

@Tomfafa Ha! Well now, that is the sure sine of being a shallow bastard.

Tomfafa's avatar

But I own a lamborghini espada, 1970 and 72 alfa romeos, 74 jaguar xke conv, a two door conv., a 4 door sedan, a hot rod and my fav… a 1972 chevy silverado

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Expanding your knowledge opens your mind to things that have been there all along. That is why reading is so powerful and empowering.

ETpro's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence So I have read.

YARNLADY's avatar

To appreciate the Power of Words is one of the most valuable lessons people can learn.

ETpro's avatar

@YARNLADY Amen to that. Words are spiritual containers. They can carry love, hate, great good or great evil. Only the most rudimentary of thought can be sustained without words.

Tomfafa's avatar

In my opinion… the best way to learn to use words is to go to a museum… and describe the exhibits… practice, practice, practice. BUT… I studied math.

ETpro's avatar

@Tomfafa Reading is a great vocabulary builder if you force yourself to look up words you don’t recognize. I’ve taken to keeping an Excel spreadsheet where I record the word, part of speech, pronunciation, definition and if it’s included, derivation and usage notes. I find if I just look it up, I soon forget it, but by writing it down, it sticks.

Tomfafa's avatar

All good points. Polish (in my opinion) is the most expressive and artful language in the world. French is outright beautiful and romantic. Arabic is very sympatico. There is a saying…
Spanish is the language of love…....
Italian is the language of song…......
French is the language of diplomacy….....
American is the language of business…

ETpro's avatar

@Tomfafa Are you fluent in all those?

Tomfafa's avatar

All… including portuguese (recent along with italian) and hebrew since I am israeli. I grew up speaking hebrew and arabic. My childhood friend is french hungarian, so I speak passing hungarian but good french. My father loves languages so he taught us polish and russian and guitar and piano etc. My mother taught me to ride a motorcycle and how to dance ballroom and how to cook.My mentor taught me math.

ETpro's avatar

@Tomfafa Very impressive. What a fortuitous upbringing.

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