Thursday, February 4, 2010

Meanings


 

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They say that English is the hardest language to learn. One of the problems is that in English the same word can have many meanings. I have several dictionaries and a few on-line web sites that I use. As I am teaching I will use a word and then define it and immediately hands will go up to tell me that the definition is not the one that I used the last time that I defined the word. Then I have to get into a long discussion about context and how that actually influences the definition. I truly love it when my students discover that they have inquiring minds. I find if very gratifying after spending thirty minutes talking about a word and then later in an essay test the student will quote me in his or her answer and describe the various definitions of the word and how the context causes the word to be defined in a certain way. It really bothers me when people send me e mails complaining about how our foreign workers cannot speak English very well or that some poor soul has to push 1 for English. Get over it and put yourself in their shoes. It ain't easy honey.

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