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  1. #1
    vicky1008 is offline Newbie
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    Question curiosity or interest?

    Hi! I would like to ask you native speakers of english about the following passage.

    Learning a new language calls for no great originality of mind or critical faculty, but it does demand an eager intellectual ( 1 ) and a constant and lively ( 2 ) in the endless ways in which human ideas may be expressed. It demands quick ( 3 ) first of all, reasonable ability to mimic and imitate, good powers of association and generalization, and a retentive memory.

    We have to choose one word each for the blanks from the following:
    [ interest, observation, curiosity]

    The answer is, 1...curiosity 2...interest 3...observation.

    The answer "observation" makes sense to me, no problem. However, as for "curiosity" and "interest", I have no idea why the answer should be this. You say intellectual curiosity, but also you say intellectual interest, right? "Lively curiosity" is as good as "lively interest", too, isn't it? Collocation-wise, I suppose either word could be in blank 1 or 2. Would someone please tell me why the answers should be like this?

    FYI, this problem is a part of a university entrance examination in Japan.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: curiosity or interest?

    Quote Originally Posted by vicky1008 View Post
    Hi! I would like to ask you native speakers of english about the following passage.

    Learning a new language calls for no great originality of mind or critical faculty, but it does demand an eager intellectual ( 1 ) and a constant and lively ( 2 ) in the endless ways in which human ideas may be expressed. It demands quick ( 3 ) first of all, reasonable ability to mimic and imitate, good powers of association and generalization, and a retentive memory.

    We have to choose one word each for the blanks from the following:
    [ interest, observation, curiosity]

    The answer is, 1...curiosity 2...interest 3...observation.

    The answer "observation" makes sense to me, no problem. However, as for "curiosity" and "interest", I have no idea why the answer should be this. You say intellectual curiosity, but also you say intellectual interest, right? "Lively curiosity" is as good as "lively interest", too, isn't it? Collocation-wise, I suppose either word could be in blank 1 or 2. Would someone please tell me why the answers should be like this?

    FYI, this problem is a part of a university entrance examination in Japan.
    I am inclined to agree with your opinion and either works for me too, but I would mention that "intellectual curiosity" is a rather commonly used term, at least in AmE.

  3. #3
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: curiosity or interest?

    The phrases "intellectual interest" and "lively curiosity" just don't seem right compared to the other way around. As was just stated, "intellectual curiosity" is common.

  4. #4
    vicky1008 is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: curiosity or interest?

    billmcd, SoothingDave, thank you so much for your prompt reply!!

    So, collocation-wise, especially in AmE, "intellectual curiosity" and
    "lively interest" are more commonly used than the other way around.
    OK, I understand. Well, how about context-wise? Do you think the
    two words could be interchangeable in this context? What would you
    say, like, if this test was given to 100 people in the US, how many
    would answer correctly?

  5. #5
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: curiosity or interest?

    It's hard to answer a question like that. It would depend on who you asked. If you randomly sampled 100 people in the US, a few of them wouldn't speak English at all!

    I think among college-educated people, the results would be very conclusive. Like more than 75% answering correctly.

  6. #6
    vicky1008 is offline Newbie
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    Wink Re: curiosity or interest?

    Thanks, SoothingDave. Yes, I should have phrased my question like you did. Thanks to you, I now know what I wanted to know. The figure 75% is lower than I expected. It was of great interest to me. My curiosity duly satisfied. These two are not interchangeable, right?
    Last edited by vicky1008; 25-Jun-2011 at 05:39.

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