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  1. #1
    pljames Guest

    Question The world of synonyms

    I love my language...English. But now I am wondering about the synonyms of each word. Is the first definition of the first synonym the general meaning of that word? I try to keep my words as simple as possible. But if eight people use eight synonyms from one word which definition comes closets to the general definition? Paul

  2. #2
    blouen's Avatar
    blouen is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    Hi pljames!
    I love your language too. I wish to make my English as advanced as it could be. But now, I don't quite know what you want us to do here....

    All the best!!!

  3. #3
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    I once had an English professor who said that there were no such things as synonyms. Each word has its own distinct meaning or range of meanings that will change from one reader or listener to the next.

    The advice he gave me is the advice I will give to you: If you can't decide which of two (or more) similar words to use, try each. Look at the sentence and see which word is in visual harmony with the rest of the piece you are writing. Say the sentence aloud and listen to the rhythm and cadence of your choices. The fact that you are troubled by which word to choose should tell you that you consider this particular word important to your writing. Take your time; it will pay off.

  4. #4
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    I once had an English professor who said that there were no such things as synonyms. Each word has its own distinct meaning or range of meanings that will change from one reader or listener to the next.

    The advice he gave me is the advice I will give to you: If you can't decide which of two (or more) similar words to use, try each. Look at the sentence and see which word is in visual harmony with the rest of the piece you are writing. Say the sentence aloud and listen to the rhythm and cadence of your choices. The fact that you are troubled by which word to choose should tell you that you consider this particular word important to your writing. Take your time; it will pay off.
    In principle you are right synonyms violate the principle of economy in language. Two words or more can overlap, share or contain part of the meaning. There is always one label which makes them different. But I wonder what your Prof meant by "visual and audible harmony of a text".

  5. #5
    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    I agree with Mykwyner.

    The same is it with the way our facial expression, gestures and even posture harmonize with each other in an interplay with our emotional con(text) - so as to convey a genuine message.

    I believe 'visual and audible harmony' refers to:

    As with any perceptible things, even words have an image of their own, which can be perceived by our senses; visual, auditive. You can 'hear' if the word is right in/harmonizes with your context ("play it by the ear"). Having a visual image of a word also helps remember it better. Words are signifiers that convey certain aspects of meaning - just like with coins. Hear their clink as they collide, and you'll hear their meanings.
    Last edited by bianca; 03-Jul-2007 at 10:22.

  6. #6
    Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    Maybe Bianca but I am afraid visual/audible aspect in language is misleading. As far as grammar is concerned students often say: "I look forward to meet you" sounds more natural and in harmony to them than the correct gerund usage. But it is wrong.

  7. #7
    pljames Guest

    Smile Re: The world of synonyms

    I have been chasing after the word perfect. No mistakes in my writing, sort of thing. Again I assume the first defining synonym is the general meaning of all of them. But philosophically the word general might not be the synonym you would have picked and the word general might have many more synonyms in its meaning as well. So the closest meaning to the word is my aim. As for what I want you all to do, do what you all do best, tolerate my babblings and be patience with me. You all or my heroes and because of all of you like me, who love English, only wish to share it with all who is interested in learning it.
    Paul

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    bianca is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim View Post
    Maybe Bianca but I am afraid visual/audible aspect in language is misleading. As far as grammar is concerned students often say: "I look forward to meet you" sounds more natural and in harmony to them than the correct gerund usage. But it is wrong.
    Not quite. I am speaking about synonymy here. What I mean is that, both form and phonological aspects (such as rhythmic patterns) of words can be assigned semantic properties. This is, in part, what synonyms are about.

    The mistake in "looking forward to meet" is understandable - in relation to the syntax and phonopogy of one's mother tongue, for instance. Also, I believe this is a matter of language learning and motivation. Once they've "heard" the right "form", they'll remember it easier.

    There are linguists who regard the 's' and 'of' genitive as more or less semantically distinct constructions.
    Last edited by bianca; 04-Jul-2007 at 17:51.

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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    I dont what can say .... but i want ask you

    why all teachers and studends have a node in synonyms


    i know about all synonyms ... without ego

  10. #10
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The world of synonyms

    I don't know why these old threads on synonyms keep bouncing back and back, but here we go ...

    On the Title of The Current Thread

    Once I realized that you feel you are starting to learn a foreign language when you focus on synonyms. It is quite interesting to see you can say the same stuff in different ways in a certain language.

    However, by reading many posts here at UsingEnglish, by studying some linguistics, and by reflecting a little bit on language, I came to know that there are really few , if any, true synonyms in a given language. The words carry some specific content one is able to grasp only through a continuous use of the language, dictionaries can't really exactly define words - of course considering the natural limitations, they do a great job.

    PS I think I have already written this

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