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    • Join Date: Mar 2010
    • Posts: 12
    #1

    how to guess the meaning of word

    hi,
    I find really hard to figure out animal's name or the like.
    For example, like birds, you have sparrow, pigeon, etc. and they are difficult for me to guess the meaning in essays or in listening.
    I mean, like chinese, we have a character 鸟 in almost very name of birds. Therefore we can guess out that the word denotes a kind of bird.
    I know some about prefix or suffix but I still don't think they can make sense.
    My question is
    "can natives quickly figure out whether it means an animal and the species from a word which you haven't seen before?"
    and it will be appreciate if you can tell your methods.

    Thank you~~

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 2,130
    #2

    Re: how to guess the meaning of word

    not a teacher

    In the Chinese language, names of birds in most cases are based on the distinguishing attribute(usually the appearance) of the bird which give a clue as to the species. However there is seldom such clues found in names in English except for certain species which are named according to their functions e.g. woodpecker, kingfisher or crane. For others, you just have to remember the names, I don't think there is any shortcut to that.

  1. IHIVG's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 354
    #3

    Re: how to guess the meaning of word

    I'm not a native but I think if you never ever heard of the name of the animal, then, without any hint or context, it's almost impossible to guess its meaning (though I'd leave a room for some exceptions here).
    It's a complete different matter though, when you hear or read a word where the context is involved. For example, you've never heard the name of the animal before, but when watching National Geographic or Animal Planet, you can certainly understand what the matter is all about/what this animal is like so that you're able to 'be in the picure' of the whole message.
    It's interesting to know that you can somewhat guess the meaning of a word in Chinese. Does it solely relate to the animal species?


    • Join Date: Mar 2010
    • Posts: 12
    #4

    Re: how to guess the meaning of word

    Quote Originally Posted by IHIVG View Post
    ...It's interesting to know that you can somewhat guess the meaning of a word in Chinese. Does it solely relate to the animal species?
    since Chinese belongs to hieroglyph, we can somewhat guess some.
    e.g. if a charater relate to water or the action of water, it may contain a radical like the left part of 流(flow).
    but you cannot get it in speech.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #5

    Re: how to guess the meaning of word

    Do not try and guess - it will never work.

    Use Google's image search.

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