Interested in Language
Does knowing more words mean better grasp of the English language?
Last edited by probus; 28-Jul-2013 at 03:58.
People probably wouldn't call you a great speaker of English if you knew a lot of big words but didn't know how to make a coherent sentence with them.
(not a teacher, just a language lover)
I agree with FreeToyInside- simply knowing a lot of words does not mean that someone speaks well. Knowing how to use words in context matters. Also, it may be more economical in terms of time and effort to learn the different forms of a word rather than learning a lot of words. Learning lists of words can often be frustrating as the words are quickly forgotten- recycling and practising vocab is important for long-term memory.
I'll use myself as an example - my Spanish vocabulary is great! I know hundreds of individual words - nouns, adjectives, infinitives. prepositions. When I take a vocab test online, I pass with flying colours. Can I speak Spanish well? No, I can't. My tenses are all over the place. My verb endings are rubbish. My singular/plural usage is appalling. I use the wrong preposition for the context all the time. I can make myself understood but I do not, by any means, speak good Spanish despite knowing a lot of words.
Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.
What I mean by "knowing a word" is that it is the opposite of "not knowing a word". When I am reading, a totally new word is a word I don't know. So by knowing more words I would have a less chance to encounter new words, though I do realize knowing or recognizing a word does not mean I would have a perfect understanding of that word or know how to use it properly.
Just like emsr2d2, I'll speak of myself as an example. I can say I can speak/write/understand English pretty decently. However, English (like most languages) is not only made up of words (in the vocabulary sense, not getting into "rules" here), and I find myself lacking fluency in the use of idioms and phrasal verbs. So I can say I know many words (in your intended sense), but I still wish for a better grasp of the English language.
Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.