Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vocabulary Building Resources

Words fascinate me, and I'm always on the lookout for ways to expand my vocabulary. At this point, I'm using the following resources to build my vocabulary which I'm happy to recommend to everybody.

1. A free Word-a-day service that e-mails me a new word every day. I've been looking for a website that sends good, rare words, not the ones I know already. For now, the best website that does this that I have been able to find is this one. Sometimes, it does send words that I already know, but often I receive words that are new to me. The day before yesterday, for example, the word of the day was "caitiff" (meaning "A cowardly and despicable person.") You also receive a sentence that illustrates the word's usage, which is very important.

2. Eugene Ehrlich's The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate, which is available on Kindle. Open it at random and you will find some absolutely priceless words. I opened mine right now and found the word "myrmidon" which means "an unscrupulously faithful follower." Now I can speak of Sarah Palin's myrmidons and feel that finally the right word has been found. Another beautiful word I just discovered is "oenophile", meaning "a lover of wine, especially a wine connoisseur." So now I can tell a person, "Oh, you are such an oenophile!" and see how they react.

3. Now that crossword puzzles are available on Kindle, I spend time every day solving a puzzle or two. I especially recommend collections of New York Times Crosswords in Kindle format. They have been adapted for the Kindle beautifully. Moving around the puzzle is very easy. there is also a wealth of options that allow you to get help whenever you are stuck. I highly recommend these crossword puzzles to anybody who likes crosswords. The days of struggling with a pencil and an eraser, trying to fit letters into small boxes are over. Also, if you are a crossword puzzle lover, check out this psychological thriller by Ruth Rendell that is centered around a character who is obsessed with solving and making crossword puzzles. 

If anybody knows of any similar resources for building one's Spanish vocabulary, do share them with me. Obviously, I'm not looking for beginners' Spanish links. I need something at the same level of proficiency than the English-language resources that I listed here.

One day, I hope, the Kindle revolution will come to Spain, and then everything will become a lot easier. For now, however, we have to make do with whatever there is.


Liese4 said...

Have you seen this site? The languages are pretty simple, but they get harder as you get more right. It's addictive and donates rice to hungry people.

Clarissa said...

Good link! Thank you! I can use it to revive my passive French vocabulary.

wanderlust said...

I heard myrmidon in a video game I love - descent freespace 2. It's a name of a class of fighter spacecrafts and makes perfect sense.

Oenophile was on my GRE word list. :P