[ExI] How PISA surveys systematically overestimate Finland

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 13 05:49:33 UTC 2012

On Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:23 AM spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

>>> What do you call someone who can speak 1 language?  English.

>>...I thought the correct answer was "American." :)


>>...But, more seriously, one reason I've heard offered up for this is that
>> English, because of its peculiar history, is vastly different from its
>> closet relatives in a way that, say, most other European languages
>> aren't...Dan
> Being a poster-child example of an English-as-only-language speaker, I have
> often wondered why it is we have so many different words for the same thing.

I'm not sure how much it matters since the average person seems to not use them and has a very constrained working vocabulary. I think most tend toward a rather limited lexicon where the Nabokov types stick out. (I think people range in vocabulary from a few thousand words, to many tens of thousands. I think typical conversational vocabularies run about two thousand or less. Think of your average email.) But, that said, there are synonyms in all the languages I know of, which often makes it hard for a non-native. There are just idioms, but someone might ask or answer with something that has a simple non-idiomatic meaning that's just not in my memory. :/ Yet I'm not sure if they have the relatively the same number of synonyms. English is, I've read and heard, the language with the most words, so I suspect maybe not. Then again, many new words in English are obscure and technical -- not the kind of thing you need worry about.

> Seems like such a waste of perfectly good neurons to remember them all.
> Spanish doesn't seem to have that as much.  So my question is, can you have
> crossword puzzles in Spanish?  I mean the tight 15x15s, like you see in our
> daily newspapers, full grid with about 20 blackouts on the 225 square grid.

To the Google! It seems they have them. And they look similar to English-language ones. I actually had a book of Latin crossword puzzles, but these were much less complicated, though that might be more because they were geared to the student than any indication of the number of words in the language. Granted, Latin isn't exactly growing by leaps and bounds... Then again, there's a Wiki or Viki in Latin:




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