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little test for English native speakers
Thread poster: Laura Tosi

Laura Tosi
Local time: 23:54
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 8, 2004

Hello to everybody! I need a little help from English native speakers. I'll give you a list of terms (they are a lot, but you can read them quickly, don't worry!), and I would like a short comment about them. The problem is this: they are all included in the Oxford English dictionary, but I need information of this kind:
-how many of them (more or less, of course) do you consider "common" english words?
-how many of them do you understand immediately without using a dictionary?
-What do you think about them? do you find many of them technical/out-of-date/with a foreign flavour...?

Any kind of comment/opinion is really appreciated!!! Thank you very much, really. Please indicate if you are native speaker. thank you again , Laura.

Here you are my list:

Abada / agila / ainhum / alastrim / albacore / albino / alcatras / aldea / alferes / alforge / amah / ambreada / angico / anhima / ani / anil / apricot / areca / assagai / assimilado / auto-da-fè / ayah / babassu / banana / bandore / banian / barca-longa / batata / beach-la-mar / becuiba / betel / binnacle / boccaro / bolas / bossa nova / brab / brazil / braziletto / breeze / brinjal / brocade / buffalo / bual / bulse / caboceer / caboclo / campoo / candiru / cantiga / capitao / carajura / carambola / carbonado / carioca / carnauba / carrapato / carro / cascalho / caste / cate / cavally / cobra de capello / cocoa / commando / comprador / conto / copaiba / copra / coquilla / corposant / cortes / corvina / covid / cow-tree / crusado / cruzeiro / cuspidor / dodo / eagle-wood / elephanta / emu / escrivan / escudo / estalagem / estrada / fado / fagong / farinha / favela / fazenda / fazendeiro / feijao / feijoada / fetisheer / fidalgo / fig-dote / figo / flamingo / friagem / gallivat / garimpeiro / geropiga / goglet / gram / grandee / grouper / guinea / igarape / imbauba / imbuya / indio / indulto / infant / infanta / infante / ipecacuana / jacana / jacare / jack / jacu / jacutinga / jangada / joss / junta / jupati / kartel / killat / kittisol / lambada / lanchara / lascarine / leste / levada / lingoa geral / lorcha / louro / lundum / macaco / macaw / machila / macuba / madeira / maloca / mandarin / mango / maraca / margosa / marmalade / marmala water / marmelos / mateus / maxixe / mestizo / metical / milly / milreis / moidore / molasses / mongoose / moory / montaria / moray / mordisheen / mosquito / mulatto / mussurana / mustaiba / naseberry / negro / norteamericano / oiticica / olio / olla / paca / pagoda / palankeen / palaver / panyar / pardao / pareira / pataca / pattamar / paulista / pawpaw / peon / peroba / personalismo / piassava / piccaninny / pimento / pinda / pinga / pintado / piranha / pirarucù / pium / pomfret / porgo / porto / portugal / portuguese / pousada / praia / pupunha / quinta / rapadura / ratanhia / refusado / reis / resgat / retornado / rowball / sable / samba / sargasso / saudade / scrivello / selva / senhor / senhora / seraphin / sergelim / seringueiro / serra / serradilla / sertao / sindacato / sippa / sucupira / sumack / tael / talapoin / tamandua / tanga / tapioca / teak / terra roxa / topass / tuberon / varella / varzea / verdelho / vinho / vintem / vizrey / zamorin / zerumbet


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:54
German to English
50 words Oct 8, 2004

[quote]lollo wrote:

-how many of them (more or less, of course) do you consider "common" english words?
-how many of them do you understand immediately without using a dictionary?
-What do you think about them? do you find many of them technical/out-of-date/with a foreign flavour...?

[quote]
Hello lollo, I'm a native speaker of US English. Here are the words I wouldn't have to look up:

albino / apricot / auto-da-fè / banana / bolas / bossa nova / brazil / breeze / brocade / buffalo /carnauba /caste / cocoa / commando / emu / flamingo / grouper/ guinea / infant / jack / junta / kartel / macaw / mandarin / mango / marmalade / mestizo / molasses / mongoose / moray / mosquito / mulatto / negro / norteamericano / olio / olla / pagoda / palaver / peon / piccaninny / pimento / piranha / portugal / portuguese / samba / sargasso / senhor / senhora / tapioca / teak /

I wouldn't consider all 50 to be common English words. You'd have to deduct a few, such as auto-da-fè (I'm a Hemingway fan).


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 17:54
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
My contribution HTH Oct 8, 2004

lollo wrote:
-how many of them (more or less, of course) do you consider "common" english words?
-how many of them do you understand immediately without using a dictionary?
albacore / albino / alcatras / apricot / banana / brazil / breeze / brocade / buffalo / carnauba caste / cocoa / commando dodo / elephanta / emu / escrivan / flamingo / gram / grouper / guinea / infant jack kartel macaw / madeira / mandarin / mango / marmalade mateus / maxixe / mestizo / molasses / mongoose / moray / mosquito / mulatto / negro / norteamericano / olio / pagoda / palaver / peon / pimento / piranha / pomfret / porto / portugal / portuguese / quinta / sable / samba / sargasso / senhora / seraphin / sumack / tapioca / teak / vinho /


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
My contribution Oct 8, 2004

I know the following 111 words. I am a native English speaker (as well as Spanish).

albino / aldea / alferes / amah / ani / anil / apricot / assimilado / auto-da-fè / ayah / banana / barca-longa / batata / binnacle / bolas / bossa nova / brazil / breeze / brocade / buffalo / carambola / carbonado / carioca / cocoa / commando / comprador / conto / coquilla / cortes / corvina / cruzeiro / dodo / emu / escudo / estrada / fado / farinha / favela / fazenda / fazendeiro / feijao / feijoada / fetisheer / flamingo gallivat / grandee / grouper / guinea / indio / indulto / infant / infanta / infante / jacare / jack / junta / lambada / macaco / macaw / madeira / mandarin / mango / maraca / marmalade / mestizo / milly / milreis / molasses / mongoose / moray / mosquito / mulatto / negro / norteamericano / olio / olla / pagoda / palaver / paulista / pawpaw / peon / personalismo / pimento / pinda / pintado / piranha / pomfret / porto / portugal / portuguese / praia / quinta / reis / sable / samba / sargasso / saudade / selva / senhor / senhora / seraphin / sertao / tanga / tapioca / teak / terra roxa / vinho / vintem / vizrey


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:54
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Words.... Oct 8, 2004

Hello,
I'm a native speaker of British English. I'd agree with Kim that not all the words are "everyday" terms. I assume that they are all borrowings from foreign languages (mostly Portuguese/Spanish from the look of it!). Some of the words are now fairly archaic, some are new additions to the language and some were used during colonial times. Although I've seen some of these terms in foreign language texts, I've discounted them if I've never seen them in an English language text or used by native speakers.
Hope that helps,
Aisha


albino/ apricot/ auto-da-fè / ayah/ banana/ banian (am more familiar with the banYan spelling)/ betel/ bossa nova/ brazil/ breeze / brinjal / brocade / buffalo/ caste/ cocoa / commando / cruzeiro/ dodo / eagle-wood/ emu / escudo / estrada/ favela / flamingo / gram / grandee / grouper / guinea/ infant / infanta/ ipecacuana / jack / junta / lambada / macaw /madeira / / mandarin / mango / marmalade / molasses / mongoose / moory / mosquito / mulatto / negro/ olio / pagoda / palaver / pawpaw / peon / piccaninny / pimento / piranha / porto / portugal / portuguese / sable / samba / sargasso / senhor / senhora / sumack / tapioca / teak / vinho


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 15:54
French to English
+ ...
U.S. native speaker Oct 8, 2004

U.S. speaker (about 58)
these are the words I recognize (most are foreign in origin)

albacore / albino / apricot / auto-da-fè
/ banana / / bossa nova / brazil / / breeze / / brocade / buffalo / carnauba / / caste / / cocoa / commando / / copra / / cow-tree / / cuspidor / dodo / eagle-wood / emu / / favela / / fetisheer / / flamingo / / gram / / grouper / guinea / / indio / / infant / jack / / junta / kartel / lambada / leste / / macaw / / madeira / / mandarin / mango / / marmalade / / mestizo / / molasses / mongoose / / mosquito / mulatto / / negro / / pagoda / /
/ peon / / piccaninny / pimento / piranha / / porto / portugal / portuguese / / / rowball / sable / samba / seraphin / tapioca / teak /

I recognize and understand almost all of these (immediately).
how many of them (more or less, of course) do you consider "common" english words? all except 5 or so.

do you find many of them technical/out-of-date/? NO
with a foreign flavour...? YES


[Edited at 2004-10-08 22:57]

[Edited at 2004-10-08 22:58]


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:54
German to English
+ ...
About 59 recognized Oct 9, 2004

I am a native US English speaker. These are the words I understand immediately without using a dictionary (about 59):

albacore / albino / apricot / auto-da-fè / banana / betel / bossa nova / brazil / breeze / brocade / buffalo / carambola / carnauba / caste / cocoa / commando / dodo / emu / farinha / favela / flamingo / gram / guinea / indio / infant / jack / kartel / lambada / macaw / madeira / mandarin / mango / marmalade / mestizo / molasses / mongoose / moray / mosquito / mulatto / negro / norteamericano / olio / pagoda / palaver / peon / piccaninny / pimento / piranha / porto / portugal / portuguese / reis / samba / sargasso / seraphin / sumack / tanga / tapioca / teak / vinho /

I would consider about half of *my selection* to be common English words (i.e. a high school graduate would recognize them).

They certainly have a foreign flavor. "negro" is the only one I find a bit outdated. Some sound exotic (albacore, mestizo, porto) while others are just completely mainstream US English (mosquito, infant, buffalo, breeze, cocoa, molasses, mango, tapioca, teak).


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not much time... Oct 9, 2004

I don't have time to go through the entire list, I am a native speaker of US English and also Spanish. Many of the words appear to be Portuguese, some also Spanish and therefore I understand them, but I think that many other people would not.

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:54
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Incomplete answer Oct 9, 2004

To give a thorough reply to this it would be necessary to comment on each word individually. Short of that, here are my impressions and a few comments. I am a native speaker of UK English.
I would consider about 45 to be acceptable as English words as they stand. I understand more, probably about 100 or so, largely because I know some Spanish and think I can understand some of the Portuguese ones on that basis (but I could be wrong!)
The following look like English but I have never heard of them:
cow-tree
eagle-wood
marmala water
naseberry
rowball

The following are words which look familiar but I am more used to seeing them in a different spelling (if they are in fact the same words):
banian = banyan?
jupati = chapati?
kartel = cartel?
palankeen = palanquin?
seraphin = seraph or seraphim? (Hebrew words, singular and plural)
sumack = sumac?

I hope this is of some help.


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
My opinion Oct 9, 2004

I am not a native English speaker. I know English pretty well and I understand Spanish.I don't know why this question is adressed to English native Speakers and not latin languages native speakers. Probably because of the Oxford Englsih dictionary.
My opinion is that most of the words are not English and they may belong in an Neologisme Dictionary, but I don't know what kind of dictionary Oxford English Dictionary is (I assume it is an explanatory dictionary).
Most of the words are of latin origin (Spanish or Portuguese), a few of unknown origin (ainhum,friagem,brab,babassu,imbauba etc.-they may be used in the exotic isles).
These words are probably used in colonial countries which have made their own language from a combination of languages (English, German, Latino)

agila / albacore / albino / alcatras / aldea / alferes / alforge / ambreada / anil / apricot / areca / assagai / assimilado / auto-da-fè / ayah / banana / bandore / banian / barca-longa / batata / beach-la-mar / becuiba / betel / binnacle / boccaro / bolas / bossa nova / brazil / braziletto / breeze / brinjal / brocade / buffalo / bual / bulse / caboceer / campoo / cantiga / capitao / carajura / carambola / carbonado / carioca / carnauba / carrapato / carro / cascalho / caste / cate / cavally / cobra de capello / cocoa / commando / comprador / conto / copaiba / copra / coquilla / corposant / cortes / corvina / covid / crusado / cruzeiro / cuspidor / elephanta / emu / escrivan / escudo / estrada / fado / farinha / favela / fazenda / fazendeiro / feijao / feijoada / fetisheer / fidalgo / fig-dote / figo / flamingo / garimpeiro / gram / grandee / grouper / guinea / mbuya / indio / indulto / infant / infanta / infante / ipecacuana / jacana / jacare / jack / jacu / jacutinga / jangada / joss / junta / kartel / killat / kittisol / lambada / lanchara / lascarine / leste / levada / lingoa geral / lorcha / macaco / macaw / machila / macuba / madeira / maloca / mandarin / mango / maraca / margosa / marmalade / marmelos / mateus / maxixe / mestizo / metical / moory / montaria / moray / mordisheen / mosquito / mulatto / mussurana / mustaiba / negro / norteamericano / oiticica / olio / olla / paca / pagoda / palankeen / palaver / panyar / pardao / pareira / pataca / pattamar / paulista / pawpaw / peon / peroba / personalismo / piassava / piccaninny / pimento / pinda / pinga / pintado / piranha / pomfret / porgo / porto / portugal / portuguese / pousada / praia / pupunha / quinta / rapadura / ratanhia / refusado / reis / retornado / rowball / sable / samba / sargasso / saudade / scrivello / selva / senhor / senhora / seraphin / sergelim / seringueiro / serra / serradilla / sertao / sindacato / sippa / sucupira / tapioca / teak / terra roxa / topass / tuberon / varella / varzea / verdelho / vinho /

These words are more or less known to me. Some words are of different origine (others than latin) and are artificial: milreis (Milchreis),pomfret (pommes-frite). Totally unknown words and of unkown origine I have deleted from the list.
The word auto-da-fe, I know as autodafe (one word). Seraphim and not seraphin I know. I would not say it is Hebrew, but I don't know his origine.It is used in many languages.
Anyway I would look in the dictionary (Spanish or Portuguese) for all of them to make sure, because as I said they suffered changes in their spelling and maybe in their meaning too.

Ruxi


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Laura Tosi
Local time: 23:54
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Oct 9, 2004

First of all I would like to thank everybody for your help: all your answers are really interesting and useful for my work. I didn't explain in my first post the reason of my little test simply because I forgot it. But now I think I will wait a little before "revealing" it, so that your answers are not influenced in any way.I just tell you that I need a general idea on how these words are seen by native speakers so that I can go on writing my university thesis.
One last thing:is it possible that you know many of these terms because you as translators have a broader knowledge of language and words?
Laura


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
Curious about your thesis Oct 9, 2004

My impression is that most of the words of the list have a historical meaning. I do not think you can necessarily conclude that we know more of the words because we are translators. It would be fairer to say that if you have studied the history of countries such as Spain, Portugal and Brazil (as well as others) you would generally be aware of the words you gave. If, in addition, you also studied their literature, then you would know even more.

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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:54
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
reply on English word test Oct 10, 2004

>-how many of them (more or less, of course) do you consider "common" english words?

The words that I recognize as a native American English speaker, and feel might be common enough to be understand by other monolingual Americans, are the following:

/ albino / apricot / banana / beach-la-mar / brazil / breeze / buffalo / caste / commando / flamingo / gram / guinea / infant / jack / mandarin / mango / marmalade / molasses / mongoose / mosquito / mulatto / negro / piranha / portugal / portuguese / tapioca /

Give or take a 10% error margin since I was scanning through the words fast, and deleting entries fast. Possible that variant unfamiliar spellings may have caused me to zap words.

Others that I do not need a dictionary for, if I take it from the perspective of being a native speaker, are the following:

alcatras / auto-da-fè / grandee / moray / pimento / seraphin /

Give or take another 10% error margin.

>-What do you think about them? do you find many of them technical/out-of-date/with a foreign flavour...?

I do know many other words in your list because I speak/have studied several other languages, but I doubt that many monolingual Americans would understand them.


Jeff Allen




[Edited at 2004-10-12 12:40]

[Edited at 2004-12-29 13:03]


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michael cawley  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:54
Italian to English
+ ...
import words Oct 11, 2004

lollo wrote:

Hello to everybody! I need a little help from English native speakers. I'll give you a list of terms (they are a lot, but you can read them quickly, don't worry!), and I would like a short comment about them. The problem is this: they are all included in the Oxford English dictionary, but I need information of this kind:
-how many of them (more or less, of course) do you consider "common" english words?
-how many of them do you understand immediately without using a dictionary?
-What do you think about them? do you find many of them technical/out-of-date/with a foreign flavour...?

Any kind of comment/opinion is really appreciated!!! Thank you very much, really. Please indicate if you are native speaker. thank you again , Laura.

Here you are my list:

Abada / agila / ainhum / alastrim / albacore / albino / alcatras / aldea / alferes / alforge / amah / ambreada / angico / anhima / ani / anil / apricot / areca / assagai / assimilado / auto-da-fè / ayah / babassu / banana / bandore / banian / barca-longa / batata / beach-la-mar / becuiba / betel / binnacle / boccaro / bolas / bossa nova / brab / brazil / braziletto / breeze / brinjal / brocade / buffalo / bual / bulse / caboceer / caboclo / campoo / candiru / cantiga / capitao / carajura / carambola / carbonado / carioca / carnauba / carrapato / carro / cascalho / caste / cate / cavally / cobra de capello / cocoa / commando / comprador / conto / copaiba / copra / coquilla / corposant / cortes / corvina / covid / cow-tree / crusado / cruzeiro / cuspidor / dodo / eagle-wood / elephanta / emu / escrivan / escudo / estalagem / estrada / fado / fagong / farinha / favela / fazenda / fazendeiro / feijao / feijoada / fetisheer / fidalgo / fig-dote / figo / flamingo / friagem / gallivat / garimpeiro / geropiga / goglet / gram / grandee / grouper / guinea / igarape / imbauba / imbuya / indio / indulto / infant / infanta / infante / ipecacuana / jacana / jacare / jack / jacu / jacutinga / jangada / joss / junta / jupati / kartel / killat / kittisol / lambada / lanchara / lascarine / leste / levada / lingoa geral / lorcha / louro / lundum / macaco / macaw / machila / macuba / madeira / maloca / mandarin / mango / maraca / margosa / marmalade / marmala water / marmelos / mateus / maxixe / mestizo / metical / milly / milreis / moidore / molasses / mongoose / moory / montaria / moray / mordisheen / mosquito / mulatto / mussurana / mustaiba / naseberry / negro / norteamericano / oiticica / olio / olla / paca / pagoda / palankeen / palaver / panyar / pardao / pareira / pataca / pattamar / paulista / pawpaw / peon / peroba / personalismo / piassava / piccaninny / pimento / pinda / pinga / pintado / piranha / pirarucù / pium / pomfret / porgo / porto / portugal / portuguese / pousada / praia / pupunha / quinta / rapadura / ratanhia / refusado / reis / resgat / retornado / rowball / sable / samba / sargasso / saudade / scrivello / selva / senhor / senhora / seraphin / sergelim / seringueiro / serra / serradilla / sertao / sindacato / sippa / sucupira / sumack / tael / talapoin / tamandua / tanga / tapioca / teak / terra roxa / topass / tuberon / varella / varzea / verdelho / vinho / vintem / vizrey / zamorin / zerumbet


Dear Laura, as you know, the vast majority are SPanish/Italian or Oriental imports of which c. 20 per cent are very common (eg pagoda), maybe another 20 specialised but acceptable, the rest very rare and mostly to me unknown : just because they're in the Oxford ... you should check usage in same as well as Chambers and others
Good luck !
Michael Finnecky


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Laura Tosi
Local time: 23:54
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Again: thank you very much to everybody Oct 18, 2004

Thank you again for your help. The words I gave you are of Portuguese origin. Some have been brought into English directly from Portuguese. In other cases Portuguese was only a carrier language, so that many of the words come from eastern, african or american languages. For many others there is the problem of recognising if they are originally imported into English from Portuguese or Spanish. My thesis will deal with Portuguese/English relationships and mainly with all these problems of ethimology. I hope to do a good work!
Laura


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