The Activate Your Vocabulary Challenge

Recently I posted about ‘Making your passive vocabulary active’ on the Open Forum (http://tinyurl.com/yhrebo4), where I talked about some possible ways to activate your passive vocabulary.

I have since talked again with some learners about using an ‘active vocabulary notebook’ to keep track of words and phrases you would like to use in your conversations, and a very good point was brought to my attention: in some cases it is very difficult to naturally use certain words and phrases during a running conversation.

That is why I have come up with a challenge: I CHALLENGE EVERY LEARNER TO POST ON THIS THREAD AT LEAST ONCE A DAY, ON ANY SUBJECT, IN ANY LANGUAGE, USING A NEW WORD OR PHRASE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO ACTIVELY USE IN CONVERSATION OR WRITING.

The fact that you can write on any subject frees you from having to fit your word or phrase into a running conversation, and the simple fact of having tried to use the word, despite the fact that it’s only in writing, should help ‘activate’ the word or phrase in your mind and serve to help you remember it the next time you want to use it in conversation or writing.

One stipulation, of course, is that you submit your post to the scrutiny of, and correction by, native speakers, but in this way you and everyone else learning the same language can benefit from your attempt!

I will begin. Today I learned the phrase ‘jemandem etwas verabreichen’ (to administer something to someone) in German, so here goes:

Heute habe ich einen Artikel in der Welt-Onlinezeitung darueber gelesen, wie eine Mutter versucht hat, sich selber und ihre zwei Soehne umzubringen. Sie hat dem aelteren Sohn mit einem Messer mehrmals in die Brust gestochen und dem juengeren irgendwelche Tabletten verabreicht, bevor sie sich selber die Pulsadern aufgeschnitten hat. Gluecklicherweise sind die Rettungskraefte rechtzeitig angekommen - bei keinem der verletzen Jungs besteht noch Lebensgefahr. (Familiendrama: Mutter verletzt Kinder und sich selbst schwer - WELT)

German tutors, please correct any mistakes I’ve made here:) Sorry that the topic of my entry is a bit gruesome, but vocabulary is vocabulary!

I look forward to your entries!

I doubt that these will get corrected without being submitted, but I like the idea of posting using terms that you want to learn to use. My turn.

Capaz que = perhaps (?)

Estaba enviando unas mensajes con un amigo en español hoy (por email) y somos planificando encontrar esta noche por unas cervazas y una ocasión para hablar en español y en ingles, medio tiempo en cada lengua. Para mi, los domingos son mejores porque es cuando no tengo otras cosas a hacer. Le dije “Estoy ocupado mañana, capaz que nos vemos domingo.” No soy seguro que eso es correcto, pero me gusto estas palabras “capaz que”.

Thank you Pedro for being the first one to step up to the plate! Now to see if we can get any tutors to help out, as we can help with their English:)

David, Everything is fine! No need for correction.

@Peter: If there is a question for a special word or a phrase, the German tutors and members will always help! Or in the case of David who makes no or only a few errors its not a big deal, but for longer writings the submission system is the best solution.

Sorry - perhaps I set a bad example by writing a lot in my entry.

My intention was not to ask that tutors correct the entire entry (that’s what the submission system’s for, as Vera said), only that they correct, if they wish, the given word/phrase the learner wishes to ‘activate’.

This is, of course, on a completely voluntary basis and, to say the least, much appreciated.

On that note: thanks Vera, good to hear!

This is a good idea, David.

A: My cat cannot talk. I asked him what three minus two was and he said nothing.
B: My cat can talk. I asked her what two minus two was and she said nothing.

Lol.

A: Meine Katze kann nicht reden. Ich fragte ihn, was drei minus zwei Jahre alt war und er sagte nichts.
B: Meine Katze sprechen kann. Ich fragte sie, was zwei minus zwei war, und sie sagte nichts.
(Google translate)

. . . Jahre alt war ?

Eine schlaue Katze! If you use … Jahre alt war … you change the sense completely and make a riddle out of the question. What is three minus two years old? B: Meine Katze kann sprechen…

I also find your idea great, David

here is my post:

A: Do you have any good question for me today?
B: Yes, just like always.
A: The sound is not as good as it last time was.
B: Yeah, but we can enjoy our conversation anyway.

@junair: A. …any good questions OR a good question
A. … good as it was last time.

Very good idea!

Hoy he aprendido la palabra ‘atreverse a hacer algo’ en español!
No me atrevo a decirte.

En français j’ai appris le mot ‘précipité’.
On ne peut pas être précipité.

J’ai une question du pronom ‘on’. Si ‘on’ signifie ‘nous’, alors on doit faire accord avec le participe passé? Merci!

A: Meine Katze kann nicht reden. Ich fragte sie(die Katze), was drei Jahre minus zwei Jahre gibt. Die Katze (sie) sagte nichts.
B: Meine Katze kann sprechen .Ich fragte sie, was zwei minus zwei war, und sie sagte nichts.

Thank you, jolanda.

Can “nichts” mean zero in German?

nichts= nothing zero =null =0

Can “sie sagte nichts” have two different meanings?

Ja. Sie sagte: “Nichts”. Sie sagte nichts. She said “Nothing”. She said nothing.