Basic set of words to learn in a language

Languages used in Carnatic Music & Literature
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vasanthakokilam
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#1 Basic set of words to learn in a language

Post by vasanthakokilam » 30 May 2015, 05:53

I recently came up with this list of basic words to learn in a language. I thought it will be good if forum folks can fill this in for the various languages they know including the four SI languages, Hindi and Sanskrit. This is obviously a very minimal set and it is intentionally so. But as you will see, the nature of these words is such that once one learns to recognize them, it removes quite a bit of incomprehensibility and one can then focus on learning the actual vocabulary of things and actions. Please do what you can. We will collate them later and put it in a nice form. Please provide proper english Transliteration. If you can provide a usage in a sentence that one is likely to hear, that will be a bonus

Question Words: How, What, When, Where, Who and Why
Basic Verbs: am, is, are, was, be, do, does, have, has, can
More Verbs: come, go, run, meet, want, live, lives, lived
Other set 1 : I , me, you, your, we, our, he, she, his, her, here, there, up, down,
Other set 2 : a, for, in, of, on, the, to, and, the, during
Other set 3: one, most, many, first, second
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Rsachi
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#2 Re: Basic set of words to learn in a language

Post by Rsachi » 30 May 2015, 10:58

VKM,
great idea. This idea is cooking in my head for a long time. In fact I know that Berlitz language guides used to carry a set of 50 odd standard sentences and phrases to be learnt in a language.

I think this kind of approach will also help a great deal in teaching immigrant techies and people the local language in cities like Bangalore where a few million pass years without speaking the local lingo- a great pity.

I request we come up with a set of 100 sentences/phrases (relevant words would be threaded in them) that would serve a basic need to communicate. Let me dig up something, if you feel this to be the approach!
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vasanthakokilam
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#3 Re: Basic set of words to learn in a languagees

Post by vasanthakokilam » 30 May 2015, 11:47

Sachi, yes, that is a good idea. Please go ahead. Thanks.

The above word list was supposedly adopted from the list of words that are frequently asked in the U.S. Citizenship test. That came out of a histogram study of the so called 'grammar'/linking words and also a few common verbs like 'come' and 'go'. The vast majority of the rest of words are the so called 'vocabulary words' which can be accumulated over time. The idea is to reduce the total unfamiliarity in a sentence or a paragraph of text. Since these words commonly occur in a lot of sentences, once people get acquainted with them, the language feels a bit more approachable which can then act as a motivation to learn further.

I just tested the hypothesis with the last paragraph from your post above. Of the 39 words, 22 words are from the list, one is a number(100) and so the 'vocabulary' words are only 16. That is a pretty good ratio for a list that was intentionally kept quite short.

Such words will be hard to remember if presented in isolation so, as you suggest, presenting simple sentences which use those words is a very good idea.
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VK RAMAN
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#4 Re: Basic set of words to learn in a language

Post by VK RAMAN » 30 May 2015, 20:00

Becoming a multi lingual is ones ability to reflect the unfamiliar word to something familiar to one self. Being a multi lingual myself - tamil, malayalam, hindi, bengali (oriya, Assame), english and spanish, I do that. Google translate does a very good job also. My few cents.
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Rsachi
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#5 Re: Basic set of words to learn in a language

Post by Rsachi » 30 May 2015, 22:20

VKR, that's an impressive list indeed!
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