‘I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.’ Socrates
The Vocabulary Movement stated, among other fundamental ideas, the fact that knowing a word – we finally agreed in the previous post to call it a lexical unit (precisely because it may be represented by more than one stretch of letters) – makes it easier to recognize the structure the unit is used in. Again, what about the structure? Don’t we have to know that, too?
I’ll take an example, and if its combinatorial possibilities make it easier for me to get to the meanings it has developed, I will agree that knowing that lexical unit is enough for me to build fluency. Now, knowing the lexical unit with all its combinatorial possibilities should lead us to the next step: how many of them are necessary for a student to say he or she has a command of the whole field that the nucleus has developed?
I chose POINT (noun) – from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online (LDOCE). You will find the full display with examples in the attached pdf: http://db.tt/xsULr6s1
How many of the following uses do you know?
1. [countable] a single fact, idea, or opinion that is part of an argument or discussion:
2. the point
3. [uncountable] the purpose or aim of something:
4. [countable] a particular place or position:
5. [countable] an exact moment, time, or stage in the development of something:
6. [countable usually plural] a particular quality or feature that something or someone has
Socrates drinking hemlock (condemned to commit suicide)
somebody's/something's good/bad points
7. [countable] one of the marks or numbers that shows your score in a game or sport:
8. [countable] a sharp end of something:
9. boiling point/freezing point/melting point etc
10. the point of no return
11. point of departure
12. be on the point of (doing) something
13. up to a point
14. to the point
15. make a point of doing something
16. when/if it comes to the point
17. in point of fact
18. not to put too fine a point on it
19. [countable] a sign (. ) used to separate a whole number from any decimals that follow it
20. [countable] a mark or measure on a scale:
21. [countable] a very small spot of light or colour:
22. [countable] one of the marks on a compass that shows direction:
23. [countable] a long thin piece of land that stretches out into the sea:
24. [countable] British English a piece of plastic with holes in it which is attached to a wall and to which electrical equipment can be connected:
[plural] British English a piece of railway track that can be moved to allow a train to cross over from one track to another.
Then again, you might like it in the shape of a 'semantic flower', like this (Visual Thesaurus):