More English Vocabulary and Concerns

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Hello again,

First of all, I want to share with you that I received an A on last week's vocabulary and writing assignment, and also on our weekly test. Thank you for helping me! I am very happy with the grade I got!

This week, we have more vocabulary words to memorize, but I am concerned (is that the right word?) about the program I am in. It is called "Dynamic English," and is designed to teach students like me not just formal English grammar, but the kind of "dynamic" conversation that native English speakers would have. So, you learn a lot of "dynamic" words that make it sound that you really are understanding the language and you can have good conversation with American friends. But, I am now not so sure if this program is right for me. The words were are learning are very strange, and continue to become stranger every week. They are not subjects that I hear my American friends talking about very often, and they are also not subjects we would talk about often in Korea. The words are very strange and I do not understand why we are being assigned to learn them. Please take a look at what we are learning and tell me: is this normal for English learning classes?

Here are this week's vocabularly words. I used the links that WriteTeacher posted this week and I put my understanding of the word after each word. Please tell me if I am correct or not. There are also some words that I do not understand.

1) Revolutionary: meaning "new" or "unique." This can also mean a person who is fighting in certain types of war.

2) Bologna: Popular sandwhich meat.

3) Moose: A type of animal that looks like a very big deer, but with bigger horns.

4) Caveman: I don't know. I asked my American friend, and he said it is a "primitive person," but I do not know the word "primitive." Does it mean very, very ancient? Historical? This is how I understand the word.

5) Defenestrate: I have no idea; please help me to understand.

6) Slovenly: Messy?

7) Exorcist: A type of magician? Or a religious leader? A Priest?

8) Polka: A type of American dance?

9) Feces: Another very embarassing word; it means to go to the bathroom.

10) Granola: A type of cereal. I have eaten this before at my school. It is very good, and we have similar cereal in my country, too.

Thank you for your help and for your concern about this matter.

Kay Li

I looked up "Polka" on google search engine, and it does not appear to be an American dance. It is European or Mexican from what I am reading. Is this accurate?

Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Do you have an official textbook for "Dynamic English?" I know there are textbooks and that it is taught in Berkeley.

Yes, "concerned" is the right word. #2 sandwich (spelling), #4 Caveman was a cave dweller, especially of the Stone Age. #5 Defenestration is throwing a person or thing out of a window.. #6 Slovenly is messy, untidy or slipshod. #7 Exorcist is a person who will expel or get rid of something troublesoom, an evil spirit. #8 Polka is a Bohemian dance which is lively with a pattern of hop-step-close-step. #9 feces is another word for bodily waste or excrement.

In current meaning amongst the younger generation, the words can have these meanings:

1) Revolutionary: meaning "new" or "unique."
2) Bologna: Nonsense. As one saying "
What you told me is lot of bologna"
3) Moose: A large person, sometimes awkward person.
4) Caveman: Someone who is living in the past: clothes, thinking. Not modern. Not fashionable.

5) Defenestrate: To get rid of.

8) Polka: A polish woman or girl. Used in a deragatory sense.

10) Granola: A mixture. Our class this year is a cultural granola. Or, The costumes at the dance looked like granola.

The problem with these dynamic meanings is that they are fashionalbe for a short time, they change. I would be hesisant to emphasise their use, many of them border on common slang. I cant advise you on dropping the class or not, but can tell you the best way to learn the language is to converse with your American Friends. However, American Kids in Korea probably are not current on slang meanings. Such is the way with language, it is regional, time sensitive, and subject to change. I would concentrate on formal english if I were you. It is safer, and will last longer.

I went to and entered "defenestration" -- and the standard definition came up, of course. But as I scrolled down, I found slang terms. So go here and scroll down to the slang section. All the slang meanings, of course, are based on the original, literal meaning -- to throw (something) out a window).

This can be an interesting way for you to find out not only the literal meanings of words, but also their slang meanings in various contexts.

In other words, don't just stop at the first definition you find -- keep scrolling down in case there's more there!


It might help to distinguish between "denotation" and "connotation." Denotation is the actual dictionary meaning, while connotation is an emotional meaning. Many times, the connotation becomes so common that it is included in the denotation. As an example, bologna's denotation is the sandwich meat, while the connotation is nonsense. (I don't know how the connotation originated.)

Although this does not occur with all words, it can also make a difference if the term is used as an adjective, verb or noun. "Revolutionary" as an adjective means "new" or "unique," but as a noun, it can refer to a "rebel," someone who is challenging the current status of affairs. Depending upon whether you approve of the current status or not, the connotation can be either positive or negative.

"Feces" is the solid waste matter, while "urine" refers to liquid wastes. There are slang or vulgar versions of "feces" that are used in the same manner as the connotation for "bologna."

I hope this helps a little more. Thanks for asking.

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