Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Did you know about Wiktionary?

I was the Word Master for Toastmasters today. A typical Toastmasters meeting has three phases:

1) One or two people give speeches.
2) A table topics master invites people to give impromptu speeches. These are typically around a minute
3) The last phase is the evaluation phase - valuation of the meeting, of the speeches, and of table topics.

The job of a Word Master is to select a word to be used during table topics. This helps people expand their vocabulary and makes the job of speaking extemporaneously a little more challenging. The goal is to pick a word that is a bit unusual and maybe even unknown. I wanted to use "contemplate" but I wasn't sure if it was a fairly common word.

I went looking for word frequency lists and found Wiktionary. Wiktionary is "a wiki-based open contest dictionary." Wiktionary has been around since December 2002. Wiktionary is seems a bit spotty right now. Some of the entries I check on were very extensive, much better than any normal dictionary, but others needed more work. For example baby, horse, and work had the definition, the pronunciation with audio, and translations. Baby and Horse had pictures. Horse and Work had the ethmology.

The entry on homeschool was very light. Is anyone interested in beefing it up a bit?

Oh, the Wiktionary word Frequency List showed that "contemplate" was the 8220th most frequently used work in the Project Gutenberg books. I went with "contemplate" and it worked well.

Technorati tags: Table topics, Toastmasters, Wiktionary, education


Sisterlisa said...

LOL Well homeschooling is defined differently by each family. How could you come up with an absolute definition that would clearly describe it?

Henry Cate said...

Then you have could define homeschooling the way you set it! :-)