Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there a word for a person who hardly knows English as in like 100 words, but pretends they are an English major?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Barrie England, Jon Hanna, Robusto, tchrist, Callithumpian Jan 30 '13 at 13:32

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Do they talk gibberish? –  Mohit Jan 30 '13 at 10:25
3  
You can't pretend you're an English major with 100 words under your belt. You can't even pretend to be a four-year old. –  RegDwigнt Jan 30 '13 at 10:29
1  
They'd be called a liar, a fraud or if they half-believe it themselves deluded or perhaps "a Walter Mitty". Of course, they'd be doing that lying in a language other than English, unless "I am an English major" happened to be among those 100. Just like I could say right here "I am a Danish major", though I couldn't say it in Danish, though I'd reckon I might have a bit over 100 Danish words. –  Jon Hanna Jan 30 '13 at 10:32
3  
Spy. Badly trained spy. –  Edwin Ashworth Jan 30 '13 at 10:34
2  
Is this question about the limited vocabulary specifically or is it about the exaggeration of ability? –  Mitch Jan 30 '13 at 13:26

3 Answers 3

I would say that person is being pretentious.

Pretentious : a. making usually unjustified or excessive claims

b. expressive of affected, unwarranted, or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature

Eg: He could barely speak English, while he claimed to be an English major. What a pretentious <"expletive of choice">!

share|improve this answer
    
Pretentious is rarely used the way it is defined in 1). If you were trying to insult somebody's vocabulary by calling them "pretentious" 9/10 people would misinterpret what you are trying to say. –  mattacular Jan 30 '13 at 13:29
    
And for exactly the reason, I have been generous enough to provide an example :) –  KeyBrd Basher Jan 30 '13 at 13:35
    
Haha fair enough! Have a +1 –  mattacular Jan 30 '13 at 20:15

They are usually called

phonies.

share|improve this answer

They are an imposter

a person who deceives others, esp by assuming a false identity; charlatan

although they would not know that word (or charlatan).

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.