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I'm not a native speaker. I'd like to use three words (or phrases) to describe that somebody is quite familiar with, a little bit familiar with, or totally new to an English word. It will be used in an English-word test system.

Anybody give me a clue?

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What's wrong with the phrases "I'm quite familiar with this," "I'm a little bit familiar with this," "It's totally new to me"? –  Andrew Leach Sep 19 '12 at 8:07
    
the problem is too long, it's better to have one or two words describe that. –  July Sep 19 '12 at 8:53
    
Hi July and welcome. Sadly I have to close this in its current form, because there is no one true answer. Everyone can offer different words, or phrases, or different combinations thereof, and they will all be equally correct. –  RegDwigнt Sep 19 '12 at 8:53
    
I think language is not just like Math: true or false, but there are better. Besides, if i have the ability to define a accurate rule of my question, then there would be no this question here. –  July Sep 19 '12 at 9:16
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closed as not constructive by RegDwigнt Sep 19 '12 at 8:52

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would suggest very familiar, somewhat familiar, and unfamiliar.

Whatever words or phrases you ultimately suggest, though, I would suggest providing basic definitions within the instructions of the test. (An individual's self-reported familiarity can vary depending on how they interpret the word). So, I'd suggest something along these lines:

For each of the following, indicate how familiar you are with the word, using this scale:

I am very familiar with this word: I understand what the word means, and I'm confident I could the word correctly in conversational English.

I am somewhat familiar with this word: I understand its meaning, but I might be reluctant to use it in conversation, because I'm not completely sure of how to use it properly.

I am unfamiliar with this word: If I were to hear this word in conversation, I might be able to deduce its meaning based on context, but, but itself, I'm not sure what the word means, or how it is properly used.

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Thanks J.R., really good answer, this answer gives me more than what i excepted-- I was just thinking about how to use a scale to define the familiarity. –  July Sep 19 '12 at 9:05
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