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Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2012 01:44PM
CAS's extraordinary vocabulary is one of the most notable features of his writing. I wonder how he would have performed on the following test, linked below, which is one of the more brutally difficult online vocabulary assessments I have seen online. (It seems to be inspired by the antonyms section of Lewis Terman's old Concept Mastery Test, which he devised to test the adult intelligence of his "Termites").

Schmies's Word Classification Test.

How do you think CAS would have done? Do you dare to try it--and do you dare to post your scores, if you do?


Another interesting assessment appears here:

Vocabulary Gradient Test.

It is supposed to allow you to form a rough estimate of the total size of your vocabulary.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2012 10:20PM
Absquatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CAS's extraordinary vocabulary is one of the most
> notable features of his writing. I wonder how he
> would have performed on the following test, linked
> below, which is one of the more brutally difficult
> online vocabulary assessments I have seen online.
> (It seems to be inspired by the antonyms section
> of Lewis Terman's old Concept Mastery Test, which
> he devised to test the adult intelligence of his
> "Termites").
>
> Schmies's Word Classification Test.
>
> How do you think CAS would have done? Do you dare
> to try it--and do you dare to post your scores, if
> you do?
>
>
> Another interesting assessment appears here:
>
> Vocabulary Gradient Test.
>
> It is supposed to allow you to form a rough
> estimate of the total size of your vocabulary.
This was great fun - I think Clark would have done extremely well on the first - and, due to the number of scientific terms that are relatively new since his passing, not as well on the second, but pretty well just the same - for example, words that begin "lepido-" might easily have been construed to have something to do with butterflies -

My own scores, 183 on the first and 100 on the second - I am very skeptical of these things and Mensa's standards in general as being removed from practicality, and focused on puzzles and so on as measures of high intelligence - very suspect - particularly as regards the creative arts - but these things are fun - I'm sure I have posted this before, but www.lexfiles.com is a fun site, and has the link to the "Basic 14 words" which are the foundation of over 144,000 english words - most can be figured out if you have a bit of Latin and Greek under your belt, and the ability to think in 2d and 3rd degree abstractions - It is doubtful if many of those who create these tests would do as well with arcane or antique words - Even Gerard Manley Hopkins was fond of the old terms that were long out of use, but fit the alliteration of the poem best - As a member of Phi Beta Kappa, I nevertheless preferred to wear my Kappa Beta Phi key - which was awarded at a popular student/professor bar off the main track about a mile from the Syracuse Campus - the proprietor had a bushel basket of them and gave them out to all who asked and could down a schooner of beer at a draft - The PBK key as you may know has an index finger in the lower left pointing upward toward some stars and the motto "Ad Astra per Aspera" -To the stars through difficulties - the KBP key has
a nose and hand with thumb to nose twinkling fingers in the familiar kma gesture, and the Latin on the back,"Vinum,Feminae, Carmenque" - wine, women, and song - I can assure you, Clark and I both enjoyed that one over many a delightful comestible.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2012 12:18PM
First, my scores, just to get that out of the way:

Schmies's Word Classification Test: 190

Vocabulary Gradient Test: 55 (adjusted score)

Calonlan:

With respect to IQ, that is an enormous subject, and too off topic to get into here, but I share many, if not all, your reservations about it. I do think that verbal intelligence, such as these tests, or the Concept Mastery Test, measure is at least a somewhat reliable guide to the "g" factor of general intelligence. (Of course, some reject the concept of "g" altogether, but again, that is another matter). You have a very good point, by the way, with respect to older/"archaic" words.

I agree with your analysis of CAS's likely performance on these two tests. The Vocabulary Gradient test, I think, is a bit too biased toward highly specialized scientific vocabulary, but, of course, since I bombed it, I am not the most disinterested witness!

How did you do so well on the Vocabulary Gradient test, by the way--i.e., did you simply know the terms, or were you able to use strategies and tactics to make informed guesses, such as bits of Greek and Latin? I actually found that my knowledge in that area misled me, more often than not. For instance, interpreting the "lepid-" as relating to butterflies actually leads toward the wrong answer.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 1 May 12 | 12:24PM by Absquatch.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Radovarl (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2012 07:53AM
Regardless of the validity of these sorts of tests, they're always enjoyable (and sometimes humbling). My scores were 179 and 53.5. I engaged in quite a bit of guessing on the second test... I'm not sure I can explain the disparity in my performances, unless it has to do with the aforementioned specialized nature of the terms in the second test.

"For instance, interpreting the "lepid-" as relating to butterflies actually leads toward the wrong answer."

Since I read this before taking the test, I answered as I would have without the hint, so got it wrong :-).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2 May 12 | 07:55AM by Radovarl.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2012 12:49PM
Well answered and well=done - for myself, as usual, I work too fast and make dumb mistakes as regards the first test - as to the second - my Latin and Greek are actually rather advanced and so,yes, I used them - it was the suffix, as I recall, that gave away the "Lepid-" clue - natheless, this test had a large number of mostly unusable terms one would not find in useful literature outside the sciences - for example, Clark's archaism which I love -"the sunset gonfalons are furled..." - and a so much better word than "banners" - whereas this second test would have one using some bizarre agglomeration of greek or latin terms to define the fabric by thread count, design and so-on - worthless. Like using the technical word for the worms that excrete the divine fabric, instead of just saying - silk.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 2 May, 2012 09:57PM
Radovarl:

You and I have a similar score spread, and for similar reasons, I think. There are no contextual cues in the second test, so it's "either you know it, or you don't"--or (see Calonlan) you have the Latin and Greek to puzzle it out. The former test has at least something of a reasoning component; the second one is really supposed to estimate the number of words in one's vocabulary. I agree with the critique that that test over-emphasizes technical, specialists' terms at the expense of unusual, but still more commonly useful and applicable, words.


Calonlon:

I have "small Latin and less Greek", so that was my undoing. Taking shallow sips from those Pierian springs not only did not help, but actually impeded one's performance on that second test. Both tests are interesting and fun, though, as well as instructive, in their own way, as I am glad both of you agree.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Radovarl (IP Logged)
Date: 3 May, 2012 06:25AM
Absquatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Radovarl:
>
> You and I have a similar score spread, and for
> similar reasons, I think. There are no contextual
> cues in the second test, so it's "either you know
> it, or you don't"--or (see Calonlan) you have the
> Latin and Greek to puzzle it out. The former test
> has at least something of a reasoning component;
> the second one is really supposed to estimate the
> number of words in one's vocabulary. I agree with
> the critique that that test over-emphasizes
> technical, specialists' terms at the expense of
> unusual, but still more commonly useful and
> applicable, words.

No doubt you're right. I've always performed well in test formats where you can reason out the correct answer even if you don't "know" it, e.g. multiple choice, true/false, or this Word Classification Test. One of my high school buddies heard my SAT score and said, "Dave, you're smart, but you're not THAT smart." I would've been offended, except he was exactly right :-). The Gradient Test, though brutal, probably gives a better indication of actual active vocabulary. The former strikes me as a good indicator of passive vocabulary, and terms one would likely be able to figure out from context while reading a text, without necessarily being able to give a good dictionary definition. In any case, 53.5 and 55 aren't bad scores.. The chart indicates 53.5 puts me in something like (I'm going form memory) the 95th percentile of the population.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 3 May, 2012 02:39PM
Worthwhile points, Radovarl. Only a minor dissent: I agree with Calonlan's point that one fault of the second test is its slighting of older, more obscure words. Such words remain in dictionaries, but are not part of a specialized domain. The second test favors specialized scientific jargon, instead. Not that the latter should have been excluded, of course, but the test would offer a better measure of vocabulary if it were more balanced, and contained more examples of both types of "difficult" words.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 10 May, 2012 09:11PM
I got 156 on the first, and was too lazy to take the second. In truth, my score should've been lower, for I guessed on tons of them, and luck may have boosted my score slightly.... ;) I'm quite happy to NOT be a genius--I wouldn't have it any other way!

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 11 May, 2012 02:36PM
*Chuckles* I am sure you were joking, but no worries on either side, as this is hardly a test of "genius"--assuming any such test even could exist. It's just a decent measure of crystallized intelligence, and it likely correlates overall with IQ--again, for what that is worth.

I suspect that you are the youngest person here so far to give the test a try and to post his results, and that makes a difference, too. My score would not have been nearly so high twenty-five years ago. And yours is quite excellent, in any case--around Mensa level, at the least, I'd imagine (again, for the thousandth time, for whatever that is worth!).

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 11 May, 2012 03:35PM
Yes, I know that was no 'genius' test--but at any rate, I'm quite sure I'm not one! :) I have no idea what my IQ is, nor do I care--it's only something to brag about, or be embarassed about, in my opinion.

I'm 24 :) Well, thank you--I'm flattered ;) I would never join any such organization--again, merely something to fuel elitist snobbery.... ;)

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 11 May, 2012 04:09PM
Have I mentioned I was, briefly, a Mensa member?

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 11 May, 2012 04:39PM
Quote:
again, merely something to fuel elitist snobbery

Such organizations can be, but they may also have other purposes. The Grady Towers article I linked to elsewhere, "The Outsiders", has an interesting take on this subject, on IQ, etc.

And don't be too hard on elitist snobbery. Witness our friend CAS, for instance:

Quote:
The modern intolerance toward what is called "painted speech," toward "the grand manner," springs too often from the instinctive resentment inspired in vulgar minds by all that savors of loftiness, exaltation, nobility, sublimity and aristocracy.

Would many here disagree with him?

Quote:
Have I mentioned I was, briefly, a Mensa member?

What was that old Grouch Marx line about clubs and memberships?

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Radovarl (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2012 10:42AM
Absquatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And don't be too hard on elitist snobbery. Witness
> our friend CAS, for instance:
>
> The modern intolerance toward what is called
> "painted speech," toward "the grand manner,"
> springs too often from the instinctive resentment
> inspired in vulgar minds by all that savors of
> loftiness, exaltation, nobility, sublimity and
> aristocracy.
>
> Would many here disagree with him?

I wouldn't disagree, but I would point out that just because the intolerance toward such speech (and prose) springs "too often" from the resentment of vulgar minds (i.e., undereducated clods), sometimes it springs from an insistence on clearly understandable communication. Ornate verbiage has its place in poetic or other belletristic endeavors, but when it comes to reportage or scholarship, give me the facts.. just the facts.

Having grown up on a reading diet consisting largely of Jack Vance and the turgid prose of E. Gary Gygax's AD&D books, it took me until well into graduate school to discontinue emulating what I thought of as their "superior style" in favor of clear language. A history professor once handed back a term paper of mine with this note on it: "You write like a 19th century German metaphysician... This is not a compliment."

My point being, sometimes it is mere snobbery to write that way.

> Have I mentioned I was, briefly, a Mensa member?
>
> What was that old Grouch Marx line about clubs and
> memberships?

"I would never join a club that would have me as a member." (twiddling cigar between index finger and thumb, of course). As someone who is not a joiner, but who is repeatedly urged to join various organizations, I use that quote all the time :-). It usually shuts them up.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 15 May 12 | 10:55AM by Radovarl.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Radovarl (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2012 11:14AM
K_A_Opperman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I got 156 on the first, and was too lazy to take
> the second. In truth, my score should've been
> lower, for I guessed on tons of them, and luck may
> have boosted my score slightly.... ;) I'm quite
> happy to NOT be a genius--I wouldn't have it any
> other way!

I think that your score if pretty impressive, especially for a 24-year-old. To give you some perspective, I passed the link to the test to my wife and some of her friends, all of them in their forties; my wife scored "only" a 144, and she has a J.D., a Ph.D., and a large part of her job involves writing. One of her friends, who is a local spelling bee champion, took it and got a 153. They were both impressed with my 179, as I'm a humble stay-at-home Dad. I guessed on some of my answers, too, but of course I didn't tell them that.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15 May 12 | 11:15AM by Radovarl.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2012 06:05PM
Well thank you kindly, Radovarl :) I've always had a liking for vocabulary, and as an avid weird poet in the formalist tradition, I find it quite necessary to possess a large vocabulary :) I am in the habit of writing down every word I don't know that comes up in my reading--and when I first started reading CAS.... I was stopping to write one down every 3 seconds or so! ;) Ideally, I'm supposed to look them all up later--but usually I just look up the 'coolest' ones that stick in my head :) However, one can have marathon vocab sessions where one takes such a list of words, and looks up dozens of them using our handy online dictionaries--super-fast learning! That's what the internet is for, isn't it...?

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2012 07:46PM
Radovarl:

Based on the times and the general context of when he wrote, I suspect that CAS is referring to literary style, and not to the style of academics or philosophers. I think that the targets are those who believe that someone such as WIlliam Carlos Williams is even a poet, let alone a great one. I doubt that CAS was anticipating the likes of Heidegger, Lacan, or Derrida--all infinitely worse than any 19th-Century German metaphysician, I would add (and Schelling writes quite well, actually, as does Schopenhauer).


K_A_ Opperman:

Just to be clear, my reference to Mensa relates strictly to likely IQ equivalency; I certainly wasn't suggesting that you try to join!

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2012 08:37PM
Absquatch,

I ain't joinin' nothin', don't care to, would very probably fail even if I tried--which I wouldn't ;)

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 18 May, 2012 06:08PM
One consideration, though. I've heard that Mensa is actually a great hook-up place. That's a factor that no self-respecting poet who seeks to follow in CAS's footsteps should entirely overlook. ;-)

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Radovarl (IP Logged)
Date: 21 May, 2012 02:39PM
Absquatch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One consideration, though. I've heard that Mensa
> is actually a great hook-up place. That's a factor
> that no self-respecting poet who seeks to follow
> in CAS's footsteps should entirely overlook. ;-)

Sounds like a hoot and a holler. Genius speed dating.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 31 May, 2012 02:06PM
K_A_Opperman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, I know that was no 'genius' test--but at any
> rate, I'm quite sure I'm not one! :) I have no
> idea what my IQ is, nor do I care--it's only
> something to brag about, or be embarassed about,
> in my opinion.
>
> I'm 24 :) Well, thank you--I'm flattered ;) I
> would never join any such organization--again,
> merely something to fuel elitist snobbery.... ;)

oh for heaven's sake Kyle - join everything that will let you in - not because you espouse their ideas, or crave the plaudits of the uninformed, but because it's a great chance to cruise some vulnerable members of that other gender, and get lots of free meals and drinks - it is also often amusing to scratch the itch of folk who are often humorless and obsessed with some inconsequential cause or subject about which they are commonly profoundly ignorant. Of course, if the group is made up of large, aggressive, neo-primates, it's probably best to avoid them.

Re: Would CAS Have Met His Match, Vocabulary Wise?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 1 June, 2012 01:25PM
Quote:
Of course, if the group is made up of large, aggressive, neo-primates, it's probably best to avoid them.

Indeed, which is why I heartily recommending avoiding all organized groups of Satanists: Church of Satan, Temple of Set, ONA, and the like. Unlike, say, Mensa, these are an utter waste of time for single, heterosexual men.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 1 Jun 12 | 01:27PM by Absquatch.



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