Monday, November 03, 2008

How Many Useful Words in English Do You Know That Begin With “X”?

How Many Useful Words Do You Know That Begin With “X”?

What, no dictionary? Tsk, tsk! No matter though, we’ll press on. At a recent book fair, I asked an EFL “learner”,

“How many words can you name with “M”?

This was in response to his bragging that his English was “so good”. He stumbled badly, but couldn’t come up with even ten vocabulary when pressed, and “M” is hardly a difficult letter. Frustrated, he then shot back at me,

“How many English words can you come up with that begin with “X”?

An “X” is a very difficult letter in English in fact. Nonetheless I whipped off a string of X-words for him. He and his entourage quietly slunk away. So, how many could YOU have named?

To help broaden your lexical insight a bit, let’s go through a short string of useful vocabulary in English that does indeed begin with “X”.

“Are there really ANY?” you might ask.

Of course there are, oh ye of little faith. Just feast your mind on this luscious latitude of lexical learning:

Xanadu – a beautiful, mythical place

Xeno-currency – foreign currency circulating or in use in outside its country

Xenogamy – transfer of pollen from one plant to another

Xenon – a colorless, odorless, highly unreactive gaseous element; atomic element no. 54

Xenophobe – a person who is fearful of strangers or foreigners

Xerox – photocopying trademark, process of creating a photocopy

x-mas – informal abbreviation for Christmas

x-rated – media version containing explicit sex

x-ray – a high-energy photo with a wavelength of from .05 angstroms to 100 angstroms

xylene – flammable hydrocarbon contained in wood and coal tar

xylophone – a musical percussion instrument consisting of two rows of mounted wooden or metal bars of graduating length that produce different tones

xyster – a surgical instrument used for scraping bones

A Quick, Dynamic Vocabulary Game

Why not try out a quick vocabulary game with your English as a foreign language learners?
One mine seem to like is to give members of two (or more) teams from ten seconds to one minute to name five or ten words starting with a letter of the alphabet you choose. For example, you have thirty seconds to name or write down as many words as you can that begin with the letter “Q”. No peeking now!

Be honest: how many did you get?

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 125 countries worldwide. Get your FREE, pdf format report on CD or via e-mail, "Creative, Dynamic Ways to Motivate and Teach English as a Foreign Language to Diverse Groups of Reluctant Learners" by requesting the title at:

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