Finding the #Write #Words? No. 17: Hartrampf’s Vocabulary Builder

Continuing the description of books on words listed in the introductory post, which you’ll find here.

Book 17: Hartrampf’s Vocabulary Builder:

Hardback, 516 pages, including a substantial index. It was first published in the USA in 1929. Psychology Publishing Co. Ltd published a UK version in 1932, and my version is the revised and enlarged edition, published in 1963. I came across it in a charity shop for a pittance. You can obtain a used copy of the 1982 edition, published by R & W Heap, for around £3.20.

I bought the book as an additional route to finding alternative words to use in my writing, and because I love books on English language.

Opening randomly, at pages 196/197, I can attempt to give you a flavour of its contents and style. Page 196 starts with a continuation, from the previous page, of Section 99F, which deals with Dancing, Dances, and Dancers. It goes on to Section 100A, which deals with Art and Artists.

The heading here lists the antonyms as Awkwardness, and Ugliness, giving their Section numbers, where further examples can be found. It then lists the word headings that might be associated with the main heading: Skill, Operatives, Entertainment, Dancer, Dancing, Melody, Music, Monuments, Paints, Pigments, Colours, Hues, Jewels, and Beauty.

Beneath the heading, presented in three columns, are first the verbs associated with the head words, and then the adjectives and nouns. It’s difficult here to convey an accurate idea of this presentation but the words defined range from ‘crayon, depict with crayon, through engrave, cut or carve, sculpture, make statuary, and cartographic, pertaining to map-making, vivid, graphic, embossing, tracery in relief, to sketching, representation by sketching.’

The book is an alternative thesaurus, presented in a different way from most. It tries to deal with ‘ideas’ rather than with the strict synonym/antonym presentation of many thesauruses. It’s been useful on those odd occasions when I know the idea I’m trying to convey but can’t find the actual word I need. Of limited, but often worthwhile, use.

English is a complex language, made up of words from many countries, and borrows rules of grammar, punctuation and even style from those originating lands, which makes it interestingly familiar to learners but also frequently frustratingly baffling to the same students.

Those learning the English Language will find help on pronunciation here. And you’ll find a friendly group on Facebook through this link.

Post 2 is here, post 3, post 4, post 5, post 6, post 7, post 8, post 9, post 10, post 11, post 12, post 13, post 14, post 15, and post 16 here.

3 thoughts on “Finding the #Write #Words? No. 17: Hartrampf’s Vocabulary Builder

  1. I’m going to come clean. When I saw the email version of this post on the computer I thought the title was slightly different. I thought it said Harumphs Vocabulary Builder. That teach me to look at my email without my glasses. But it was still very informative. Thank you for posting this Stuart.

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