Learning Latin, words with similar definitions

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#1 11 July, 2018 - 01:28
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Learning Latin, words with similar definitions


Hi! I have been meaning to memorize a Latin word list. It has about 3800 words.
And some of them look like this:verb abdūcō (present infinitive abdūcere, perfect active abdūxī, supine abductum); third conjugation
I take away, lead away or aside, carry off; detach, remove
I withdraw
I cause to withdraw, be separated, fall off or drop out; divert
I carry off or away forcibly, rob, ravish
I seduce, charm, attract or entice away, pervert
I bring down, reduce, degrade, lower
andverb abscēdō (present infinitive abscēdere, perfect active abscessī, supine abscessum); third conjugation
I go off or away, depart.
I disappear, withdraw.
I recede, retreat.
(military) I withdraw (from combat, a siege); march off, depart, retire.
(figuratively) I leave off, desist.

I don't have to worry about encoding the grammatical features since they're somewhat common. The main problem are the meanings, as you see every new definition starts with an "I". They all seem related but separate, and sometimes there are differences within the very definition e.g.
the second definition of abduco (I cause to... and divert). How would you go about memorizing this? I've tried using a locus(a story in one locus) for abscedo and it worked, but I can't seem to encode another word that well, since they are sometimes abstract. Luckily most words in the word list have 2-4 definitions and not 7. Do you have any tips as to how I should memorize this? Any books you would recommend and what to practice(I'm still a novice to these methods, but am very excited)? Thank you all in advance!

15 July, 2018 - 18:13
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Joined: 3 years 9 months ago

In this case, it might be easier to go to the etymology of the word.
Ab+duco: Ab, to separate from; duco: to guide.

16 July, 2018 - 04:15
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Joined: 1 year 7 months ago

I'm assuming your overall purpose is being able to read Latin, rather than being able to recite the dictionary word-for-word.

So I wouldn't try too hard to remember every word in the definition.Just:
a) have a sense of the range of meaning
b) if a word has 2 or more *completely* different meanings, make sure you know both of them

For (a), I find it useful to have an idea of near-synonyms. That's helpful when you're reading or translating -- it's how you get a sense of what a writer means by using *this* word, rather than some alternative. If you've got a two-way dictionary, you can look up the words in the definition to find latin synonyms.

For the 'I' problem I'd try learning the words in different contexts -- so they won't always appear in the first person. Look up the words in context (try the Perseus project), and build flash-cards based on that.

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