As a non-native speaker, I’ve always felt uncertain and insecure of my language. Just listening to my accent and looking at my Asian face, people may dismiss me or disqualify me right away, without giving me a chance to prove myself. I think a lot of people are like me, considering the number of non-native speakers around the world, who work with English, interview in English, communicate in English, have a career in English. There are many ways to deal with this problem to help people understand you better. Here is one way to show people your capability and knowledge quickly. I call it the “word replacement” method.
There are many replaceable words. In this post, I will concentrate on words that are health related. This method is just to use a more difficult word to replace a more commonly used word. It sounds rather silly, isn’t it? However it is a statement–although I know you may think I am no good with English, but I know difficult words as much as you do. For example, if somebody looks sad, you can say “let me cheer you up and don’t be morose.” If somebody is eating a lot of vegetable, you can say “prebiotic is good for your health.” However don’t overdo it–too many long words can be annoying.
- too worried about health -> hypochondria
- cold ->hypothermia
- expert -> esoteric
- hardness to breathe -> asphyxiation
- steal -> kleptomania
- sad -> morose
- cold -> bronchial pneumonia
- vegetable -> roughage, probiotics and prebiotics
- high blood pressure -> hypertension
- see a doctor -> spell out the doctor’s specialty like cardiologist, dermatologist, pediatrician, gynecologist etc.
- allergy ->anaphylactic shock
- expert on food -> gourmet, food connoisseur
- too much food -> gluttony
- anxious -> neurosis
- try to be slim by not eating -> anorexia, bulimia
- fear of being fat -> obesophobia
- somebody being too clean -> a germaphobe
- smoke -> emphysema
- hardworking -> diligent, assiduous
- careful -> meticulous, fastidious
There are a lot more words like these, and please let me know if you have ever replaced a word with another one to make your point.
As my dear online friend Herb pointed out to me yesterday that you cannot directly replace the words as they are shown. Attentions have to be paid on how to use and when to use. Also some words may be too strong to be offensive. So be careful when you use a replacement. If you like to know more details, please either give comments or send email to me. English is quite subtle in a lot of places and sometimes just a little variation can throw people off. As a non-native speaker, I am always very careful in the usage.
Also if you like to share a language gaffe you observed or discuss about a language replacement, I will be very interested. LOL. Live and learn.