Dear Roget,

Thank you for your profound contribution to human knowledge. Regrettably, too few people use the Thesaurus, and even fewer use it to the smallest fraction of its potential. The Thesaurus is as important an aide to learning a language as is a dictionary, especially learning a second language. For years, Robert J. Ross has been teaching English as a second language, and in 1995 he published Thinking in English (TIE)


an exercise book for Chinese speakers, based on Roget’s Thesaurus.

Using the Thesaurus and the TIE book, students learn subtleties of the English language that are impossible without the Thesaurus exercises. Students learn word relationships, such as synonyms, homonyms, and homophones; words that are unique in English and words unique in their native language; connotation, etymology and word forms (noun, verb, tense, and adjective forms) of single words; words for things and their attributes (e.g., sea, salt, water…); and tools and their actions-functions (e.g., saw, cut).

A relatively brief guide to word choice, and to Roget’s Thesaurus, would spur a new flurry of adjunct sales.

The Thesaurus Guide would be a product readily localizable for languages other than English, however, it would be supremely useful also to native speakers of English around the world. Reprinting and reformatting Robert J. Ross’ Teach in English would make English speakers want editions and Thesauri for the languages they are learning. I wish I had the equivalent book for Russian; I’ll have to write it myself.

Robert recommends these books, which I’ll review shortly:

Walk, Amble, Stroll: Vocabulary Building Through Domains (Level 1) by Kathryn Trump, Sherry Trechter, and Dee Ann Holisky (Paperback - Mar 8, 1995)

Spanish for Reading: A Self-Instructional Course by Fabiola Franco and Karl C. Sandberg (Paperback - Mar 1, 1998)

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