Clozemaster vocabulary vs Harry Potter

With the recent discussion about the number of distinct words in Clozemaster, I thought it would be interesting to see how many words from the first chapter of the first Harry Potter novel are missing from Clozemaster in French. This may be similar for the other main European languages, since the sentences from Tatoeba are often the same.

I’ve played all sentences in the Fluency Fast Track and Most Common Word categories in French, and I looked up any words I didn’t recognise to confirm whether they were there or not. The accuracy of these lists is only as good as my memory and my searches for verb forms!

Words not in Clozemaster at all:

sornettes (twaddle / nonsense)

badin (light-hearted, playful)

brailler (to bawl or yell)

mordoré (bronze)

tigré (striped, tabby)

s’engager (to commit, turn)

pianoter (to tap)

vertement (strongly, thoroughly)

se degourdir (to unwind, stretch legs)

s’immobiliser (to stand still)

se raviser (to decide otherwise)

navré (sorry)

bousculer (to push, shove)

se fondre de (to crack)

pelage (coat, fur)

ouste (shoo!)

téléspectateur (viewer)

se figer (to freeze)

retrousser (to roll up)

jaillir (to spring)

capuchon (hood, cap)

réverbère (street light)

muret (low wall)

esquimau (sweet, candy)

friandise (sweet, candy)

bredouiller (mumble, stammer)

pétarade (backfiring)

rappliquer (to turn up)

râpeux (rough)

enjamber (to stride over)

ruisselant (streaming)

enfourcher (to mount)

se moucher (to blow one’s nose)

Synonyms for many of the above words are in Clozemaster, so a person who’d studied all the sentences could express those ideas even if they don’t know those words.

Words in Clozemaster as clozes, but not with the meaning used in the story:

rapace (bird of prey)

contenance (bearing, composure)

or (yet, but)

feux de joie (bonfires)

à tire d’aile (swiftly)

éteinte (faded)

pois (spot)

Words that aren’t clozes, but appear in Clozemaster sentences:

glousser (to chuckle or cluck)

allée as a noun (path)

animation (in this case, a street collection)

rétroviseur (rear vision mirror)

s’avérer (to turn out)

aborder (to tackle)

touffe (tuft)

frénésie (frenzy)

Supposedly there are 4,672 words in that chapter in the English version (many of which would be repeats). 33 weren’t in Clozemaster at all, which doesn’t seem too bad. I may try this again with a more advanced novel.

5 Likes

Very cool! Thanks for sharing! We’d love to add collections with vocab from books, or like you’d mentioned in another post, where you play through an entire book (Madame Bovary for example). Soon! I hope :slight_smile:

Some of these words exist in sentences on Tatoeba, but are simply missing English translations, for example https://tatoeba.org/eng/sentences/search?query=rappliquer.

4 Likes

That was interesting.
While some of those words the vast majority of natives know, they are sufficiently rare/high-level that at this point you’d probably be autonomous in reading a book. My point is this shows that mastering everything on a Clozemaster language definitely won’t make you speak like a native, but it’ll give you the tools to go on working on more advanced “exercises” (albeit more pleasant ones).

2 Likes

@Ilraon I was hoping a native French speaker might comment and I could ask how you would translate “esquimau”! The translations I found online said it was something like what the British would call an ice lolly and the Americans would call a popsicle, but that didn’t seem to fit with the “sherbet lemon” in the original English.

I can read fairly fluently at Harry Potter level, enough so that I’d consider it closer to reading for pleasure than a learning exercise, though I’m much slower than I am in English. In the first chapter there was only one sentence where I struggled with the meaning: “Et nous avons tout lieu de nous en féliciter.” I know all those words, but didn’t understand what “lieu” meant in that context. I had to check the English version!

For a lockdown project I read “Madame Bovary” from 1856, but that was much harder. I was able to follow the story, but didn’t feel I was able to appreciate many of the finer points of the writing. I’ve been meaning to go back and work through it paragraph by paragraph with the English translation, but might tackle a few easier books first. Any recommendations for reasonably accessible French classics are welcome! I’ve read quite a bit of “Les malheurs de Sophie.”

1 Like

Plus translations can evolve. “Esquimau” (Eskimo in English) is now a term that is considered pejorative by the Inuit people in Canada…

2 Likes

This was 20 years ago but I remember ‘L’Etranger’ by Camus to be very simple.

2 Likes

That was an excellent recommendation. The sentence structure is mostly very simple indeed.

In the first chapter I counted 54 words I didn’t recognise from Clozemaster. Most were concentrated in a few descriptive paragraphs.

I’ve been printing out chapters, reading once for overall comprehension without stopping to look anything up, but highlighting words I don’t know, then later looking them up in Reverso and here. Some are here even though I couldn’t remember them. I’m finding it a good way to study and certainly enjoying the sense of satisfaction that comes from reading French literature!

Thanks! Hope you enjoy!