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Help with English synonyms

Posted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:46 pm
by linguoboy
One of the most useful works in my language-learning library is R.B. Farrell's Dictionary of German synonyms. In it, he identifies several dozen common semantic areas where German and English usage doesn't precisely line up and systematically discusses possible lexical equivalents. (If I'd had it to hand recently, for instance, I likely wouldn't have made the mistake of confusing Irrtum and Fehler in the Help Your Fluency thread.) Gareth King does something similar though far less thoroughgoing in an appendix to his Modern Welsh where he goes through some common English to Welsh translation differences (such as the many Welsh equivalents of English "time"). I'm sure there are other examples of this kind of work as well.

What I'd like to know is: Is there something similar for foreign learners of English? Most books on English usage I've seen concern themselves with minutiae like proper plural formation and just how unforgivable a blunder it is to use "irregardless". What I'd like to find is something that goes into, for instance, the distinctions in usage between terms like understand, comprehend, see get, grok, and follow or holiday, vacation, leisure, and time off.

Works aimed at learners from a particular language background would be helpful (particularly something aimed at Russophones), but what I'd prefer something more general that I could recommend widely.