This morning I woke gradually from a restless slumber with the words ‘extramuros’, ‘Praxic-era’, ‘counter-Bazian’, ‘metatheorics’, ‘speely’ floating through my sleep addled mind.
Lately I’ve been reading Neal Stephenson’s Anathem. Being a good scifi book it is loaded heavily with vocabulary specific to the setting. At first I was afraid and petrified thinking I could not read it without a comprehensive dictionary by my side. But I spent so many nights flipping the pages one by one and I grew strong, and I learned how to interpret on.
In earnest though, the quantity of words without meaning at the beginning was daunting. This wasn’t a foreign experience so I knew that I would figure it out eventually, and the foreword helped quell any lingering uncertainties regarding the matter. Regardless of my familiarity, I still find it so intriguing how humans can learn new words without having them explicitly defined. This fascination is probably enhanced by my current foray into the realm of Machine learning. The mechanism for this human learning relies on patterns of context and deductive reasoning as far as I can tell.