Words index  Vivian Cook

Tip of the tongue test

This tests how you find words. You have to guess the right word; the length of space does not correspond to the number of missing letters. First cover everything but the definition of each word with a sheet of paper. If you know what word it is write it down; if you are half sure writer down a guess. If you donít know the word, move the paper down to see one letter; write it down if you know it or write down a guess. And so on. Then move down to see the right answer

 1. an instrument used in for measuring the angle of the sun, moon, and stars at sea

 ≠≠≠≠≠_______________     

s≠≠≠≠≠≠______________      

s______________t     

s______t_______t      

sextant

2. semi-circular or many-sided recess, with an arched or domed roof

_______                    

___p___                    

___p___e                   

    ap___e                   

apse

3. an underground conduit for drainage, a common sewer

_________                 

_________a               

____a____a                

c___a____a                

cloaca

4. a fragrant drug, that melts almost like wax, commonly used both as a perfume and a cordial

_______________     

            a_______________     

a______________s     

       a_______g______s     

       ambergris

5. a small boat with oars that is found in China

______________       

______________n      

            _______p______n      

s______p______n

      sampan

6 sad and solemn by nature

______________

       s______________

       s______________e

       s______r________e

       saturnine

7. the meaning is unmistakable

______________

______________l

u_____________l

u______q______l

       unequivocal

8 making picture by cutting into a surface

______________

_______g_______      

i_______g_______     

i_______g______o     

9 a young female water spirit

______________

n_____________ 

n______a______ 

n______a______d

       naiad

10 to continually change your opinion

_____________  

_____________e 

______i_______e

v_____i_______e

______________

       vacillate

The test is trying to put you into a Ďtip-of-the-tongueí (TOT) state. It is not concerned with what you do when you know the word or when you donít know the word but what happens when you almost know it Ė when itís on the tip of your tongue. The words are based on the original experiment by Brown and McNeil.

If you reacted like most people, when you were in a TOT state, you knew what the first letter of the word was, possibly the last letter but you donít know everything in the middle. Our minds seem to store the word with a particular emphasis on the beginning and the end. Itís like peering at it through a dirty window that makes everything in the middle a blur. The way we remember a word seems to be a pattern with the first part most visible Ė we know what the word starts with but we donít know how it goes on..

source Brown & McNeil