I’m almost done with a new article so that’ll come out in a few days, but there are a couple of other things that I wanted to mention and I wanted to post a bit more frequently this year anyway, so I decided to do a quick little
And it’s not just news but I actually also need your thoughts on a few things.
So let’s start right away with a few small things about this site itself.
First up a little piece of good news. One reader who is a cyber security expert recently offered to do a penetration test of the site.
That basically means he was trying various things to hack into the system. These things are usually pretty expensive, so I’m really grateful for the offer and of course I said yes. And so far, he hasn’t found any real issues. Which makes me pretty happy!
The comment spam issues I had recently also seem to be resolved, so that’s good.
However, during this stuff I found out that Gravatar (the service where some of you have their profile pictures) had a data leak in 2020 where millions of emails, names and possibly also passwords were leaked and sold. If you want to check if your email address is in this or some other leak, you can do that here:
Have I Been Pawned? Email Checker
If your email is listed that doesn’t automatically mean that you’re hacked, but if you haven’t changed your password in a while you might want to do that and maybe enable two factor verification.
Cool. Next up a little question about the YourDailyGerman dictionary.
I’m slowly shifting my focus from adding new entries to enhancing the entries that are there. And the one thing I think is the most helpful right now is to give you an indication of how common a word is.
Or actually, I should say, how common an idea of a word is, because many words have more than one use and one might be super common while the other might be rare.
So yeah, I have pretty much all the functionality in place, but what I am not sure about is how to categorize words.
Right now, what I’m thinking is a scale of 1 to 5 with roughly these meanings:
- super rare
(old fashioned, super high brow or limited to a few phrasings)
(technical, super formal or niche)
- “normal” word
(you’ll see the word sooner or later but you can reach functional fluency without it)
(it’s common in daily life and you’ll have a perceivable gap without it
- must have
(This is a must have word and you should know it by B1 level the latest)
Let me know in the comments what you think about this and if you have any suggestions for changes or a completely different scheme.
Next up… some drama.
The Recent Duolingo Drama
My friend Jeremy from Seedlang asked me a few days ago if I had been following the Duolingo drama. I hadn’t, but nothing is better to procrastinate work than some good old discussion board drama and so I went on Reddit so see what’s going on.
Apparently, Duolingo has rolled out a new version with some substantial changes to the tree progression and the overall feature set, and the consensus on Reddit and also in the app stores is … that people hate it.
Now, this often happens with a redesign, but here the backlash was especially bad.
One of the Duolingo founders did a sort of Q&A in the Subreddit, and he essentially said that the new system they’re using “gets the average learners better results”… as per science, allegedly. But many people (me included) think that Duolingo is just trying to maximize profit. It’s a publicly traded company now and their main focus is NOT making you learn a language quickly. It is maximizing your time on the app, so they can annoy you into paying.
I know that many of you are also using Duolingo so I was curious to hear from you what you think and if the change is really that bad.
I heard that they took away the discussions under each question which in my opinion is an seminally dumb idea. There was a wealth of information there. Right where the question arises you could find the answer, and that is just gone now apparently. And the reason Luis van Ahn (one of the founders) gave on Reddit was that “very few people used it”. Which I think is a lie. I think they didn’t like people following links to other sources.
But yeah… I’m curious what your thoughts are on the new version, so let me know in the comments.
And also, let me know if you’d be interested in me ranting for 10 minutes about Duolingo in a “review” :).
And now from an established, publicly traded billion dollar company who struggles to put out a good product to an independent German learning program.
Anja’s Video Course – News and Thoughts
Many of you probably remember from last year that Anja from the Youtube channel has launched a German learning video course – which is essentially a comedy series designed for German learners, all complete with topics, subtitles, exercises and native speaker support.
Anja contacted me recently because they’re doing another
10 week challenge
Which is of course marketing code for a sales drive, but hey… you have to find your customers somehow.
And the reality is people LOVE anything that is called “challenge”.
One course creator (not Anja) once told me that she doubled her sales by just reframing her course as a 4-week challenge. Which is crazy!
But I guess this challenge format does offer some extra motivation to actually work with the program you bought, which can indeed be helpful.
Now, Anja and the team are still working on the B2-season of the show, so there is no new content yet.
But they still made some improvements. For one thing, they have added a community forum now, where you can connect with other course members, ask questions or just chat around.
And they’re also working on an actual physical book where they combine all the pdfs from the lessons. Which I think is a great idea – it’s basically like a workbook for the course. That was one of my main complaints initially that having to print a pdf is just not very user friendly.
The book is not entirely finished yet unfortunately, but it’ll be available soon on Amazon and I think they’ll sell it “at cost”, so just to cover the printing and shipping.
I kind of think they should include it in the purchase of the course for free, but okay, I don’t know how complicated that is and their numbers.
Anyway, so they’ll start a new 10 week challenge on Monday and because I know that quite a few of you have actually taken (or are currently taking) Anja’s course I wanted to ask you what YOU think.
What did you think about the course?
What did you like? What did you not like like?
Did it help you improve your German? Was it worth the price?
Please please, if you have taken one or more of her courses (A1, A2, B1)
and you have a moment, please share your impressions in the comment.
And please be honest – if you didn’t like it please share that as well and also let us know why you’d not recomment it.
That’ll help people make a decision if the program might be for them or if they should rather pass. There is a 30 day money back guarantee, and I have no doubt Anja will honor this guarantee. So there’s not really a risk, that you end up with something you hate, But we all know hothat there’s a good chance we’re actually too lazy to ask our money back :).
Anyway, if you’re looking for a course centered around real spoken language and you like quirky, silly humor, you can find out more and join here:
And make sure to use the code “daily15” to get 15% off.
And that’s it for today, actually.
Here again a reminder of the things I have asked your feedback on… just if you have time and “Bock” of course :D
- What categories for how common a word is?
- How do you like (or hate) the new version of Duolingo?
- Should I do a Duolingo review?
- How did you like Anja’s course?
Tausend Dank im Voraus for taking the time, have a great week and I’ll see you in a few days with an article about… nah… I’m not gonna say it :).
The Duolingo redesign! Aaaargh! Ive been leaving Russian since October, and from the redesign until LAST WEEK I did not encounter a single new noun as a vocabulary word, it was like they just threw me a month backwards and thought I wouldn’t notice. In general, yes: I hate it. But I only use duo for new languages (never used it for things I already have at least A2 in), so I can’t comment about the upper levels.
I used it for Russian late last summer, because I felt stuck with Bulgarian and wanted to know if I could have a better chemistry with Russian language.
I came in with zero knowledge beside the alphabet and I was SO BORED that I kept testing out of levels, until I hit a wall. These lessons are deliberately slow, like they’re made for the people who need 50 repetitions till a word sticks. Nothing wrong with that, we all have different speeds, but I am fine with 5 repetitions and I cannot use Duolingo. I could learn 10 times more by flipping through flashcards for five minutes.
any good resources for learning Russian (just off the top of your head)? I tried for all of 3 days after watching the
Russian team“ROC” dominate gymnastics at the Olympics and quickly gave up figuring languages with an entirely different alphabet were a bridge too far
Nope, I just tried with Duolingo and then stopped and went back to Bulgarian.
The new alphabet definitely slows down the beginning a lot.
A rating system on words would be very helpful.
I am using the new Duolingo and I it is clearly slower. I very much miss the discussion board and the separate section for stories. You can now only access stories through the unit “path”. I do not like it as much, but am still using it as a free user.
Yes, please a Duo review would be great
I have not take Anja’s course, but it sounds very engaging.
The usage rating sounds good to me, but I hope you keep the small print in some form attached to the guide.
EG super rare … in polite society fxxx may be super rare but at the same time a word you ought to know. You rightly added “old fashioned, super high brow or limited to a few phrasings” to illumnate the meaning of the definition.
I think I’ll do two separate indications now… one about how common it is and one about register/tone :)
Yes, on rating the use/importance of words. Gute Idee!
(alright this ended up a lot longer than expected and not super coherent in spots but you touched a nerved asking for duolingo feedback)
I’ve been using Duolingo ~3-4-5?? years now, completed the German tree about a year ago and slowly working my way through Finnish, been through ~2 redesigns. Like most people I’ve felt there’s been a general decline in quality (them going public explains A LOT) but have gone back and forth on DL relative to other language-learning apps. They’ve rolled out more animations, cartoon characters, and in general it felt like they were targeting a younger and younger demographic or attention-deficit learners which annoyed the ever-loving crap outta me. Can I just learn another language without cutesy little cartoons doing backflips every time I get a question right?! There’s a way to turn off animations but it never remembers the setting so I have to go to my settings and turn it off ever. single. time. I. use. Duolingo. It takes 2 seconds but like, it’s 2023, c’mon. Like everyone in the comments have said, the voices are annoying as hell. I’ve never been closer to being pro-infanticide than when I hear Junior speak.
I was really into Duolingo and a few years ago they had a DuoCon thing with speakers from the company and I almost virtually attended some of the sessions, I was pretty hardcore into the philosophy and believed in Duolingo even if at the time (~2020~2021?) I was getting antsy around some of the changes.
I will say I’ve gotten used to the new redesign but absolutely loathed it when it came out mostly because I was maybe 60% done with the Finnish tree and suddenly was way behind and was trying to reconcile the new tree with the notes I had taken and figure out where I previously was. Definitely spent an hour or two on the duolingo reddit reading all the hate comments and getting some sweet, sweet schadenfreud (not sure schadenfreud’s the exact right word here as it’s more my enjoyment of people hating Duolingo vs enjoying something bad happening to Duolingo? getting some sweet, sweet schadenfreud-adjacent-term?)
Two things I absolutely hate is the discussion forum removal (you can still read old forum comments but can’t comment anymore) and the lack of notes. I don’t know how the hell you’re suppose to understand the intricate grammar of German or Finnish without some notes pointing you in the right direction. It’s absolutely inane. There’s a ton of idiomatic phrases you just need someone to say “that’s idiomatic, just remember and move on.” Thank goodness the notes were preserved on duome. I would’ve probably given up/chucked my computer across the room without duome.
I’m still using it because like I said I’ve gotten used to the changes and I’m very much a creature of habit and sort of just want to keep up my streak but I don’t spend more than a few minutes on Duolingo a day.
(feel free to take a tea break if you’re still reading)
I use a few other apps (memrise, clozemaster) and I gotta say Duolingo is/was still better imo as they’re much more strictly vocab while Duolingo (at least formerly) had at least a smidge of grammar to help you on your way (though again, that can’t really be said anymore with the disappearance of notes). Memrise also had a layout change a little while back that I feel made it worse (not uncommon for me to get the same vocab word 5x in a row). If I was just starting out today I don’t know if I’d keep using DL but I’m deep enough in my 2 courses that using a combo of Duolingo + Duome isn’t terrible.
I agree with everything you’ve said about these moves likely being profit-driven and DL going public is really a shame. I also hate the whole “tHe StuDiEs tElLs Us The NeW FoRmAt Is BeTtEr FoR lEaRnInG” / AKSHUHLLY people have better recall with the new layout that inevitably gets trotted out, show us the raw numbers or shut up with that. The results of studies/surveys can get sliced and diced in so many ways to give people the results they want, like, is it actually learners who logged on between the hours of 4-6am who own one cat and 2 iguanas and have been users for 3.5 months who had better recall and that gets twisted to “the evidence actually shows….” Gamification is also a thing that I feel, once it got “released into the wild” and moved from theoretical to real-world applications just got mangled to death. There’s a difference between gamifying to encourage and enhance long-term learning and creating a dumbass game for a child where you accidentally learn one or two foreign words along the way. Gamifying in practice too often ends up being simplifying and stupifying.
I digress. Needless to say, I would welcome a 10-minute rant from you (to accompany my own…), for the Schadenfreud natürlich
I have started taking the German tree on Duolingo and I am taking screenshots like every other slide. It’s just so bad. I mean, just considering what they could have spent the money on.
My rant will come for sure :)
I enjoyed reading your rant!
Thanks very much for detailing all of that, you definitely added a few things that I neglected to mention in my multiple semi-rants. In particular –just because it’s just so very characteristic of Duo as a company– we have the astonishing inability of Duo to recognise a simple switch in “Settings” (ie, “Turn Animations Off”). I’ve filed at least three bug reports about this over more than a year: the pathetic little twitches on an otherwise static page weren’t only visually distracting, but (incredibly!) managed to consume a constant 10% or so of my CPU (per Duolingo tab!). Needless to say, nothing’s change with respect to honouring the setting, and there’s been zero feedback regarding the bug report. Why even have the setting?
The “creature of habit” thing is strong with me. I guess I look at completing my daily Duolingo quota now as something akin to popping a couple of Vitamin C pills each morning. It may still be doing something, it may not, but it’s part of the routine, it’s easy to do, relatively enjoyable –in this format– for the main part, and (measured entirely unscientifically), I definitely make fewer mistakes with the mechanics of German language than I used to. That exposure time to the basic “tools” –articles, verb forms, adjective endings, pronouns (relative or otherwise), prepositions of all kinds– all adds up in the end, and if DL contributes to that then it’s serving a purpose. You eventually notice it occasionally as a kind of “hey, I didn’t have to think about that any more, it was just *obvious*”.
Of course, as I probably mentioned earlier, language learning is inherently mosaic-like, and you can’t easily determine the effect of one aspect while simultaneously and somewhat promiscuously absorbing other sources of information and stimulation in the target language. It’s entirely possible that there’s something of a “sunk cost fallacy” influence at work here: I really want to believe it’s all been (and continues to be) worthwhile!
Maybe the real fluency is the friends we made along the way.
I evaluate very useful the word frequency of use indicator and your five levels.
About Duolingo, I like their recent changes. The repetition is a good way to get words and grammar from from short term memory into long term memory. Of course, to get a good understanding and fluency other actions are required, such as watching movies with undertitles, not forgetting to learn grammar rules. Duoling should bring back the comments link, where other students give explanations.
Perhaps I am the exception here but I like the new Duolingo. The repetition can be irritating, but, as I have a psychologist son, I know that repetion is the only way to get words and grammar from from short term memory into long term memory. For an older person, it takes longer for long term memories to be established, so repeating is really important. No everyone has the benefit of college courses for German, or to be able to hear or practice speaking. No, duolingo will not turn you into a fluent german speaker by itself, but it gives you an insight into a beautiful language. Sorry, I think they are on the right track. But I do think they should bring back the comments link, where others give explanations.
Glad to have some voices that like the new format. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who do like it, but maybe not with as much passion as the people who used to be fans and are now super disappointed.
I see your point about repetition but considering just how much money they do have available, I find their product to be lazy and poorly thought out. It could be soooo much better, without taking away any of the aspects that you like about it.
I endorse the word frequency indicator and your representative five levels. :) I do use Duolingo, but I use it more for maintaining my current knowledge. I don’t feel I am learning anything new, but rather it helps me with faster recall and making German more automatic in my brain if that makes sense. I take in-person German classes every week (Sept – May) which are super. Daily German is a great complement to class instruction because you explain the root origin, grammar, and have unusual use examples (which are way better than basic, boring yawn “I have a dog” examples).
“faster recall and making German more automatic in my brain”
That’s good enough, I’d say. If an app can help with that and it manages to make you use it consistently, then that’s a win.
I like the word frequency of use indicator and your five levels.
The word rating system you propose looks really useful.
I love the word-frequency idea!! Helps me know what to learn first.
Hi, thank you for your incredible effort for every ‘daily’.
About categories, those 5 seem fine. I don’t know what can be ‘normal’ but I need ‘standard’ German (vs colloquial, if possible).
About Duolingo, as a free user I cannot complain too much but what I found most frustrating is that they block forum for non-pay users, so when I make mistakes, I cannot tell the reason for my mistakes. I use DL mainly for quick training, and even you have tons of ‘gems’, there is no much use for it, so my DL days is pretty much over.
I use Memrise (I pay for this service) for listening as this helps a lot (not only German but other languages) It does not help to understand grammar, but they use ‘ordinary people’ to talk to us, so great training for ears!
again, thank you!
I think, after thinking about it and reading the comments, I’ll actually do a “style” indication separately that has “colloquial”, “formal”, “technical” “old fashioned” and so on.
I am certain that how often a word is used is the right measure for dictionary inclusion. So should super rare words be included? [devil’s advocate question:)) ]. i had a book that purported to list the 4000 most used German words with very trivial definitions. Some words were of course pronouns articles and prepositions, which I never count personally. So I assume you know how many words you have in this wonderful resource. But are there still common ones missing? Also will the “door still be ajar” for guidance on words not in the dictionary?
So right now I have a bit fewer than 10.000 words in the dictionary.
It contains most of the ones that I have discussed in the posts across the site, so that’ll be the common German ones, and then the rest, I chose by tracking what people are searching for in the dictionary that didn’t have an entry yet.
I actually like to have a mix of common and rare words. When I learn a language myself, I always include a portion of rare or useless vocabulary in my active vocabulary. It just feels more natural this way.
As for suggestions… I have stopped tracking searches for now, but I have a form on the page that gets shown if your search is not in the dictionary yet, so you can make suggestions there. Or just the comments anywhere :)
I would be 100% in favour of a word-frequency system! I read a lot of words in my Flashcards app, my Studio D1 book(upto B1) and upcoming Aspekte Neu books(For B2) and I always use your Dictionary to get a feel of how a German might see the word(a native user’s perspective).
The word frequency system would make it an indispensable part of any learner looking for more in-depth knowledge about the word and it’s usage.
I’ve been using Duo for a few years. As a paid sub. I never really progressed above a basic level. I got serious recently and used traditional sources, and am about to sit my exam. But I’m tired of the woke virtue-signalling that Duo shoves down my throat. I’m there to learn a language. Not support Ukraine, nor trannies, nor pride nor any other rubbish they want to try to corporatize. So I’m done with Duo. I don’t get any of that with Anja. She’s great.
“But I’m tired of the woke virtue-signalling that Duo shoves down my throat.”
I know what you mean. I had the same feeling… like someone is trying really hard to make me “learn” something besides the language.
I’m actually fairly “woke” and as far as my world view goes (I find the word “trannies” disrespectful, for example, and I would never use it) but the meta messaging was so not subtle in Duolingo that I felt it and I felt like someone is trying to manipulate me and “teach” me, aside from language.
As for your learning experience… I think if you want to be serious about a language, what you did is the way to go. Commit to the task, put in the actual work that it takes, including the dull and exhausting parts.
Good luck for the exam!! Viel Erfolg!
I approve strongly of your frequency rating system for words.
1) I like the 4 category system with an addition of a sub/notation of slang.
2) I hate new Duolingo – taking away the comments is ridiculous unless they are going to start providing information on why certain things are done. I think Duolingo is just good for your first one year of studying the language. They spend too much time on these animations, and too much time on, trying to be politically correct for every gender/sub gender category. Just focus on teaching the language DuoLingo.
3) yes, please do a Duolingo review. I love some good old fashion Duolingo bashing. :)
4) I tried Anja’s first course. I was sucked in by the marketing challenge thing. I canceled it in the early days, and to her credit. It was canceled and money refunded with no problem. I find her quite annoying. Some of the comedic, funny voices, she puts on a character makes it impossible to understand because the voices are so exaggerated. I was forced to only read the captions. She thinks she’s really funny – NOT.
I started “taking” the German snake now and I hate it. I knew that before, but I am stunned at how bad and inaccurate the voicing is.
As for Anja… she’s definitely a “type” and she’s “keeping it real”, so either you like her style or chances are that you REALLY don’t like it. I for example would never watch her Youtube videos if I were to learn German. It’s just not my thing.
But the production value and the overall story and how they broke down and included the grammar makes for a really good course – but ONLY if you enjoy watching Anja being Anja :).
Good to hear you asked for a refund and great they granted it.
Oh and interesting to hear that it’s the “challenge” thing that got you. This stuff really seems to work.
They actually do something along the same lines.
During onboarding they ask you to commit to a streak and amount of time per day. A bit like a challenge. They might even use the word.
But they DO NOT save this information and they never bring it up after you make your decision.
Still, they found that people who got shown this screen were much more consistent than people who never picked an option.
About 5 years ago, I knew only a few German words. I tried Duolingo for a short while (but use it quite a bit now for Chinese along with Learning With Oliver. I restarted using Duolingo just as a suplement but wouldn’t recommend it as a primary learning source). LWO gets one into phrases and sentences fairly quickly, … essential for ‘getting the hang of’ the how the language works IMO. But my learning stagnated so I decided to try Audiobooks (via Audible which I followed using the corresponding Kindle book). I tend to listen to crime series as my brain finds them intriguing. Listening to audiobooks was, for me, the closest I would come to hearing native speakers talking on the discourse level of language. So, don’t want to knock Duolingo but I think it can only be a supplement along with another which emphasizes listening to discourse and dialogue. I don’t get much practice in dialogue but my comprehension is pretty good now. I’ve listened to over 20 audiobooks (by Volker Kutscher, Nele Neuhaus, Alex Beer) by now. (I do it while walking or at the gym.)
I’ve been with DuoLingo for a few years. The discussions were a great supplement to DuoLingo. Many times, I’ve answered a question incorrectly, but Duo provides no explanation why the answer was incorrect. With discussions, I could ask what I did wrong, There were many volunteer experts/moderators who followed the discussions and who were very helpful. Unfortunately, some mods had very thin skins. They were quick to ban people for a week or two if you complained about DuoLingo. I was banned a few times, and often my thoughts were “What have I done now?”.
Yes, the new DuoLingo is terrible. After 3 years of German, I’m still tested on elementary vocabulary – “What’s the word for dog”. Duo used to have good stories. Many of those have been dropped or revamped. There was an especially poignant one about an elderly woman who sold a book with an old letter from her husband-to-be that was mangled by Duo. And cartoon characters are used in every phase of the program. Please, spare me, Duo!
I blame the problems on Peterson publishing who purchased Duo. Peterson is notorious for over-priced text books.
Agree completely on the forums attached to the individual questions: that might actually be Duolingo’s most boneheaded move of all, as far as language learning goes!
A couple of little things. I’m pretty sure that you mean the dreaded “Pearson” here, which partnered with (rather than bought) Duolingo back in 2018 or so. For quite some time questions started leaking from Pearson’s supposedly separate German learning tree back into the main German tree, and the volunteers at the time weren’t allowed to touch anything to do with Pearson’s materials, so we were treated to a right royal mess that took endless months to sort out. (The standard of the questions that had been added by Pearson staff and accidentally “leaked” was comically (nah, tragically!) awful, down to the level of incorrect articles and conjugations on even the simplest of sentences. Those poor high school students!)
So… how do you know so much about the behind the scenes of Duolingo?
Have you ever been working for them? Or are you really just very interested in their company journey. The insights you have are impressive! You could probably do a Duolingo blog and bring in some serious numbers.
Haha: it’s just long-term exposure, more than anything else, and maybe a nagging, forlorn hope that Duolingo would actually improve (instead of decaying). So much for that! But I’m also pretty active on the Duolingo German Learners Facebook group (insert ongoing hatred of Facebook **here**: it’s well deserved), and more generally I tend to try and work out why something isn’t working, or why something doesn’t “sound right” when I’m told that it doesn’t.
Those hunting expeditions often led me into the bowels of the forums within DL, which contain a huge body of largely inaccessible information about “The Rise and Fall of DL”. There’s definitely a long, meandering article in there somewhere: the (relatively) golden days, the trials of Pearson publishing, the move to a more and more game-like structure, the disempowering of the volunteers, the snipping of the forums, the preparation for sale, die schreckliche, ekelhaft lange Schlange… you get the idea. I’m gliding over a few of the controversies, and I’ve doubtless forgotten a bunch as well.
It’d be fun to talk with a “real” insider about what was happening. I’ve certainly never worked there (or talked with anyone who has). I’m frequently flabbergasted at the sheer *heft* of the operations of some of the big online companies, and –as you noted some time back– how such a monstrous collections of talent could end up with the current product as its crowning achievement. The DL promotional materials seem overly keen on the “proud” word: “we’re so proud of our new voices, of our (somewhat overly pronounced) inclusivity, our new cartoon characters”. You have to wonder who they’re actually trying to convince here… the whole thing smells just a little *cultish* at times.
word rarity class: #1 and #2 not different enough to be useful.
#1 = so rare that using it will be regarded as a misprint (like “cloven” or “egad” or “anent” or “betwixt” in English)
#2 = rare; using it will mark you out as old or foreign
(like “veritable” or “hirsute” or “prolix” or “esoteric”)
Yeah, I was thinking after reading some comments here that “rare” is not important enough to split it up.
Now I’m thinking about 4 grades and then an extra indication for tone (ancient, old school, formal, slang, colloquial). More work, but I think more useful.
I have used cloven in the last month lol. That said I never heard of egad or anent. Betwixt i recognise, although I would have too look it up to be sure but i think it is like “between” and appears in stuff like shaksespeare – definitely old….
Esoteric is pretty useful tbh. The other words sound like words a jounalist who is trying to sound fancy would use.
Hey, fun words: “cloven” always takes me to an old Mountain Goats song: “…and when cloven hoofprints turn up in the garden”. “egad” is sometimes used around some of my older friends as a more interesting take on the astonishingly (fast kriminell) overused “Oh my God!”. I think “betwixt” usually occurs in the combination “betwixt and between” (meaning something like “neither one thing nor the other”) rather than separately. For “anent” I’ve got nothing: never heard or read it, as far as I know.
“veritable”, “hirsute”, “prolix” and “esoteric”, however, are all very much part of my active vocabulary, even if one or two or them are usually used in a slightly self-mocking or ironic way (veritably!!). And yes, as predicted, I’m old :-/
I really like your categorization!