Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    anupumh's Avatar
    anupumh is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Hindi
      • Home Country:
      • India
      • Current Location:
      • India
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    1,110
    Post Thanks / Like

    Post Vocabulary of Native Speaker

    Hi,

    Generally how large is the vocabulary (how many words) of a average Native English speaker?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,110
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Vocabulary of Native Speaker

    It's very hard to put a figure on because it';s so hard to define- what exactly is knowing a word? Must I use it regularly, or is being aware of it enough? Would I have to know how to spell it? Indeed, how do we test to see how many words are in a person's head? Then there's the problem of what is a word- how many words is something like set, with dozens of different meanings? You'll see figures around the 4/5,000 mark, but this is usually the vocabulary used in the normal of events, without the passive vocabulary that is hard to measure. At the upper end, you'll see figures of 30,000 for Shakespeare, but he probably used more words in his writing than in his everyday chatter.

  3. #3
    stuartnz's Avatar
    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • New Zealand
      • Current Location:
      • New Zealand
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,370
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Vocabulary of Native Speaker

    If you get the chance, have a look at David Crystal's excellent book, "The Stories of English". There's almost an entire chapter on the issues Tdol so succinctly encapsulated in his post.

  4. #4
    euncu's Avatar
    euncu is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Turkish
      • Home Country:
      • Turkey
      • Current Location:
      • Turkey
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    1,307
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Vocabulary of Native Speaker

    I think it is generally about where you use English more or the social-status,intellectual capacity ,professions etc. of the people whom you mostly interract with. So in this context, "the vocabulary of an average Native English speaker" seems ambiguous to me if you are willing to know how large your vocabulary should be for the very purposes you need to learn English rather than satisfying a simple curiosity about some figures.

Similar Threads

  1. Proofr. / Native Speaker?
    By malty in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-Oct-2009, 01:09
  2. Vocabulary
    By huda23 in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-Aug-2008, 22:38
  3. i need a native speaker
    By bugrates in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Oct-2007, 23:16
  4. what is a native speaker?
    By bbqweasel in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 23-Mar-2006, 05:02

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •