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  1. anupumh's Avatar
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    #1

    Post Vocabulary of Native Speaker

    Hi,

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

    Thanks

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    #2

    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.

  2. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #3

    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.

  3. euncu's Avatar
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    #4

    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.

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