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  1. #11
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    How often would they have to use the word for it to be included in the list? For instance, in Portugal, I once had to buy a hinge. I looked the word up and went and bought one. I can still remember the word years later, but I only ever used it once- would this be included in my vocabulary?

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    How often would they have to use the word for it to be included in the list? For instance, in Portugal, I once had to buy a hinge. I looked the word up and went and bought one. I can still remember the word years later, but I only ever used it once- would this be included in my vocabulary?
    It is already in your vocabulary otherwise you couldn't remember that episode. Of course there are great many words which are rarely used in the language and it's not important to keep them in mind. But now I'm thinking about the native speaker who has the largest vocabulary. How many words he knows, I wonder.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    Does it concern to simple people in their everyday activities?
    Of course. Just start making a list of nouns that are used in the acquisition and preparation of food: fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, dairy products, eggs, spices, breads, crackers, drinks, etc. Then make one for household items, transportation, school supplies, sports, clothing, etc. We are not talking brain surgery here.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Of course. Just start making a list of nouns that are used in the acquisition and preparation of food: fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, dairy products, eggs, spices, breads, crackers, drinks, etc. Then make one for household items, transportation, school supplies, sports, clothing, etc. We are not talking brain surgery here.
    Anyway I am not sure that a simple american uses more than 1500 unique words during a day. He doesn't do all the above mentioned activities in one day, does he?

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    Anyway I am not sure that a simple american uses more than 1500 unique words during a day. He doesn't do all the above mentioned activities in one day, does he?
    When did this get confined to single day? Is a vocabulary the sum total of words used in 24 hours? The average person has dozens of different conversations every day -- unless he lives in a cave.

  6. #16
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    It is already in your vocabulary otherwise you couldn't remember that episode. Of course there are great many words which are rarely used in the language and it's not important to keep them in mind. But now I'm thinking about the native speaker who has the largest vocabulary. How many words he knows, I wonder.
    Such words would increase the speasker's vocabulary enormously.

  7. #17
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    Anyway I am not sure that a simple american uses more than 1500 unique words during a day. He doesn't do all the above mentioned activities in one day, does he?
    Someone may only use 1500 words in one day, but every day would have different items, as well as the main core that are repeated endlessly, so measuring vocabulary over 24 hours would not give a clear sense of that person's knowledge, IMO.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    To Tdol & MikeNewYork!
    So an average native speaker has a vocabulary of about 10-15000 words, doesn't he? Saying vocabulary I mean his active words which he always carries in mind.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    To Tdol & MikeNewYork!
    So an average native speaker has a vocabulary of about 10-15000 words, doesn't he? Saying vocabulary I mean his active words which he always carries in mind.
    I can live with that estimate, particularly for the lower end of native speakers. The higher end is anybody's guess. I knew Tony Randall, the actor. He was one of the most well-spoken men I have ever talked with. He was on the usage panel of American Heritage Dictionary. Speaking with him was an endless vocabulary lesson.

  10. #20
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

    I read that Shakespeare and Churchill used the widest vocabularies of English writers.

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