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Thread: vocabulary

  1. #1
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default vocabulary

    I have often heard that Winston Churchill had a vocabulary running to some 60,000 words. Is that true? How many words are there in the English language? How many words does an ordinary person know and use?
    How many words does an educated person know and use? How many words have we got to learn to express ourselves fluently in the English language? Is it worthwhile learning slang and informal expressions used in films and novels? What kind of words do we have to focus on when we are building up our vocabulary?

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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: vocabulary

    There are so many questions here, most of which are like 'How long is a piece of string?'. Here's somewhere to start: Number of Words in the English Language . But don't regard it as the gospel truth; I've heard estimates of much more than 1 million 'words in the English language'. It rather depends on how you define a 'word' and what you mean by 'the English language'. Similar problems of definition haunt your other questions; what is 'an educated person'? My mother, who left school at 12, had a much bigger vocabulary than the PhD students whose doctoral theses she typed.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: vocabulary

    Afterthought: The original question didn't mention Shakespeare, but you may find this interesting: How Many Words Did Shakespeare Know?

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