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    #1

    two doubts

    I have been learning English for a long time and I think the two questions given below will help me decide how to change the course of study in order that I may be brought to the perceived goal of near native proficiency.




    1.
    How many words can an educated native speaker use in writing without consulting the dictionary? ( In this context words include their spelling, pronunciation, grammar and everything associated with them.)
    2.
    How many proper names can an educated native speaker use in writing without consulting encyclopedias, gazetteers and pronunciation dictionaries (The above rule applies here as well.)

    Thank you.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: two doubts

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    I have been learning English for a long time and I think the two questions given below will help me decide how to change the course of study in order that I may be brought to the perceived goal of near native proficiency.




    1.
    How many words can an educated native speaker use in writing without consulting the dictionary? ( In this context words include their spelling, pronunciation, grammar and everything associated with them.)
    2.
    How many proper names can an educated native speaker use in writing without consulting encyclopedias, gazetteers and pronunciation dictionaries (The above rule applies here as well.)

    Thank you.
    1. I'm not sure if there would be a difference between how many words a native speaker uses when writing and how many they use when speaking, but I found this:

    "[Of the words in a dictionary] ... most people know half the words - about 50,000 - easily. A reasonably educated person about 75,000 and a really cool, smart person well, maybe all of them but that is rather unusual.
    "An ordinary person, one who has not been to university say, would know about 35,000 quite easily."

    That came from this article.

    However, we don't use the same number of words that we actually know. Then there is the fact that lots of people have a great vocabulary but can't actually spell very well. So the number of words we know doesn't equate to the number of words we can spell.

    2. When you say "proper names" are you including everything: people's first names, the names of famous landmark buildings, countries, brands, company names etc etc?

  2. emka's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: two doubts

    Have you tried this test?
    Test Your Vocabulary
    Itís both fun and interesting. Apparently an adult native English speaker knows between 20,000 and 35,000 words.


    It won't answer your two specific questions but it will give you a fairly good idea where your vocabulary ranges.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: two doubts

    I took the quiz and it estimated I knew 31,800 words.

    Interesting.

    Or maybe it was 33,100. I should have looked longer before I closed the window. Some of those words were a bit strange, though. Even among the ones I knew.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: two doubts

    The last time I took such a test, I came out at 175,000. A fine test.



    Mind you, I did write it.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: two doubts

    Allegedly, mine's 33,300. I don't think that says anything about how many I might use in writing.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: two doubts

    32,400. I must have checked one more or less this time. I wonder which one.

    But as for the words used in my business writing? Sadly, potboiler, imbroglio, and a bunch of other savory ones don't come up!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #8

    Re: two doubts

    How is it that fivejedjon has such a mind boggling vocabulary? After all, Barb_D and emsr2d2 are both native speakers and they have such a puny vocabulary. There is something fishy about it.


    The other day I happened to read an article by Andreea Cervatiuc at the University of Calgary estimating that the average vocabulary size of a native speaker is somewhere between 13500 and 20700 and debunking earlier vocabularies of 216000 words and 80000 words. And I think this survey is more reliable than claims of 100000 and 150000.

  7. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: two doubts

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    How is it that fivejedjon has such a mind boggling vocabulary? After all, Barb_D and emsr2d2 are both native speakers and they have such a puny vocabulary. There is something fishy about it.
    There are two possibilities:
    1. I am just the greatest English teacher in the world. (That's the one I go for.)
    2. I lied. (That's the one most other people go for. That's because they are jealous of my intellectual powers.)

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