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Active and Passive Vocabulary

How many words should an average Endlish speaker have in his active vocabulary and how many words should he know in general?

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Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
How many words should an average Endlish speaker have in his active vocabulary and how many words should he know in general?
A major difficulty in answering that question is reaching some understanding of what a "word" is. I have seen estimates of the number of English words vary from several hundred thousand to over a million. Obviously, this range is too large to be meaningful. IMO, when we talk about words, we should talk about base words, that is, words without a variety of inflections. If we accept "love" as a word, it should include: love, loves, loved, loving, etc.
However, base words with prefixes and suffixes usually form new words. Another problem involves words with multiple definitions. Are the words "fast" and "set" individual words, or do their many meanings create more words. I would say no, but has one learned a word if one only knows a minority of its uses?

One source claims that the thousand most common words account for 85% of the words used in most conversations. That source came close to saying that that might be enough. However, a casual glance at those thousand words reveals that the list contains the three articles and most of the prepositions, pronouns, and routine conjunctions. While those words are common and very important, they hardly can be said to compose a sufficient vocabulary. Some estimates credit "average" speakers with an active vocabulary of five to ten thousand words (without defining what a word is), and a passive vocabulary of two to three times that many. Without any idea of what the definitions were, that sounds about right to me.

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Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

How many words do native english speakers use in their daily life? I have no idea. Can they use more than 1500 if we don't count all those aticles and particles?

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Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
How many words do native english speakers use in their daily life? I have no idea. Can they use more than 1500 if we don't count all those aticles and particles?
Yes, I believe they can and they do. By all acounts, a 1500 word vocabulary is very limted

My previous post, according to this site's text analyzer contained 146 unique words. That was a brief communication on one subject.

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Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
Yes, I believe they can and they do. By all acounts, a 1500 word vocabulary is very limted

My previous post, according to this site's text analyzer contained 146 unique words. That was a brief communication on one subject.
Yes, I know that a 1500 word vocabulary is very limited. Of course you or somebody else can use three times more words than it, but where is the guarantee that you won't repeat the same wors over and over. Let's say each word 10-20 times.

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Re: Active and Passive Vocabulary

Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
Yes, I know that a 1500 word vocabulary is very limited. Of course you or somebody else can use three times more words than it, but where is the guarantee that you won't repeat the same wors over and over. Let's say each word 10-20 times.
The common words will be repeated endlessly. But each new subject brings new nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. A conversation about one's home, a football game, and one's last vaction will introduce many new words. It will not take long to pass 1500 words.

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