How Many words are needed

First of all I am familiar with how the words at lingq are counted so that ever variation count as seperate words.

My question is… According to the lingq count how words are needed to be to live, hold a job in the foreign language/country. I’m hoping to get at learst a rough idea of what I’m shooting for.

Also would like to hear how different ones are doing at various word levels… such as 3, 5 7, 10, 15 thousand.

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It’s difficult to say, and to be honest I don’t think it is important. If you can cope in the country where your target language is spoken, then that’s fine. Why should you worry about how many words you know?

In my opinion, the LingQ known words badge is more a marker of your progress, not of your fluency.

As James123 says, I don’t the the word count is a guarantee of fluency, at least not in my case. I have a large passive vocabulary, but when it comes to speaking…

And as to number of words necessary for holding down a job, it depends on the job, doesn’t it? How many do you use in English every day? Would that be a good indicator?

I have said before that I consider the word count to be a little like the mechanical rabbit that dogs chase at the dog races. Something to help keep you going.

That said, the known word count represents your potential in the language. To realize that potential you have to put yourself in a situation where you have to use the language often. You will stumble at first, but the higher your language potential, or word count, the better you will do, and the sooner you will sense that you are fluent.

The number of words needed to be comfortable will vary from language to language, since some languages are more inflected than others. 1000 words in English will equate to over 2000 in Russian or Korean , whereas other languages may fall somewhere in between.

Based on English, 3,000 words gets you started talking to people, with lots of gaps. Once you are over 10,000 words you can engage people in more meaningful conversations and enjoy it. There will still be lots of gaps. It is a long road, and you will probably want to get over 15,000 or so to call yourself advanced. That is for English so you need to multiply by some factor for other languages.

Remember, this is just your potential. You then need to get out and use the language a lot, and you will stumble around for a while trying to get your potential to turn in to real fluency. The choice of when to start engaging with people in the language will depend on your opportunities and personal preferences.

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15 000 words in English could easily correspond to 60 000 in Russian.

Remember also, it’s not just the known words that are in your passive vocabulary - also all those LingQs you have created but not learned yet.

My known words count is about 33 000 in Russian, adding in LingQs at status 1 - 3 doubles it to a fairly respectable passive vocabulary. But if I were reading a lot of novels I would want more, maybe 90 000 in total?

Note that for conversation I don’t need anything like that many words. I could understand a sentence like “Alas sir, I fear my corset is on too tight!” - not words I will ever need in conversation. Probably.

Is the word count for Russian so high because of all the inflexions? Or has it got a particularly rich vocabulary?
I’m interested to know why Korean is so high, because my understanding is that it isn’t anywhere near as inflected. Are there many regular variations, as is the case in a language such as Russian? (Although I’m sure that irregular verbs, nouns and adjectives abound in Russia, they vary to express similar ideas and in a more or less similar way.)

We compared the number of unique words needed for my book for different languages. I doubt the relative richness of different languages has much influence. I think it is the variety of endings of Korean words, which act like prepositions or conjunctions.

In Russian is mostly the inflections that matter, rather than any irregular patterns, which would not really affect the word count.

For me , this word badge is a strong stimulus (I always want to get to the next thousand, sometimes I imagine that every know word could be worth 1$ :slight_smile: ). I found that there is a difference between the words I know when I read , the words I know when I listen , write , and the words I can spontaneusly speak when I’m engaged in a discussion with a native. This badge indicates you the words you know when reading the language, but I’m sure that there is a relation between these known words and your capacity for language in those type of situations.

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Steve do you know how the accessment of English words compares to Spanish and French? I’m hoping they’re more like English and not as bad as Russian

Spanish and French are between English and Russian as I remember.

@keithbc - For more detailed numbers, just check out the Avatar Help :slight_smile:

Thanks that link was helpful. I’ve got a ways to go I need to step it up.