How Many Words to Fluency?: Another Adventure in the Russian Language

There are Six levels of achievement in the acquisition of Russian according to the Russian Universities. Elementary with a vocabulary of 750 words, Basic: 1300 words, Level 1 Intermediate: 2300 words, Level 2 Advanced: 10000 words, Level 3 Proficient: 12000 words (with 7000 active) and level 4 Fluency with 20,000 words (8000 active). Interestingly, there is a big jump between the two intermediate levels from 2300 words to 10000 words. So that is where the hard work of intensive listening and extensive reading must come in. I am nearly at Level 1 Intermediate stage, but I certainly don’t think I know enough words to be able to hold even a basic conversation. I think 3000 to 3500 words or more may be more realistic a word count for level 1 to take into count the case endings. I think 20000 words in Russian is going to be a minimum and 30000 to 50000 words would be a more comfortable fluency level. Any thoughts?

It depends!..
In you have these 2182 words which you maybe can guess by reading, but not use actively. Besides, lingq coutns all forms of the one word as different words, but they don’t really different.
I have in my French vocabulary here about 30,000 words which I encountered in different texts. Some words I forgot because I don’t read them everry day.
So maybe 10,000 words I can quess by reading now, but very often they are different forms of the same words in different tences etc - so it may be really 3,000 words I know passively.
But by listening I can quess maybe 1000 words because by listening I have no time to think about the meanings of these words.
At finally, even from this 1000 words I can use in speaking maybe only 300 words!
It means that I know really actively only 1% of the words frrom these merntionerd 30,000 words!
And now say yourself honestly how many words you can use actively from these 2182 words? - only these words must be counted in fact!

Your lingq known word total probably equates to around the basic level when calculated by the method most universities use. I’m not sure, but I think Steve was between 15000 and 20000 known words before he wanted to have a conversation in Polish. But activating a reasonable proportion of that vocabulary still requires work.
I am finding that listening to a variety of different levels and quality of sources is keeping the words closer to where they bubble up to the surface when I try to write.

Evgeny, have you watched Les Témoins? It’s just a basic French noir detective show, but I found it drew me back into French more than I thought likely or even possible.

Can you give me the link to this show?
But of course, I have to pay more attention and more time to French to be more successful.
It’s not so easy because I have a lot of different interests in my life, maybe too many different interests.
Besides, my job and doing new lessons for my language school and for

Login - LingQ I was just listening to Evgueny’s lesson on this matter.

I may know 2600+ words, but not actively. The trickle down effect probably would only mean I probably actively use so many words, depending on how I use the vocabulary. I can comfortably read a food article such as a recipe in Russian because guessing through context is quite easily. However, reading a BBC (Би би си) article is more difficult.

You can watch the series “les témoins” in streaming here :

It’s one season of 6 episodes.
Enjoy !

15000 or 20000 words is a huge number. For instance, in this interview from Steve’s favourite Echo Of Moscow combined they use about 2100 words. The number of lexemes would be even less. I think, both of them can be considered as being able to hold a conversation and having a quite comfortable fluency level.

Evgueney, I am not sure whether to be encouraged or discouraged by your post. According to your ratio I actually only know actively 22 words! New target: 100,000 words!

Just forget about the number of words!..
It’s not so important!
The most important: how easy and properly do you manage these words, how do you use them?
Bautov writes correctly - 20,000 words are even too many.
Only great writers like Shakespeare or Pushkin used so many words.
The usual every day speech contains not more than 2000 words.
But you have to use them actively, qwickly and properly!..

I agree that it would be great to be able to know and use the most common 2000 words.
The only problem is that those 2000 words are embedded in a much larger passive vocabulary that also must be acquired. I still think that counting words is a useful indicator of recognising progress.
Listening and reading and speaking and word acquisition all go together. And this is what I am doing.