In one of my group conversations last week, I stumbled across the topic of how many words does a native speaker know, one of my students wanted to know how many words the average native speaker knows, I know the word count on lingq may differ to real life, but could somebody answer my question, how many words do you think a native speaker knows
I believe the native speaker can guess (so more or less knows) about 50000 words. But really we use in our everyday language only about 3000 words. It’s our active vocabulary. Our passive vocabulary - not for speaking, but for real understanding is about 10000 words.
So, if i get my word count up too 10000 would I be advanced 1 level on lingq
At LingQ, word, words, worded, and wording are counted as different words, and I think that this is very scientific procedure because no grammatical rules are presupposed. 10,000 words in a dictionary might be counted at least more than 20,000 at LingQ.
Of course, It is “scientific,” in a sense.
We treat each form of the word as a separate word, and capture phrases for these different forms so that we can learn how the different forms function.
In English the gross up factor from word families to words is around 1 to 1.6 according to a study by Paul Nation of New Zealand. In more inflected languages the gross up factor is much larger. Thus 10,000 words in English may equate to a few times that many in Russian. I do not have these numbers.
As far as the question of how many words native speakers know in different languages, I suggest a little time spent googling should deliver some useful information.
After some quick googling I came across this very interesting article regarding Spanish and how many words are being used by the young population of some countries. The article is in Spanish, so hopefully you’ll understand it.
A couple of examples shown in the article:
Chile - 307 words are used by young people to be understood.
Dominican Republic- 254 words
I find it hard to believe these numbers, though. How far can you get with 300 words?
That’s probably about what my teenage son uses in a day
The trouble with many LIngQ members is that they are very intelligent. So intelligent that they don’t feel that they are communicating unless they are speaking at the level of a university lecturer. This is about Advanced 2 in LingQ terms. The general population, on the other hand, are communicating perfectly happily at Intermediate 2 level (intermediate 1 for teenagers, beginner 1 and 2 for primary school children). It is perfectly possibly to communicate with only 300 words, but you can’t express very precise ideas. You need some all-purpose adjectives, eg big, little, nice, nasty, cool, minging, lame, and some all-purpose nouns : thing, whatsit, dude, critter. Now you just take half a dozen verbs to glue them together. I suggest get, put, stop, say. A few “noise” words help keep the rhythm.
So, you just, like, say things, dude, yeah? To, like, your mates and that. Cool, or what?
According to an essay written by Paul Nation and Robert Waring, native people’s vocabulary size is around 20,000 word families. But, this figure does not include " proper names, compound words, abbreviations, and foreign words." Besides, it should not be forgotten that they use the term “word family,” which is taken to include “a base word, its inflected forms, and a small number of reasonably regular derived forms.”
thank you everyone