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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    How many words in English do you know ?

    Today one of my friends, an elderly person, asked me this question. I had no reply for it. He said that he made an estimate of the number of words in English he knew. His mother tongue is Malayalam. He studied English as a language starting from school classes. He was in government service and is retired and spends time reading magazines, newspapers and books. Anyway, his study about the number of English words he knows gave him an estimate that was at 3100.

    I thought I shall also make an attempt in this direction. But I don't know how. May be an English dictionary can help me. And, you too can help me. Let me make an attempt.
  • #654205
    It's very tough to count how many words of English I know as daily I learn so many new words. This man is great who counted the words he knows.
    Sanjeev

    " It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not" ... Andre Gide

  • #654206
    I don't know how many words I know in English. I never made an attempt to do that. I will not do that also. Because it is of no use knowing the number of words. The time spent in that can be used to know some new English words I feel. Anyhow, I don't know what is the method to do that. If we take a dictionary and start counting the words we know, it may give us some idea. But it will be time-consuming. We should appreciate the person who counted the numbers. I request the author to enquire from his friend about the method he has used and if it is mentioned in this forum section, all the members will understand the method.
    drrao
    always confident

  • #654207
    I am too lazy to count. The question is what counts as a "word" though. If I know the word talk, I also know talks, talked, talking, talkings etc. Then your friend might be knowing more than 3100 words. Your friend is clever because this is the number of words that many non native speakers know. You are supposed to know 10,000 English words to match up with natives or more. I think a game of scrabble might come really handy to know your word limit. Infact the 3000 most common words that your friend knows comprises 95% of daily communication. Maybe your friend doesn't need to learn anymore.
    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #654309
    Just by making an attempt to know or count that how many words I know in English isn't going to enhance my vocabulary in anyway so, I would rather focus on enhancing my vocabulary each day because that is going to benefit me in both writing as well as speaking skills.
    If you want to know that how many words you know in English than you have to express your thoughts in English language, start talking in English and if you are able to express your thoughts concisely and in no time then, it means that you have good knowledge of words but if on the other hand, you find yourself unable to express your thoughts clearly and concisely than it means you are lacking somewhere in word knowledge.
    This would be the best way to analyse your English word knowledge.

  • #654316
    Most of us will be knowing a few thousands of English words and there may be a few hundred this side or that. This is an average count. The count may increase if one takes into account the tenses, gerands, plurals, prefixes and suffixes.

    Knowing the more words does not mean that we use all of them in our writings. In fact we manage with the minimum lot while writing because many difficult words we know require some more practice and knowledge of language if we really want to include them.

    As regards to the counting of the words, the primitive method of telephone directory can be adopted which I followed when I wanted to know how many Sanskrit words I knew and to avoid duplication in counting I started to write them in a telephone directory mode by taking a big diary and allotting a few pages sequentially for the starting letters of the words in Devnagari or Hindi script.

    In this case, one has to write English letters and give 5-6 pages for each letter and may be only 1-2 pages for j, q, v, x, y and z.

    It is a long process and just scribble down the words coming in mind or seeing them written somewhere. Slowly it will grow into a compendium where before entering a new word we have to check whether it already exists there.

    This method is not for every one. It is for those patient people who can give a few minutes daily to give to this activity and after a few years find the result.

    A long method, that is why I called it as primitive one.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #654345
    It doesn't seem possible to list the exact numbers of words which we know & is being used repeatedly on routine basis but on the other hand I don't feel this is much required or good enough to let others feel that we are aware of about a good sum because we only know the numbers which is required I order to carry out our jobs or profession. However if someone is interested in doing so than its no harm but would be quite satisfactory to themselves.

    But & at least I have no intentions of doing such things because I do have many others jobs to do which is more important in context to this small journey called "life".


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