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How many words do I have to learn ?

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70 messages over 9 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 1 ... 8 9 Next >>
Toufik18
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Algeria
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Speaks: Arabic (Written)*, Arabic (classical)*, French, English

 
 Message 1 of 70
09 April 2009 at 5:58pm | IP Logged 
Bonjour ;)
I am trying to learn Spanish at the moment with Pimsleur and Michel Thomas courses and it is going pretty fine fortunatly. My goal for Spanish is to be capable of handling everyday's conversations without much advanced vocabulary. I read in an article that we only use 1500 words (in any language) to express and deal with each other,so is it enough to be "well" in Spanish since I am only learning it for fun ?
Thank you
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Cainntear
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 Message 2 of 70
09 April 2009 at 6:01pm | IP Logged 
There is no ideal number. There are words you can't get by without. You only need the words you're going to use. I couldn't really get by in any country without the word "internet", others need "motorbike". You know what you want to say. If you can't say it when you finish the course, just look it up!
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delta910
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 Message 3 of 70
09 April 2009 at 7:00pm | IP Logged 
Basically, as many words you can learn.
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josht
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 Message 4 of 70
09 April 2009 at 7:25pm | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:
You only need the words you're going to use.


I have to disagree with that. There's an awful lot of things that I don't ever really intend on personally saying, but that doesn't mean I have no desire to understand it. I think you need to cover as much everyday vocabulary as possible, and then some. Looking things up is of course always open when reading, but there's no time to look things up while having a conversation, while watching TV, or listening to the radio.

And in response to the inevitable answer, "Well, if you're in the middle of a conversation, you can just ask your conversation partner what the word means" - yes, but having to ask what every other word means certainly makes conversation difficult. :)
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Toufik18
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Algeria
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188 posts - 202 votes 
Speaks: Arabic (Written)*, Arabic (classical)*, French, English

 
 Message 5 of 70
09 April 2009 at 7:56pm | IP Logged 
Hummm I see, I though that if I learnt 5 words per day plus some grammar study I'd be able to reach +1500 words in less that a year so I can move towards the next language.I'll try to learn as many as possible ,but since I know French and English, is it okay that I enrich my vocabulary in those 3 languages simultaneously? I mean i'll be learning Spanish from the basics and enriching my vocabulary in both FR and ENG.
Thank you
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josht
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 Message 6 of 70
09 April 2009 at 7:57pm | IP Logged 
I don't see any reason why you couldn't do that. Most people here tend to suffer from wanderlust a bit, and work on multiple languages at once.
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leonidus
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Russian Federation
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 Message 7 of 70
09 April 2009 at 8:37pm | IP Logged 
5 000 most frequently used words (active vocabulary) should get you by in most situations and make sure you keep a dictionary handy for another 5 000, which are used less often, but if you wish to understand 99% of newspapers and TV, you still need to understand them at least. They would be your passive vocabulary.

As for 1 500 words, I don't think that's enough, or you'll end up asking your interlocutor every other minute what this or that word means, or looking up every other word in a dictionary when reading a book or newspaper.
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Fasulye
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 Message 8 of 70
09 April 2009 at 9:07pm | IP Logged 
Toufik, I understand that you want to reach an intermediate level in a foreign language. I am in a comparable situation with my Turkish, therefore I made a word count of my textbook. It is my estimation that with a vocabulary of 1000-1500 words you are still on a beginner level. To reach the intermediate level you will need more words. With my other languages I have never counted the words, but with Turkish I will do it, so that I - while progressing - will be able to quantify such a question also on a higher level.

Fasulye-Babylonia


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