Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

How many words do you need to learn?

 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
64 messages over 8 pages: 1 2 3 4 57 8 Next >>
Andy E
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 5153 days ago

1653 posts - 1940 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French

 
 Message 41 of 64
25 January 2007 at 2:54am | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
Rereading this thread, it sounds like a vocabulary of 10,000 words active 20,000 passive is in the ballpark where you have a good handle on almost anything that comes your way.


Speaking for myself, I shall definitely not be keeping count of numbers of words placed into flashcards etc. - this is going to be difficult anyway since I've now adopted the sentence approach. There'll be light at the end of my tunnel...

luke wrote:
when can you enjoy books, newspapers, tv shows, movies, etc for hours on end and only run into a word now and when that you are unsure of


Andy.


1 person has voted this message useful





Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 4753 days ago

9084 posts - 16476 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 42 of 64
25 January 2007 at 3:58am | IP Logged 
tujiko wrote:
I'm not sure how many words one needs to learn, but I am sure words are best learned in context (in speech, in text), and not memorized in isolation (flashcards, lists).


Sounds reasonable, but I don't buy it (at least not for me). Of course you have to read and listen a lot to learn a language, but the main obstacle to reading and listening fluently is lack of vocabulary. For some people it may be difficult to remember words without contexts, but my own experience with wordlists have shown me that I can learn words much faster by using structured methods. By this I mean that it is not enough just to read a long list of words with translation and maybe repeating each combination fifty times. You can use different methods, but writing the lists in small chunks and memorizing, immediately followed by control in both directions, does the trick for me, and then afterwards I use the same repetition techniques that I would use on passive words to make the words stick, - in my case it is dictionary checks, but flashcards is a viable alternative. I have written extensively about that in other threads.

When you first have the words inside your head, reading and listening is necessary to get the nuances, construction possibilities and idiomatic uses, but all that is only possible when you already have a nodding acquaintance with the word in question.

The funny thing is that for once it is a thing that is measurable: I originally started my concentrated work on dictionaries and word lists because I just wanted to known my passive vocabulary in Romanian. But then I discovered that my vocabulary thundered upwards by relearning those half forgotten words. Later I experimented with techniques to learn new words, and now I can not only feel, but even count the effects. And reading/listening has become much more pleasurable now that I can do it without looking up ten words in each sentence. Now I can focus on syntax and idiomatics.

The 10000 active, 20000 passive words proposed by Luke would be a good estimate of where you are leaving basic fluency and moving towards advanced fluency, but of course only in conjunction with a firm grasp on grammar and idiomatics, plus easy active use of the language in question (at least if you want to claim active fluency, not only passive fluency). And to get there dictionaries, word lists and flashcards are not enough, - you have to meet real living language (and produce it yourself).


Edited by Iversen on 02 October 2007 at 10:11am

2 persons have voted this message useful





Keith
Diglot
Moderator
JapanRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4827 days ago

526 posts - 536 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Mandarin
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 43 of 64
25 January 2007 at 6:08am | IP Logged 
Andy E wrote:
Speaking for myself, I shall definitely not be keeping count of numbers of words placed into flashcards etc. - this is going to be difficult anyway since I've now adopted the sentence approach. There'll be light at the end of my tunnel...

Andy.


How about counting sentences, then?
How many sentences are you aiming for?

1 person has voted this message useful



tujiko
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4583 days ago

140 posts - 144 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 44 of 64
25 January 2007 at 6:14am | IP Logged 
I know Khazumoto from All Japanese All the Time recommends 10,000 sentences.

Quote:
Phase 4: Sentences

Learn to read aloud 10,000 Japanese sentences (confession: I only learned ~7500 in the 18-month period, but you are better than me).

    * Do not: learn individual words. Learn sentences
    * Do not: translate sentences. Understand them instead.
    * Do not: learn grammar rules. Do get a feel for grammar, do read about grammar if you feel like it, but learning grammar rules in order to use a language is like learning quantum physics in order to drive a car. Sure, grammar rules are the rules of a language like quantum physics is the rules of the physical world. But it’s not practical.

You’re not a computer compiler, evaluating expressions based on rules. You’re a human being, and humans use a different logic. When you speak your native language, you generally are mixing and matching entire sentences. That’s what you want to do in Japanese–learn sentences, because not only do they give you the grammar, but also vocabulary and usage.

1 person has voted this message useful



Andy E
Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 5153 days ago

1653 posts - 1940 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French

 
 Message 45 of 64
29 January 2007 at 3:49am | IP Logged 
Keith wrote:
How about counting sentences, then?
How many sentences are you aiming for?


Again, I don't think this is something you can necessarily quantify (and I'm not sure that you should). I have certain targets to flashcard sentences from specific resources but to me it's an ongoing process that doesn't necessarily have an end.

Andy.


1 person has voted this message useful



Thuan
Triglot
Senior Member
GermanyRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4980 days ago

133 posts - 156 votes 
Speaks: Vietnamese, German*, English
Studies: French, Japanese, Romanian, Swedish, Mandarin

 
 Message 46 of 64
29 January 2007 at 8:43am | IP Logged 
Where can I find the Charles Kelly list that was mentioned in this thread? I just found the flashcard game that's based on the frequency list.
1 person has voted this message useful



MeshGearFox
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4745 days ago

316 posts - 344 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 47 of 64
29 January 2007 at 4:50pm | IP Logged 
While you need context, learning vocab from flashcards/lists effectively lets you build a dictionary in your head. Not everything is immediately active -- mostly, it'll be passive -- and no, you're not going to get context. However, it WILL allow you to read texts without a dictionary, which disrupts the flow, and instead focus on the main acting words, getting the salient point of the sentence, and figure out intuitively, from there, what all the grammatical chaff in there is doing.

If you don't know the words, you start looking for context in all of the little particles, articles, and other things that don't really do a whole lot on their own, and are often rather obtuse in nature. If you know the main words, then you can probably logic out what the sentence should mean, and go from there.
1 person has voted this message useful



Linguamor
Decaglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4668 days ago

472 posts - 602 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Dutch

 
 Message 48 of 64
19 March 2007 at 5:32am | IP Logged 
"At present the best conservative rule of thumb that we have is that up to a vocabulary size of around 20,000 word families, we should expect that native speakers will add roughly 1000 word families a year to their vocabulary size. That means that a five year old beginning school will have a vocabulary of around 4000 to 5000 word families. A university graduate will have a vocabulary of around 20,000 word families (Goulden, Nation and Read, 1990). These figures are very rough and there is likely to be very large variation between individuals. These figures exclude proper names, compound words, abbreviations, and foreign words. A word family is taken to include a base word, its inflected forms, and a small number of reasonably regular derived forms (Bauer and Nation, 1993)."
www1.harenet.ne.jp/~waring/papers/cup.html




3 persons have voted this message useful



This discussion contains 64 messages over 8 pages: << Prev 1 2 3 4 57 8  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 8.0615 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2019 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.