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Lists of high freq. words

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19 messages over 3 pages: 1 2
frenkeld
Diglot
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United States
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 Message 17 of 19
18 October 2007 at 11:42am | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
What we could hope for is that frequency indications found their way into ordinary dictionaries, either in the form of a rank number or in some simplified, more graphic form.


Iversen,

If my memory serves me right, when I was looking at the recent editions of Oxford-Paravia dictionaries (unabridged and concise), they came up with a system where the first 4,000 words (or maybe it was 3,000) are marked with a black triangle, while the additional ones, to the combined total of 7,000, were marked with a while one.

Or something of the sort.

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M. Medialis
Diglot
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Sweden
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Speaks: Swedish*, English
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 Message 18 of 19
18 October 2007 at 5:13pm | IP Logged 
Iversen: So what should I do? How do I find all these words when my knowledge of the language is so low? Can you suggest another way to start a new language?
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Iversen
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Denmark
berejst.dk
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Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
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 Message 19 of 19
19 October 2007 at 5:18am | IP Logged 
This question is a bit outside the scope of this thread, but I'll try to keep an eye on the question of word frequency.

One of the key ingredients when I have started to learn a language in recent times (really only Greek, Russian and maybe Icelandic qualify, because I already knew some Romanian, and both Catalan and Portuguese are so close to Spanish that they didn't present serious vocabulary problems) has been the thing I call "intensive reading", - essentially it consists in copying out a simple text in the foreign language and making an ultra literal interlaced translation using dictionaries and grammars.

In the beginning it is difficult to find something sufficiently simple so it may be necessary to pluck the sentences from a standard textbook. Using interlaced translations as described in the thread about the Reading-Listening method can also be a way to tackle this problem, - but you still have to do your own ultra literal translation, because third part translations are almost never close enough to the original, and besides you learn a lot from doing the job yourself.

The point is that if you have worked your way through just 20 or 30 pages in this way then you have met all the most common words and most common constructions in the language, and after that you are ready to try extensive reading - i.e. reading where you don't try to understand every single word, but just the main part of the content. To retain the words and constructions and forms that I have met I do word lists, write simplified morphological tables and so forth.

As you see my entrance to a language is primarily through written texts, and this is very different from the way many (maybe even most) members here tackle a new language, so you may not be tempted to follow the advice above - but that's my way of doing things. The notion of frequency is not very important in my univers. I choose which texts (later which audio sources) I want to understand, and the words they contain are the ones I'm going to learn. I supplement with word lists based on words I find in dictionaries, and here I just follow common sense, choosing 'ordinary' words plus some special words from my fields of interest.


Edited by Iversen on 19 October 2007 at 6:04am



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