number of words an average person knows

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by pablopaul, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. pablopaul Member

    Hi, everyone.
    I was wondering if anyone knows roughly how many words an average person knows and uses in his/ her native language. Maybe there are surveys or studies on this matter that you know about.

    I think I once read that, according to a study, Argentinians used around 1,200 words... but I am not sure on this number. Does anyone have any data on this for your language?
  2. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    I've just found this.

    This survey is about English but I suppose it's more or less accurate for every language - if it's accurate at all. :p
  3. Like an Angel

    Like an Angel Senior Member

    Córdoba - Argentina
    Argentina - Spanish
    Hi all,

    Once I read in the magazine called Gente -not a very cultural magazine I know, but this article was intresting- that in Spanish we have 250.000 words, but nowadays, just 80.000 are in use, but -because there always are another but- Argentinian teenagers use just 800... poor speech, isn't it?
  4. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    An interesting survey but only partly true: They say that The English Language is the largest. It contains more than three quarters of a million words and is constantly growing. So English is second to Finnish that has about one million words, and can make new words for temporary use practically without any limits - and I mean words that every Finn can understand without expalations.
    There's another point: In English
    The most common 500 words have 14,000 different meanings! Instead in Finnish there are very few such words. That makes Finnish expressions very exact and easy to understand.
    This might also be interesting.
  5. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    According to David Crystal and some surveys he summarises in The Stories of English, the average English-speaker has an active vocabulary of around 50,000 words, and a passive vocabulary about 25% larger. He insists that reports that teenagers have a vocabulary of 1000 or 2000 words are ridiculous, as is the claim he discusses that The Sun newspaper uses no more than 500 words. (By his count one issue had 5000.)
  6. pablopaul Member

    Thanks for your answers and tips! I still would like to know about other languages other than English, Spanish and Finnish...
  7. blancalaw

    blancalaw Senior Member

    Detroit, Michigan
    USA, English
    Sorry, but I'm another English speaker. If me being an educated speaker would know 30-40K words, I probably know 10K in Spanish, and the Spanish English dictionary has 120K words, I still have at least 70K more words to learn!!! ¡¡Uf, me duele la cabeza!!! And Mike has to keep track of all of them plus add more!!!

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