How many words are needed to really speak a language?

Seljuk   Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:41 pm GMT
In learning a language, the biggest problem has always been memorizing vocabulary, so I need vocabulary more than grammar really. Grammar is learnt this way or that way...
Guest   Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:14 pm GMT
1000 of the 100000 english words are used commonly...
So it isn't hard to learn another language...
Seljuk   Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:10 pm GMT
You can't go out of your home in England with this restricted number of vocabulary. To speak a language 1000 words are sooo restricting really...
furrykef   Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:43 pm GMT
If 1000 words are enough, then I'm almost a native speaker of Spanish ;)

(I'm not. At all.)

- Kef
Seljuk   Wed Aug 08, 2007 7:50 pm GMT
And yes, if so, I'm native in English, French, Spanish, Azeri, Arabic and Russian too ;) But I am said to be native only in Turkish and Arabic ;)
Guest   Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:21 pm GMT
How can you measure that? i.e you have learned those 10,000 words in your target language. Is there a tool to store all your newly acquited vocabulary?
Guest   Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:34 am GMT
I don't know so much about Russian, but one think that I hate about non-phonetical languages (like English) is that besides having to learn how to spell the word, you also have to learn how to pronounce it, so it's like having to learn twice as much, I'm just happy that doesn't happen with Spanish.
furrykef   Thu Aug 09, 2007 2:43 pm GMT
At least it's better than languages like Chinese and Japanese, where there's often (but not always) zero correlation between how a word is written and how it's pronounced.
another guest   Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:45 pm GMT
You've got the point, furrykef.
Guest2   Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:48 pm GMT
So what do you consider "phonetical" languages? I assume Spanish, Finnish, and Esperanto are near the top, along wth languages that got their alphabets more recently, like Swahili and Indonesian. Maybe Italian and German, although you don't always know where to put the accent. What else is on the list, or at least "semi-phonetical"? Swedish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Dutch...?? Or for other alphabets: Korean, Greek, Russian...??
Vytenis   Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:05 am GMT
Well, there are hundreds of thousands of words in a language. And this is not countig all the other lexical items like fixed word combinations, collocations, expressions etc. which also should be learned and remembered as separate words. So the number is HUGE. What you can do, though, is just start reading, don't bother with "learning words" - thats bloody boring. Just read as much as you can and the most frequent and essential vocabulary will soon settle down in your brain :) You can start from simple books for learners which has selected only the most essential vocabulary for beginners. Then you can proceed to more complex levels with more advanced vocabulary. Penguin and other publishers have published hundreds of such simplified books for learners. Si its very easy to learn words and there is absolutely no need to memorize boring single-word list every day... If you don't believe me, try to memorize this:
house - namas
forest - mishkas
love - meile
man - zhmogos
male - vyras
female - moteris
child - vaikas
lake - ezheras
good - geras
bad - blogas
warm - shiltas
cheap - pigus
soon - greitai
slow - letai
to go - eiti
to fly - skristi
to be ill - sirgti
to like - patikti
to hate - nekesti
to die - mirti
to live - gyventi

Any word learning enthusiasts out there? :)))
Seljuk   Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:40 pm GMT
I dont even know which language is this :) Is it Greek?
Adolfo   Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:39 pm GMT
My guess is Romanian. Obviously It is an indoeuropean language
Guest   Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:40 pm GMT
i think its lithuanian
Guest   Wed Aug 22, 2007 10:57 pm GMT
On the flip side, what good is knowing how to conjugate a verb when you don't know any verbs?