How Many Words Do You Need to Know in a Second Language?

 
If you are learning a second language you should celebrate every little achievement in your studying and every new word you pick up along the way. You will find that some words stick first time while other just don’t seem to want to remain in your head no matter how hard you try them there.
 
This brings us on to an interesting point; how many words do you need to learn in order to be able to converse in a reasonably decent way in your newly learned tongue? The answer, not surprisingly, is that it depends upon several different factors.
 
For example, some languages have a bigger vocabulary to choose from than others and, crucially, sometimes people commonly use more of them in some countries than in others. This, again, depends upon different factors such as education levels and local customs.
 
Some interesting studies on the subject have shown us that the average native speaker knows around 15,000 – 20,000 words but that to speak a language reasonably well you only need to learn the thousand or so most commonly used ones. This obviously leaves you well behind the native speakers but it will let you understand and be understood fairly well.
 
If we look at the example of the French language, the matter is complicated by the different conjugations which each verb has. However, when you take the French courses Leeds and other UK cities provide then you will find the following words useful to learn.
 
Le, La, L`, Les
 
This is the definitive article in French and the one you use depends upon whether it is a singular, plural, masculine or feminine word.             
 
Être
This is the verb which means `to be’ and is therefore vital in most conversations. As mentioned earlier, the number of different conjugations will make this difficult to pick up. If you take one of the French courses Manchester or London offers then you will spend a lot of time saying things like, `Je suis´and Il est´ until these words become second nature to you.
 
Avoir
Another verb which you can’t live without when learning French is this one. It means `to have´ and will come in handy in a lot of different situations
These are just three of the most common words in French and as you can imagine, learning at least a thousand of them is a tough task. However, it can be done if you work at it and enjoy your studying.

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