Did you ever had that nasty feeling of not having the right word when speaking or writing (even in your native language)? I know it and hate it. That's the reason why I am trying hard to expand my vocabulary in the native language and a couple of foreign ones.
The more words we know the better we feel in colloquial communication, the more freely we read and write. However, we must realize that we have two different types of vocabulary — passive for general comprehension and active for applied use. A huge passive vocabulary makes it possible to understand written and spoken language easily. Passive vocabulary adds to the words of our active vocabulary many others stored in the depth of our memory. They could hardly be retrieved without external impact. The role of such impact plays written or voiced text. We recognize words and understand (or sometimes guess) their meaning within phrases and sentences while listening or reading. This storage should be kept in good condition, but we have to be aware that it would barely help us while communicating.
If we want to speak fluently, we need a rich active vocabulary. Active means here that we we can recall the words without any doubt or procrastination and actively use them in speaking and writing.
Now let's specify how many words do speakers of different levels possess. The table below displays the approximate numbers of passive vocabulary.
|Level of English||Number of Known Base Words|
If you haven't taken the test yet, do it now and grade your vocabulary level.
How about doing a contest with your friend?