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#2333 - 05/17/00 07:27 AM Re: vocabulary size  
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juanmaria Offline
member
juanmaria  Offline
member

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Malaga, Spain.
Does anybody know if there exist some kind of test that, based on determinate key-words, can calculate roughly the number of words that a person knows?.

Juan Maria.

#2334 - 05/17/00 07:49 AM Re: vocabulary size  
Joined: Mar 2000
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shanks Offline
old hand
shanks  Offline
old hand

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
London, UK
Stephen Pinker, in 'The Language Instinct', provides a rough method.

Use a standard dictionary a pick out a set of pages at random. List the head words from the definitions from those pages in two columns: one for words that you use confidently; the second for those who meaning you can recognise in context. Multiply up the numbers by the ratio of pages chosen to pages in the dictionary, and you have a rough and ready guide to the words you use, and the words you 'know' (even though you may never use them yourself).

I may have misstated the method slightly so I highly recommend reading the book (which is great in many other ways too).

cheer

the sunshine warrior


#2335 - 05/18/00 12:01 AM Re: vocabulary size  
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Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Bingley  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

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Posts: 3,065
Jakarta
In David Crystal's "Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language", after discussing the problems involved he gives the figures arrived at by the method described by Shanks:

"An office secretary, a businesswoman (and a voracious reader), and a lecturer all carried out this exercise: their active totals (respectively) were 31,500, 63,000, and 56,250; their passive totals were 38,300, 73,350, and 76,250 -- an average increase of 25 per cent." (page 123)

P.S. would you like to guess which words (not proper names) the spell check didn't recognise?


Bingley


Bingley
#2336 - 05/18/00 02:29 AM Re: vocabulary size  
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AnnaStrophic Offline
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AnnaStrophic  Offline
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lower upstate New York

>yes; I presume you know that 4327 is a PIDOMA?


Nope. What's a PIDOMA?


#2337 - 05/18/00 02:43 AM Re: PIDOMA  
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tsuwm Offline
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tsuwm  Offline
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this too shall pass
Pulled It Directly Outta... ummm... my... uh... Mid-Air; yeah, that's it.

http://members.aol.com/tsuwm/

#2338 - 05/18/00 06:00 AM Re: PIDOMA  
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Posts: 1,981
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
On the other hand. The size of my vocabulary is best described by the word "googol".

How do you pronounce "deluded"?


#2339 - 05/18/00 12:14 PM Re: PIDOMA  
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Jackie Offline
Jackie  Offline

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Louisville, Kentucky
>Pulled It Directly Outta... ummm... my... uh... Mid-Air; yeah, that's it.<

ohmigawd--where will this END?




#2340 - 05/18/00 06:37 PM Re: PIDOMA  
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Posts: 112
David108 Offline
member
David108  Offline
member

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 112
Auckland, New Zealand
I plan to use PIDOMA in the next apposite moment in a sales meeting. I'll have to blame somebody, tswum! :o)


#2341 - 05/21/00 06:52 PM Re: vocabulary size  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 163
juanmaria Offline
member
juanmaria  Offline
member

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 163
Malaga, Spain.
I’ve tried with several pages of my ‘Collins Spanish/English’ and, roughly, know 97% of the Spanish words and 80% of the English. That could make some 47,000/40,000 Spanish/English words.
But I think that this method is deceitful because it yields the quantity and not the quality. The English dictionaries are full of words of Greek/Latin origin and I know those words because they are quite similar to Spanish words and a lot of other words are derivations of well known words. For example I could understand ‘onomatopoeia’ and not being able of buying a box of diapers.
Another tricky thing is that when I read ‘onomatopoeia’ I know that it means ‘onomatopeya’ but if some friend asked me what’s the English word for ‘onomatopeya’ I wouldn’t be sure until I find it on a dictionary.
Anyway, that test has improved my mood. In 'Dirty Harry' words 'Has made my day'.



Juan Maria.

#2342 - 05/22/00 10:07 PM Re: PIDOMA  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 679
Rubrick Offline
addict
Rubrick  Offline
addict

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 679
Somewhere outside New York
The same way you spell 'fib', jmh!


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