Saturday, July 30, 2011

Size of your vocabulary

Test Your Vocabulary I received this link in a recent email. It is a site intended to measure the vocab of both native and non-native English speakers. You tick the words that you know from a selection and at the end of the test it gives you an approximate total of the number of words you know in English. My result was between 30-40 thousand words... which is quite a lot of vocabulary! It's a very general test as it doesn't actually test your knowledge, but relies on you identifying which words you don't actually know!

The blog
that talks about the test has some interesting facts and figures about vocab sizes generally - an excerpt below.

We've made two discoveries so far. The first is that, for native speakers age 18+, most people (74%) have a vocabulary size between 20,000 and 35,000 (13% below, and 13% above). Of course, this is for the specific subset of people who are Internet users and have taken our test so far.

Our second discovery is much more interesting, a statistic we haven't come across anywhere before. We calculated average vocabulary sizes for native English speakers for ages 15–32, which is the range of ages for which we have at least 100 respondents per year of birth, and discovered there is a remarkably linear progression from 23,303 words (age 15) to 29,330 words (age 32), which works out to an average increase of 355 words per year, or almost exactly one new word a day (0.97 words to be precise).

What I find intriguing is that my age and the total I got tally with their suggestion that I am learning about one new word a day!

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