Just How Many Words Does It Take To Truly Know A Foreign Language?


Apr 25

Just How Many Words Does It Take To Truly Know A Foreign Language?

Merriam-Webster adds roughly 1,000 words to their online dictionary each year in an effort to stay current and keep up with changing trends. Languages are complex, living things that are constantly evolving with the rest of the world. As they grow, so do the number of people who attempt to learn them. Learning a new language is exciting, rewarding and tough work and those interested in committing to learning a new language might be wondering exactly how much effort goes into it. More specifically, how many words does it take to successfully speak a new language?


Akorbi recommends that a complete beginner typically has about 250-500 words under his or her language belt, with the necessary tools to form complete sentences. With this knowledge of words, they will also be able to get through introductions, answer simple questions, and hold basic conversations.


An intermediate language learner will have stored about 1,000 – 3,000 words in their arsenal. With an intermediate-level knowledge of a new language, you can confidently navigate life situations like shopping and many social interactions.


When you become skilled at a new language, you have an index of anywhere from 4,000-10,000 words. This is where you develop the ability to use complex sentence structures, specialized vocabulary, and fully comprehend local media, books, and news.


An advanced speaker of a language is also categorized as fluent. Fluency means you’ve reached 10,000+ words and have reached the highest level of mastering a language without being a native speaker. At this level, you can apply your skills to the working world, and find employment in translation or interpretation fields. Businesses like Akorbi are great resources for employment and language services as you head out into this sector of work.


Native speakers of any language hold anywhere from 10,000-30,000 words in their repertoire, depending on education level and ability to live a comfortable life with their language skills. Native speakers often utilize their language skills with businesses like Akorbi, providing excellent insight into their homeland’s culture through their translations.


It may take you a while to master a new language, but we promise the hard effort does pay off. Just ask any employee at Akorbi, who are using their talents to help people across the globe. Akorbi has been the leading business for global multilingual services for 15 years now. With specializations in translation, interpretation, staffing solutions, and multilingual contact centers, Akorbi successfully connects people with language and technology. So take your time learning that new language, we applaud you! In the meantime, trust in Akorbi for all your translation and interpretation needs.

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