Best way to learn a language: Learn 1000 words

Zuzana Dec 07

If you were told that learning 1000 words in a new language is the best way to learn a language, would you believe?

Here are the reasons why we believe it is the best way:

In 2013 British Council launched a massive campaign called 1000 Words, that should motivate Britons to learn 1000 words in a foreign language. Why?

Well, let’s look at this one…

Why is learning foreign language so important?

Social divide is opening up BECAUSE OF a language. Your foreign language competency restricts or opens your job possibilities.

“Top managers often have language skills but in fact staff whose jobs involve chasing invoices or buying stock abroad also need to speak another language. A worrying divide is opening up,” Teresa Tinsley, project leader says based on the State of the Nation report.

It all starts in the schools.

The report informed only 9% of English teenagers “have more than a basic level in the language they are studying, compared to an average of 42 per cent across 14 countries taking part in a European survey”.

So are you rather a Briton in 2013 or a European in terms of language learning?

The sooner you learn a new language the better days are coming to you.

Let’s look at another reason…

Photo by Franz Wender on Unsplash

Why 1000 words might be the best way to learn a language?

Professor Webb, who has studied language learning at the University of Western Ontario says for BBC “the most effective way to be able to speak a language quickly is to pick the 800 to 1,000 lemmas which appear most frequently in a language, and learn those”.

These 800 -1000 words you should know will give you the understanding of 75% of the language as it is spoken in normal day-to-day life. And that sounds like the proven best way to learn a language, doesn’t it?

What are the 1000 most frequently used words?

So you are now pretty motivated to start your journey. Let’s tackle those 1000 words together, shall we?

Flashcard app Vocabulary Miner has 12 Word lists consisting of 1000 words altogether to learn Spanish, French, English, Czech, and Slovak language. It is not only about the words you find in the app, it is about effective and proven spaced repetition (SRS) combined with uniquely simple Flashcards.

So what 1000 most frequently used words will you start with?

🙋Before we start, join our Facebook group Learn vocabulary supported by Vocabulary Miner to have your questions answered by the community or the team behind Vocabulary Miner and get inspired. We all need it from time to time.

learning 1000 words in a foreign language with Vocabulary Miner might be the best way to learn a language

How to learn English vocabulary fast?

Maybe you think 1000 words is too many words but the Word list #1000words can help you learn English words daily, fast, and effectively. It might be the best way to learn a language for you. 

Maybe you think you know these words already because they are easy English words. Let’s quiz yourself!

How to quiz yourself and increase your English vocabulary?

  1. Download Vocabulary Miner mobile app for free
  2. Find the Word list by looking up the keyword “1000” in the app.

Vocabulary Miner has any combination of French, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, English for 1000 common words.

Learn Spanish words

1000 most common Spanish phrases and words are available in Vocabulary Miner, too.

But if your focus is the Spanish language and you need more information on the specific topic before downloading anything at all, check out this article on the 1000 most common Spanish words as the best way to learn Spanish.

It gives you also an idea of what Reddit users think is the best way to learn Spanish, Spanish podcast ideas, and other tips.

Spanish words

If you are the type of person who just wants to try and quiz yourself right away, then just follow these 3 steps to get to the 1000 most common Spanish words:

  1. Download Vocabulary Miner mobile app for free
  2. Get straight to 1 of 12 Word lists with 1000 frequent Spanish words in the app
  3. Or find Word list by looking up the keyword “1000” in the app.

What are the 1000 most common words in French?

Flashcard app Vocabulary Miner has a database of 1000 most common French words in Flashcards that every French beginner must know. You will find it in the app in any combination of French to Spanish, Slovak, Czech, and English or vice versa.

1000 most common words in French in Flashcard app maker Vocabulary Miner

How?

  1. Download Vocabulary Miner mobile app for free
  2. Click on this link to get straight to the 1 of 12 Word lists with 1000 common French words in the app:
    https://vocabulary-miner.com/package/1000-words-1112-3
  3. Or find Word list by looking up the keyword “1000” in the app.

Learn Czech

If you are looking for the best way to learn Czech, Vocabulary Miner might help to learn vocabulary once and for all. Even the biggest Czech expat media Prague Morning published an article on Will you understand Czech by learning 1000 common words?

Learn basic Czech with 12 Word lists including 1000 basic Czech phrases and words. It might help with learning Czech for beginners and also for advanced.

Learn basic Czech with Flashcard app Vocabulary Miner

How?

  1. Download Vocabulary Miner mobile app for free
  2. Click on this link to get straight to the 1 of 12 Word lists with 1000 Czech words in the app: https://vocabulary-miner.com/package/1000-words-1112
  3. Or find the Word list by looking up the keyword “1000” in the app.

Learn Slovak

Looking for a free app to learn Slovak vocabulary? Flashcard maker app Vocabulary Miner has 1000 basic Slovak words not only for beginners. You will also learn Slovak with audio because every word has its pronunciation.

How?

  1. Download Vocabulary Miner mobile app for free
  2. Click on this link to get straight to to the 1 of 12 Word lists with 1000 Slovak words in the app:
    https://vocabulary-miner.com/package/1000-words-1112-1
  3. Or find Word list by looking up the keyword “1000” in the app.

Why does Vocabulary Miner believe 1000 words might be the best way to learn a language?

a) Because when you tackle 1000 common words, you will be able to understand around 75% of a normal daily conversation.

Lingholic in her article concludes: “We have seen that the Oxford English Dictionary contains 171,476 words in current use, whereas a vocabulary of just 3000 words provides coverage for around 95% of common texts. If you do the math, that’s 1.75% of the total number of words in use! That’s right, by knowing 1.75% of the English dictionary, you’ll be able to understand 95% of what you read. That’s still just 7.5% of the average passive vocabulary of a native speaker (3000 vs. 40,000 words).” Different languages has different ratio, but look into the article for more details.

The research for English language shows (check the summary if you are in rush): “The greatest variation in vocabulary coverage is most likely to occur in the first 1,000 words, and in the proper nouns. The first 1,000 plus proper nouns cover 78%–81% of written text, and around 85% of spoken text.”

b) When you can understand a LOT, you can watch movies and videos in a new language. For speaking nicely and fluently, you for sure have to push yourself a bit more. 😉

c) When you can watch movies and videos, you are motivated to learn also new words you bump into and dive into mysterious rules of grammar! So it works like a domino effect.

We believe in you. Go and let that domino fall upon you! It will be satisfying as watching this (don’t watch the video too long, there is some learning waiting for you :D)

How did we put together 1000 common words?

We researched several corpuses for every language and then translators and native speakers went through them in order to ensure coherency throughout all languages. The contextual sentences for every word were checked. Following corpuses were taken into consideration: English word list 1, English word list2, Spanish word list 1, Spanish word list 2, French word list, Czech word lists, Slovak word list together with frequency lists available here.

1000 words you find in the Vocabulary Miner are not 1000 all-time most common words that are academically researched but they are humanly collected 1000 common words that according to translators and native speakers will help you understand basic communication.

References:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-44569277
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0033688212439367
https://www.mezzoguild.com/how-many-words-do-i-need/
https://www.lextutor.ca/cover/papers/nation_2006.pdf

How many words do I need to know? The 95/5 rule in language learning, Part 2/2

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