English Vocabulary Facts
There are many interesting English vocabulary facts. Vocabulary building is lifelong requirement not only of English language learners of ESL but also native English speakers. What makes it a fascinating pursuit is when you know some fun English vocabulary facts.
A Few Fun English Vocabulary Facts
- There are roughly 100,000 word families in the English language.
- A native English speaking person knows between 10,000 (uneducated) to 20,000 (educated) word families.
- A person needs to know 8,000-9,000 word families to enjoy reading a book.
- Studying heritage language learners reveal that a person with a vocabulary size of 2,500 passive word-families and 2,000 active word-families can speak a language fluently.
- GOOD NEWS – If your goal is to speak English fluently, you are not required to study 10,000 words. 2,000 is enough to get you started.
- The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
- The combination “ough” can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: “A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed.”
- The word “set” has more definitions than any other word in the English language.
- One of the amazing English vocabulary facts: of all the languages in the world, English has the largest vocabulary about 800,000 words
- Dreamt is the only English word that ends in the letters mt.
- Naturally the literary experts are greater “language consumers.” It has been determined that an average American journalist uses but 6,000 words in his newspaper articles, or 4% of the available arsenal.
- However, at a higher literary level, it has been determined that Victor Hugo used an active vocabulary of 38,000 words; Shakespeare, 24,000; and Homer, 8,500. But Horace, with 4,600 words, came significantly below the American journalist, and Xenophon, with 3,200, was about equal to the present-day “average citizen.”
These few and significant English vocabulary facts show us how interesting and vast the English vocabulary is. But if it makes us feel a little better, we can get by on just a few thousand words!