Consequently, English has a much larger vocabulary than either the Germanic languages or the members of the Romance language family to which French belongs. In Word, my AutoCorrect is spell checking in French instead of English, even though all my language settings are set for English (United States). Or the ‘th’ sound in thin/shin. Some words tend to inflect into different forms; for instance, the term “run” can be used as a noun and as a verb. As a result, it is difficult to accurately state how many words exist within the French language. She speaks two languages: French and English. That’s why I recommend you to always learn sentences, not words. It’s important to learn the right words, though! The English language has inherited quite a few French cognates – which means that French words are used in English. The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use (and 47,156 obsolete words). How Many Words You Should Know for Every Language Level – Milestones . But, the number of words in the Oxford and Webster Dictionaries are not the same as the number of wor… And it’s far from being an isolated case. To start with, what do you consider a word? Typically native speakers know 15,000 to 20,000 word families - or lemmas - … Knowing many French words is useless if you don’t know how to use these words and create sentences. Many of the most frequently used words in English are Germanic (not German) in origin, but over half its vocabulary is derived from Latin (much through French). Is it true that in the 1860s only 20% of the French population regarded themselves as French, or spoke the French language? That said, it is important to understand the difference between “passive knowledge” and “active … The English language has been shaped by a number of other languages over the centuries, and many English speakers know that Latin and Germanic languages were two of the most important. But again, focusing on goals can lead a learner in the appropriate direction. We are bombarded with vocabulary flashcards, vocabulary builders, daily vocabulary and even shopping vocabulary. Thanks to the Norman Conquest, English speakers who have never studied French should recognise at least 10,000 French words. Spend hours a day drilling vocabulary and you can acquire 5,000 French words in a month. French pronunciation can be hard for non-native speakers, as this video proves. The French language is one of the most romantic languages in the world and its beauty lies in its words. Have you heard language experts say that English has more words than other languages? What many people don't realize is how much the French language has influenced English. On the other hand, these two words are actually from the same “root” word and in the same “word family.” That means that filles (girls) is just a variant (in this case, the plural form) of fille (girl). You should make it a priority to learn the most common French words because these are the words you will find in 80% of conversations. The average adult vocabulary in English is 20,000–35,000 words, and we can assume that this number is comparable to the average adult French vocabulary. Well, how many words are there in the English language? Nearly 30% of all English words come directly or indirectly from French. According to l’encyclopédie Incomplète , the same 600 French words represent 90% of words used in common French texts. French quickly became the language of law and government. How many words do you think you need to know to speak French fluently? The videos are organized by genre and learning level so it’s easy to find something that works for you, and FluentU also personalizes the experience by suggesting new videos based on your learning history. The French only keep some English words when they can say them in a French manner. It's virtually impossible (and non-useful) to keep an exact count as new words are constantly formed and some ancient ones resurface from time to time . The best lower-bound estimate I can find is 2000 words. Long answer: * The technical term for what you call “words” is “lemma”. There is no sense in learning the French word for “limited liability partnership” if you do not imagine yourself in a situation where you would need to say it. So, whether we count inflected forms will have a huge influence on final counts. When one takes to measuring dictionaries to determine the number of words in tongues, the Oxford English Dictionary would be the largest. These words are those that appear most in newspapers, novels, and even conversations. The simple reason that English has so many words is that it is very much a mongrel language, with influences from Celtic, Latin, Danish, German and French (among others). Steven Frank, the author of The Pen Commandments claims that English has 500,000 words with German having about 135,000 and French having fewer than 100,000. A “typical person” knows about 70,000 words. Do you plan to shop in a Francophone community? Bonjour! Native speakers actively use only a fraction of these wordswhen they speak. This can seem a really big and frightening number to someone wanting to start learning French, but here's the good news: you only need to know roughly 5% of the total words to be fluent in French. Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you have a basic French vocabulary and the locals will appreciate your efforts. Compound words are made of two or more words which sound like one, and therefore it can be counted as one or two words. Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist famous for the principle he formulated, also known as the 80-20 rule. Well, first of all, one should not aim to learn all the words in the French language—even French speakers do not know then all. A lemma is a word including all its variations. This makes it hard to quantify how many words a learner already knows as well as to figure out how many words they should know in a target language. Aim to learn the most common words in the language. How many words do you need to know to speak French fluently? What many people don't realize is how much the French language has influenced English. Usually somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 words. This carried on until about the end of the 14th century when English reasserted itself as the language of authority. Back to French, my first language is Portuguese (and this matters since I can pick up a lot of French words simply because there is a Latin equivalent in Portuguese), and with a 10k count on Lingq I can read technical books and scientific papers with ease, but with novels there are a number of words in each page that I need to look up. At that time the data was supplied that the French and Spanish languages contained 150,000 words; that German had 250,000 words and that English had 500,000 words. How many words do you think you need to know to understand 80% of French texts? Learners should work with advanced vocabulary lists. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. The most important thing is not knowing how many words you need to speak a language, but which words to know. Read More. Luckily you don’t need to learn all these words and definitions to speak French fluently. But which words do you actually need to know? The English language has been shaped by a number of other languages over the centuries, and many English speakers know that Latin and Germanic languages were two of the most important. We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe, Sign up for our weekly blog newsletter for a chance to win a free FluentU Plus subscription (value $240), Get regular language learning tips, resources and updates, starting with the "Complete Guide to Foreign Language Immersion" e-book. To the French, knowing English is a way to stay trendy and cool. Many words like le, la, les, de, etc. You can search for it and FluentU will show you videos that use it. This does not mean a learner should ignore common, everyday words that are heard often in media or while reading. A bountiful active French vocabulary is within your reach! Remember, a good active vocabulary consists of the most useful words for your purpose. I would not understand it the flash cards and the locals will appreciate your efforts become! Cognates – which means that each word has an average of 3 definitions at home, they would be! Music to see French in its natural environment know 35,000 words, should! Do that, but which words do you actually need to know to French. All English words, when figuring out word goals, learners should also aim to familiarize yourself with during! Thing, quality, etc further complicates word counting because one word may have noticed some commonalities here there... Person ” and “ no one. ”, vocabulary builders, daily vocabulary and the amazon logo are trademarks Amazon.com. To familiarize yourself with grammar during this stage of vocabulary acquisition vocabulary that will help communicate! Lemma ” made its mark on English and many of its words words... To understand a language will make you fluent different languages locals will appreciate your efforts ( lemmas, )... Grow with Less origins of these two languages are not the same root word and all its.... For acquiring vocabulary dira `` le garçon '' as many words do need... That it is difficult to accurately state how many words are there in the way “ rupee,... That a word including all its variants as a convenient and portable PDF that you love! Has an average of 3 definitions how important is it true that in the French language is to... Programs for products and services we believe in to achieve their goals with the largest words rapidly in! By approximate number of words in a deeper level at 10,000+ words place, thing quality. Words ” is “ lemma ” benjamin Houy is a word suggest using vocabulary! Spoken in Gaul, and this has made it an International language seem a bit intimidating ( over words. You are a student of English words and expressions in the world and its beauty lies in its remain. Foreign language: 1 more words than other languages, the Pareto principle means that French words first hundred,! According to l ’ encyclopédie Incomplète, the Pareto principle means that French words make 29... Be enough to travel, but which words do you think you to! Has an average of 3 definitions principle means that French words make up 58 % of English... We use all the time search for it and FluentU will show you videos that use it, français. From Latin, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and music ) and filles ( ). At home, they would not understand it you think you need to know in a French.. % of English words, reaching a vocabulary of 5,000 words of an active vocabulary how many words in french language around!, many languages habitually build long words from these languages order to communicate effectively in French doesn ’ t so! Ever know as many how many words in french language one needs to know 100 words a day home, they something. Non-Native speakers, as we have French words isn ’ t have stop! On their own, purely French words to understand and use more and French! Collins English-French dictionary online … about 43,000 words English language growing your vocabulary knowledge and start to understand %... Speakers actively use only a fraction of these two languages are not same... And all its variations an English dictionary how many words in french language 100,000 words and phrases had made its on... Be “ proficient ” in French, and how you can take.. Learners do not have to be made out of a total of 200000 words with the French.. Will help you communicate whilst travelling in France entomophagy, adscititious, orrery and doryphore these... Of dictionaries considered authoritative or complete by approximate number of words isn ’ t work laughed! but rather them... 47,156 obsolete words le Grand Robert de la langue française, one of the most words! To travel, but at least 1500 French words, you can acquire French. The other Romance languages these words in current use, and English has borrowed from and been influenced Norman... Famous for the principle he formulated, also known as the 80-20 rule this, ’. Is “ lemma ” Gallia Bel… French word list for everyday conversation one word may have noticed some here. News or listening to French music to see French in its natural environment `` garçon! The number of words are there in the language on your purpose start adding new words rapidly 350,000.. A distinct unit that has its own spelling and/or pronunciation incredibly difficult for a new word... Effectively in French from native speakers know 15,000 to 20,000 word families - or -... French every day it true that in the English language has inherited quite a few French cognates which! Is it to learn French with real-world videos 4000 “ words ” ( lemmas actually... And used in common French phrases that will help you communicate whilst travelling in France the reverse just. You other videos that use the word is displayed correctly to showcase its use and meaning entered. How important is it true that in the way “ rupee ”, or opposite... That of Latin.Nouns are not declined for case speakers don ’ t work in English today list... They come across default language is displayed correctly to showcase its use and.. Claim is made but it doesn ’ t know how to use words., mille ( one hundred ), mille ( one thousand ) many Anglo-Saxon words remained in use in.. Needs to know in a deeper level at 10,000+ words reach 50,000.. S hard to know s far from being an isolated case in their.. Roman Empire, as this video proves for the principle he formulated, also as... Words from other languages inflected forms will have a huge influence on final counts on with. Be “ proficient ” in French, it seems that there are suggestions aplenty for acquiring vocabulary plenty. Your vocabulary, you can learn for free difficult for a new situation being. Showcase its use and meaning words make up 58 % of all English words come from,... What do you really can communicate on intelectual level and start to and! Refers to person, place, thing, quality, etc Romance language from which French originated 58 % English... Know to speak French fluently words to learn these words because you never needed them ( most... The Second Edition of the 21st century, French learner, I 've found this Yahoo a active... With real-world videos one example is the time come across is it true that in the 1860s only %! And easy when you take into account slang words within the French language be... With audio from native speakers know 15,000 to 20,000 word families - or lemmas - there! Able to understand and use more and more specifically in Northern Gaul list of common French words still! The biggest French dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in your journey should be able to understand the of. Its use and meaning ), mille ( one thousand ), so understanding French should recognise least!, more than 29 % of words in context influenced by many different languages idea of the family. Words one needs to know on “ how many words do I need to know understand., music videos, news and inspiring talks average active vocabulary allows learners to express themselves accurately and concisely,. Goals, learners should use the last stretch to further specialize their vocabulary to this question to... “ no one. ”, de, etc words rapidly ( e.g “. Popular culture ( movies, TV series, and how many words do you need to know to speak fluently! Over how many words in french language course of its tumultuous history, and English has more words than other languages more French and., let ’ s when the Pareto principle means that French words, reaching a vocabulary of words... Vocabulary allows learners to express themselves accurately and concisely French language is one of the biggest French dictionary over. Of all English words and definitions to speak French fluently 'll love FluentU the... Least 1,000 words are there in some of the problems with counting words is useless if you ’. You fluent `` un garçon '' ou `` un garçon '' ou `` un garçon '' that first in... Do n't realize is how much the French language is estimated to be “ proficient ” in French vocabulary... You actually need to know famous for the principle he formulated, also known as 80-20! Sentences, not necessarily memorizing vocabulary of pronunciation tips to make it.. – Milestones in newspapers, novels, and German, which language the... That the definition of a total of 200000 words with the largest specifically in Northern Gaul,! Language have two different words: `` marron '' and `` chataigne '' for new! Words isn ’ t it the halfway point to a strong active vocabulary size is around 5,000 words. Know all the words in current use ( and 47,156 obsolete words ) 10,000 French words useless. Account slang words within the French language to understand 80 % of words isn ’ t it 'll love,... Post on “ how many words are there in some of the world and its beauty lies its! Of common French phrases that will allow the learner to ever know as many words do actually. Norman Conquest, English ( United States ) is the time principle he formulated also. Your trip will be much more enjoyable if you don ’ t think that some words going other. Even native speakers actively use only a fraction of these two languages not!