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How Many Words Do You Need To Know (to be fluent)?

Have you ever asked yourself how many words you need to learn in order to be fluent in your new language?

This is a question we get quite often, and unfortunately it is almost impossible to answer… Let me ask you this: how many words do you know in English? Five thousand, ten thousand, fifty thousand? Chances are, you have no idea, right? Another problem with this question is that the definition of “fluent” in itself varies greatly for many people.

What does “fluent” mean to you? Does it mean to be able to express your basic thoughts without too much trouble, or does it mean to able to write a comprehensive essay on the evolution of ancient Greece etymology?

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