How Many Spanish Words Are There?

How Many Spanish Words Are There?

Have you ever wondered how many Spanish words are there?

 

If we look at it roughly, there are a little less than one million Spanish words in total. However, people don’t use all of them. 

Around 1,000 to 2,000  words that are used frequently are enough for a person to understand about 70% to 90% of the conversation. All this, again, depends on the words.

 

Knowing and understanding how many words are there in Spanish can be helpful for many reasons, but, primarily, it can help you be better in Spanish.

 

Therefore, in the following lines, we are going to see how many words are there in the Spanish language, how many words do we need to speak Spanish fluently, and do people really use all the words they learn?

So, How Many Spanish Words Are There?

It’s almost impossible to give the exact number of words in Spanish, just like you can say what language has the most words.

Like you can’t say how many English words are there, the same way is with Spanish.

Spanish is constantly changing and it continues to add words, even daily, especially words that are technology-related.

According to the Diccionario Real Academia Española from Royal Spanish Academy, there are around 150,000 ‘official’ Spanish words, where there are more than 90,000 English words included.

Which Words Do You Need to Know?

Since language is constantly evolving and changing, learning new words and phrases can never end. However, there are some suggestions on which words you need to know.

 

If you just started learning Spanish, basic words and phrases in Spanish for beginners are a must. Those are the most frequently used words, and you can use them in many different situations.

When you improve your language skills with time, you can turn to advanced Spanish vocabulary.

 

An eminent Spanish linguist, Dr. Alexander Arguelles, claims that we can describe levels of fluency in a foreign language in the following way:

 

  • 250 - 500 words. This amount of words is typical for functional beginners. After learning the language for about a week, a learner knows the basic words, but can’t constitute any sentence.

However, when a beginner comes to around 750 words, then they can start talking about basic things. 

  • 1,000 - 3,000 words. A person with this amount of words is on a conversational level and can communicate about everyday topics and situations like, for example, shopping or public transport. 

When a learner reaches the number of around 3,000 words, they can express anything they want to say, including some awkward situations.

  • 4,000 - 10,000 words. As vocabulary improves, the number of 4,000 words and more, leads to an advanced level of fluency. Not only that a learner can express anything they want, including many abstract things, but they can also reach the C2 level of proficiency.
  • 10,000+ words. With more than 10,000 words, a learner is very close to the native level of vocabulary. They can speak about anything they want, using very complex words and phrases. They can also recognize any utterance and unfamiliar words from the context.
  • 20,000+ words. Native speakers have a vocabulary of up to 20,000 words. With this many words, a learner can do anything. Read, write, speak about anything they want.

How many words do you need to speak Spanish?

According to some research, around 2,000 words are enough for a learner to understand more than 80% of the conversation.  

As for the written language, have in mind that sentences are more complex, and vocabulary is diverse.

There is a difference because the spoken language is more simple, so if your vocabulary counts around 2,000 words, knowing frequently used words can be quite useful in almost every conversation.

 

Your interests and goals influence your fluency.  Depending on words and phrases you use and consider a priority, you can always check your level of Spanish using a free Spanish proficiency test.

If you feel like improving your Spanish vocabulary, try this Spanish vocabulary Specialization on Coursera. It will help you learn the most essential words and phrases for understanding Spanish.

The language learning app Babbel, is also a great way to expand your Spanish vocabulary in a fun and convenient way.

Final Thoughts

Now you have some suggestions and tips on how many words you need to know to speak Spanish fluently or just to be able to lead casual conversations about everyday topics.

However, always choose quality over quantity. Don’t try to learn as many words as fast as possible because that won’t help you. On the contrary, you will confuse words, and in the end, you won’t know which ones to use.

Instead, try learning words that give you the possibility to use them often.

You can make your own basic vocabulary list. Then, over time, you can extend it. But, remember, no rush.

How many Spanish words do you need to know to be fluent?

You should know around 10,000 words to be considered a fluent Spanish speaker.

Which languages has the most words?

The English languages is the biggest language by word count. It has more than 200,000 words.

How many Spanish words can you learn per day?

You can learn around 15 words per day, depending on your learning style.

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