Saturday, 26 June 2010

How many words do you know?

Did you see the reported controversial claim from the Communication Tsar Jean Gross, that teenagers use a vocabulary of only 800 words? David Crystal, the Britsh linguistics expert refutes these claims and explains why it so hard to estimate how many words we have in our vocabuary store (lexicon).

He says, 'People know and use far more words than they (or communications czars) think they do. They forget about the whole year - about all the words to do with holidays, shopping, cars, animals, birthdays, Christmas... It's totally fallacious to think that the words you elicit from someone on a particular day or from a particular sample is an accurate index of all the words they know or use'.

He also points out that the world of a teenager is foreign to most of us so there are probably words they use of which we are not even aware. As my older son approaches his teens, his vocabulary differs to mine; I thought 'sick' was a bad thing but apparently it means 'super cool'........ so what do I know? 

How many words do you know?

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