i think languages logo

How many words do you need to speak a new language?

speak a new language

Are you planning to take foreign language lessons? Are you wondering how many words you need to speak a new language?

Learning a new language

Suppose you have ever taken a foreign language class.

In that case, you might have been given flashcards with word lists or a syllabus that included units on “grammar review” and “vocabulary-building exercises.”

Those word lists and exercises are great for helping you build your fluency in a new language by introducing you to words you are likely to encounter again and some that are more obscure.

But how many words do you need to speak another language fluently? Is there an ideal number of words to know before attempting to communicate in another tongue?

Do some words tend to be more useful than others?

What about cognates? Does knowing these words help you learn new vocabulary faster? Here we will answer these questions and more.

How many words do you need to speak a new language?

The good news is that there is no “one size fits all” answer to how many words you need to learn before you can begin speaking another language.

As you learned above, the best way to build your vocabulary is by listening to authentic audio, studying different learning resources, and reading as much as possible.

You can also try out language-learning websites, games, or apps, which can also be great for expanding your vocabulary.

However, there are no specific guidelines for how many words you should know before speaking a new language.

Living in an immersive language environment where you communicate with native speakers regularly is the best way to learn to speak fluently.

You will learn new words naturally as you speak and understand others in real-world settings.

Learning vocabulary with audio lessons

When it comes to building your vocabulary, audio lessons are a great way to go beyond.

As you listen to a new language, you will often encounter the same words repeatedly — everything from terms related to food and travel to words for describing emotions or making small talk will help you expand your vocabulary.

You can find audio lessons online, no matter which language you are studying. Suppose you are learning a language with many native speakers, like Spanish or Chinese.

In that case, sites like one of these are also a great way to get exposure to authentic language. And when it comes to vocabulary, nothing beats hearing a word in a real-world situation.

The most useful words in any language

The most useful words in a language are the words that will allow you to say what you need to say with as few words as possible.

That said, some words are useful in any language. Words like “yes” and “no,” “thank you,” “hello,” and “goodbye” are essential in any language.

You may also want to look out for words used frequently or a part of everyday conversation.

For example, if you are learning Spanish, you will also want to know some common expressions and adjectives; if you are studying Chinese, you will probably want to know some common verbs.

These words will help you communicate more effectively in day-to-day interactions.

speaking a new language

Which words should you focus on first?

The best way to begin building your vocabulary in a new language is to start listening to the audio, reading as much as possible, and then repeating aloud what you have heard.

If you have ever taken a language class, you have probably completed a vocabulary list.

These are great for helping you remember vocabulary and building your fluency.

Suppose you are studying with a language partner or with a tutor. In that case, you can also ask your teacher for some vocabulary suggestions.

However, when you are first trying to build your vocabulary, focusing on words you are likely to encounter repeatedly can be helpful.

For example, suppose you are learning Spanish. In that case, you are likely to encounter many words related to family and feelings, like mamá (mom), hermano (brother), abuelo (grandfather), and tío (uncle).

How to learn even more new words

When starting a new language, focusing on the words you “know” the most are crucial to your vocabulary can be tempting. While those are important, learning a bit about other words in your language can also be helpful.

One way to do this is by learning “endangered” words that are becoming less common in everyday language. For example, you can learn old-fashioned words, like “condescend” or “mellifluous.”

You can also look up archaic words, like “impugn” or “nugatory.”

You can also find a language exchange partner or a language learning forum to connect with others who are learning the same language and share words you have encountered while learning.

Learning new vocabulary can feel overwhelming, especially when you are just getting started with a new language.

However, there are several ways to increase your vocabulary, from flashcards to listening to audio, and enrolling to online language lessons.

The most important thing when learning new vocabulary is to keep at it — you will expand your vocabulary with time.

Related Posts

French: How to teach on Italki

Why a guide to teaching languages online I’m ready to reveal my small secrets as I transition from providing online instruction to managing my website.

German: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Numerous individuals use software and apps to learn new languages. These days, two well-known online resources for language learning include Babbel and Duolingo. They both

Languages: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the differences between Babbel and Duolingo. These are unquestionably the two most well-known language learning programs out there. Let’s

Top 20 Spanish words used in sports

Discover the top 20 Spanish words commonly used in the world of sports. Enhance your sports vocabulary and understanding with our informative blog. Introduction The

French Phrases You Need in Workplace

Mastering French phrases in the workplace is essential for effective communication. This blog explores key phrases to navigate the professional world en français. I. Introduction

Sea in French: How to say Sea in Italian

Discover the Italian translation for “sea” with our guide. Learn how to pronounce and use this common word in the beautiful Italian language. The sea

Spanish adverbials: Mientras…

The word Mientras can be an adverb or conjunction depending on the sentence and its structure. You can use mientras to connect two actions in

Spanish imperative negative + pronouns

The Spanish structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos is a bit controversial topic since many Spanish students get confused when using it. Los pronombres enclíticos

7 Myths About Learning Spanish

Unveiling the truth behind learning Spanish! Discover and debunk the 7 common myths that may be holding you back from mastering this vibrant language. Are

Famous French Food You Must Try

Indulge in the flavors of France with our guide to famous French food. Discover must-try dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and crème brûlée. Bon

Famous French Singers You Must Know

Discover the iconic voices that have made French music famous worldwide. Our list of famous French singers features timeless classics and modern hits. French singers

Famous Spanish Food You Must Try

Embark on a delectable journey through Spain’s culinary wonders! Discover the must-try famous Spanish dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Spanish Food Spain is

Famous German Singers You Must Know

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of German music as we showcase the extraordinary talents of renowned singers from Germany. From timeless

Famous Spanish Singers You Must Know

Let the music captivate your senses and ignite your passion for Spanish culture by knowing the famous Spanish singers that ever existed. Importance of Spanish

German Phrases You Need in the Workplace

Discover essential German phrases for the workplace. From greetings to professional conversations, equip yourself with the necessary language skills. German Phrases in the Workplace Learning

Spanish Phrases You Need in Workplace

Master the essential Spanish phrases for the workplace and enhance your communication skills. From greetings to professional requests, we’ve got you covered! Spanish Words in

Top Spanish Speaking Countries

Explore the vibrant cultures and diverse landscapes of the top Spanish-speaking countries in this blog. Discover their history, traditions, and more! Explanation of the importance

Top 20 German Words Used in Sports

Discover the top 20 German words commonly used in sports, from ‘Tor’ to ‘Abseits’. Enhance your sports vocabulary and impress your German-speaking friends! Introduction Explanation

Top 20 French Words Used in Sports

Discover the Top 20 French words used in sports! From “but” to “arbitre,” learn essential vocab to help you better understand the sports world in

How to Say “Food” in Spanish

“Learn the different ways to say ‘food’ in Spanish and expand your vocabulary with our comprehensive guide. Enhance your language skills today!” One of the

How to Say “Food” in French

Learn the various ways to say “food” in French with this comprehensive guide. Expand your vocabulary and impress your francophone friends! “Food” in French: La

How to Say “Food” in German

Learn how to say ‘food’ in German and impress your friends with your language skills! Check out our easy guide and enhance your vocabulary today.

Top 7 Reasons for learning French

Parlez-vous Français? Explore the top 7 reasons for learning French and unlock a world of opportunities. Start your language journey with confidence today! 7 reasons

Top 7 Reasons for Learning German

Discover the power of learning German! Unlock opportunities and expand your horizons with compelling reasons to study German. Start your linguistic journey today! Reasons for

Top 9 Reasons for learning Spanish

Is learning Spanish worth it? What are the top reasons for learning the Spanish language? Start your Spanish journey now! Reasons why learning Spanish is worth

How to learn Spanish through Podcasts

Do you want to learn Spanish through podcasts? Immerse yourself in the richness of the Spanish language with our podcast-based learning guide. Learn Spanish through

How to learn Languages through Podcasts

Unlock the power of language learning with podcasts! Explore the ultimate guide to mastering a new language through engaging podcasts. Start your linguistic journey now!

How to Maximize Your Time in Learning German

Learn German efficiently with expert tips! Discover effective techniques on how to maximize your time in learning German. Tips and strategies for efficiently learning German

How to learn French through Podcasts

Unlock the beauty of the French language with our podcast-based learning approach. Master French effortlessly with engaging lessons and practical tips! The Power of Podcasts

How to Learn German through Podcasts

Master German with ease! Explore the ultimate guide to learning German through podcasts. Gain language skills, cultural insights, and fluency. Start your German journey now!

How hard is it to learn German?

How hard is it to learn German?  Our comprehensive guide provides insights into the challenges and strategies to master the language. How hard is it

How hard is it to learn French?

Discover how difficult it is to learn French in our latest blog post, “Parlez-Vous Français?”. Gain insights and tips to improve your French skills. Parlez-vous

How to say in German

Looking to learn how to say common phrases in German? Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to speak the language like

How to Pronounce Luxury Brands in French?

Are you a fashion enthusiast struggling to correctly pronounce luxury brand names in French? Look no further! In this French pronunciation guide for luxury brands,

Silent French H: Mute and Aspirated

The silent letter h is often causing trouble to French learners. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the “h” mute and

Faire la Bise: All about French Kiss

If you’re wondering how to greet in French, either through handshakes or kisses, you are at the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to navigate

Speaking practice: talk to yourself

Improve your speaking skills with these simple tips on how to practice speaking by talking to yourself. Start speaking confidently today! Read more here. Speaking

Spaced repetition for the German language

Master German faster with spaced repetition! Our blog explains how this powerful technique works and offers tips to incorporate it into your learning routine. What

What does TE AMO mean in Spanish?

Discover the romantic meaning behind Te Amo, the Spanish phrase for ‘I love you’. Explore its cultural significance and usage in everyday life. Te Amo

What does JE T’AIME mean in French?

Discover the meaning and cultural significance of “Je t’aime,” the famous French expression for “I love you.” Explore its nuances and usage in this blog.