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IELTS Exam Tips
Studies have shown that the most common 100 words in any language account for 50% of all spoken communication. The most common 1,000 words account for 80% of all spoken communication. The most common 3,000 words account for 99% of communication.6 In other words, there are some serious diminishing returns from learning more vocabulary.7 I probably only know 500-1,000 words in Spanish and in most conversations I never have to stop and look a word up in my phone.
The basic grammar should get you speaking fundamental sentences within a matter of days.
“Where is the restaurant?”
“I want to meet your friend.”
“How old is your sister?”
“Did you like the movie?”
The first few hundred words will get you pretty far. Use them to get as comfortable as possible with grammar, idioms, slang and constructing thoughts, jokes, and ideas in the new language on the fly. Once you’re able to joke consistently in the new language, that’s a pretty good sign that it’s time to expand your vocabulary.
A lot of people attempt to expand their vocabulary too quickly and too soon. It’s a waste of time and effort because they’re still not comfortable with basic conversations about where they’re from, yet they’re studying vocabulary about economics or medicine. It makes no sense.