關於英文單字的統計

單字

在《4000 Essential Words in English(大學學科能力測驗-基本單字4000)》(陳明華等編著,台北﹕台灣培生教育,2002)一書的〈序言〉中,有好幾個字彙量的統計,有點「嚇人」,起碼嚇了我一跳。

學習語言最重要且最難以克服的便是單字。英文字彙數以萬計,因此,可以這麼說﹕個人的字彙量決定了能否以此語言與人溝通的關鍵。也有人說,字彙量的多寡和個人的智商有相當的關係。智商測驗中的語文能力測驗,便是考字彙。因此,在各升學考試中,單字的測驗便佔了很大一部分。準備GRE、SAT、托福的考生,必須抱著單字書猛背。那麼,究竟需俱備多少的字彙量呢?一般而言,美國大學畢業生至少應該俱備有兩萬個單字量;而台灣學生要能夠閱讀大學的原文教科書,則至少需要俱有一萬個字彙量。順帶一提,美國五歲的孩童平均已俱備四千到五千的字彙量(Schmitt, 2000)。至於外國人學英文需要擁有多少的字彙量才足以應付一般性的聽說讀寫呢?Fox( 1978) 認為至少要有七千個單字。在台灣,大考中心列出高中生投考大學的必備量為七千字;而英文全民檢定也要求中高級程度的字彙量為八千,亦即台灣之大學畢業生應俱備的。而中級(相當於高中生)的程度則為五千。

「也有人說,字彙量的多寡和個人的智商有相當的關係」。哈哈,我的智商很低,原來有這個可能的「致低因素」。稍稍開心一下後,自是難免傷心。我沒有自行測試,不知自己懂得的單字,不管中文還是英文,究竟有多少,但肯定不多;尤其是英文。「美國五歲的孩童平均已俱備四千到五千的字彙量」,我恐怕比不上美國五歲孩童,能不傷心。說起來,懂得一二千中文字,大概已無「讀寫障礙」了。如此看來,學中文該容易得多罷。

「臨淵羨魚,不如退而結網」,我當然知道。我努力過,可惜過目不即忘也速忘。這本書不知何時買下來,既然重現,又編寫得如此精美,好好「研讀」,可能有望將智商提高,更有助與人溝通。就再來一次好了。

廣告

8 thoughts on “關於英文單字的統計

  1. //「美國五歲的孩童平均已俱備四千到五千的字彙量」,我恐怕比不上美國五歲孩童,能不傷心。//
    What kind of comparison is that? The number of German words I know is less than that of a two year old German kid. (I learned German before.) So, don’t be sad.
    A five year old is usually a kindergartener. (“Usually" here means that in America not all kids go to kindergarten. Some, probably quite many, do without it and attend 1st grade at the age of 6 when they first attend school. Why some do without it? You figure it out.) An average of 4000 something words seems a lot. But I don’t know this stuff. It’s just a hunch. (Now I wonder if the sample where that number 4000 comes from includes enough kids who don’t attend preschool and kindergarten and kids of similar socioeconomic status.) Even if the kids know that many words, they probably don’t know many of them as well as grown-ups do. They also probably don’t really use that many of them.

    The following is relevant here and also relevant to a comment I left in another blog entry of yours:
    Search the web for the song Ten Little Fingers and learn how to sing it. (10 fingers, not 8.) Then you know how American kids count fingers and which one is the third. (They don’t learn how to count fingers by reading a dictionary.) Then, you know at least one thing American kids know. And that may be the most important thing you need to know. Still sad? If so, I’ll find a funny video for you to watch.

  2. zpdrmn chang﹕

    你很懂得人,得很開心 :P。
    我不知這些統計是如何做出來的。但我學英文的日子也不算短了,但英文程度還是如此差勁,能不……唉唉唉。

    • 懂得人的是你呀. 說我懂得人. LOL.
      人我不懂.(問我老婆便知道). 有点看得開罷了. 加点愛懷疑的態度, 加点玩世不恭…
      (如有人問,"你算老幾?學术界老大都敢郁?" 我会答:"男人老九.")

  3. zpdrmn chang﹕

    問你老婆?都好,得閒代我問下,再「從實招來」。
    能有一點點玩世不恭而不傷人,其實也是很好的心理治療劑。
    單是「男人老九」,可能比「臭老九」要好些,少受些罪。

  4. Okay, one way to compensate for a limited vocabulary is to learn a bunch of combinations of easy words and prepositions. That may be more important than having a large vocabulary.
    Not all people in the US have a 4-year degree. Many people don’t use many big words in everyday conversation. Using easy words combining with preposition does the trick. Even in writing, some people don’t use many big words.
    For examples, you probably know the words come, bring, get, go, take, give, put, keep, carry, look, stand, hand, step, brush, and many more other words. Now learn these combos if you don’t know them already: come up, come up with, come down to, come down with, come about, come around, come at (someone), come by, come off, come out, come over, come for, bring (someone) in, bring in (how much money), bring up (a kid), bring up (a subject matter), bring (it) on, bring out, bring along, bring down, get around, get into, getting at, get on, get off, get by, get away, get away with, get along (with), get over, get over with, go at, go by, go on, go off, go for, go about, go against, go along, go along with, go over, go for, take in, take up, take out, take off, take on, take (it) for, take down, take over, give up, give in, give out, give off, give away, put (something) in, put in (how much time), put out, put (something) away, put (someone) away, put on, put down, put off, put (someone) up, put up, put up with, keep on, keep (something,someone) off, keep down, keep up, keep up with, keep (away) from, keep out, keep at, carry on, carry out, carry away, (get) carried away, carry over, look at, look for, look out, look into (the matter), look up, look up to, look down on, look over, look around, stand in, stand by, stand for, stood (someone) up, stand out, stand against, hand in, hand out, hands on, hand over, hand down (from, to), step in, step out, step up, step down, brush up, brush against, brush (someone, something) off…
    Get the idea?
    Find out how they are used in sentences and in different situations.
    American kids are probably already good at using many combos like these before they know 4000 words.

    • 唔喺嚇呀. Just trying to help. And it’s from my experience. That is, using easy words and preposition is easier than coming up with big words in many cases. I don’t use many big words, especially in everyday conversations. And I have to talk to people here. I talk to kids too, mostly my kids.
      Prepositions, prepositions.
      I think someone said something like this : English is language of prepositions. (My paraphrasing.)
      But of course you don’t have to take my advice.

  5. zpdrmn chang﹕

    我知道 prepositions 是學英語的一道難關,有時可能比生字更難把握。當然,怕難,以為避之則吉,不會有好結果。

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