I finally started watching The Genius (더 지니어스), starting with 시즌3 right now. If I like it and I am caught up I will probably grab myself the previous seasons too. However, that’s not the point of this post. I started collecting vocabulary from this show because I am watching this without subtitles and I want to understand as much as possible.

Every language learner has run into them, the frequency lists. 1000 or 2000 words, for Korean I’ve even found a list of the 6000 most frequently used words. These words are obviously important, they will be everywhere. Statistically it is said that those words cover about 80 to 85 percent of words that you will use!

I saw a vlog by Steve Kaufmann, (maybe you know him as lingosteve), today mentioning this. His video is about the famous question “How many words do I need to know to be fluent”. Steve states that the frequency list words carry your conversation but that the real meaning of your conversation lies in the more specific, context dependent words that you won’t find in those lists.

Learning vocabulary from long endless lists is obviously really boring. Coming in contact with these more specific words and hunting them down in a dictionary is honestly a lot more exciting. Just look at this: 생존 전략. Survival strategy. I am going to bet that this is not on any frequently used words list! And it might just come in handy in a zombie appocolypse…

2 comments on “Specific Vocabulary

  1. If you think memorizing from a list is boring, don’t do it. There will be days when you feel like doing it, and then you’ll do it happily. I myself find that if I haven’t mastered the basic words, I can’t go on memorizing the intermediate level words, and before I remember the intermediate level words, it’s impossible to remember advanced level words. Maybe it’s the frequency thing, but levels are useful. For me.

    • Jordy says:

      I think it’s fun though. Even though it will probably give me several gaps in vocab, knowing more advanced words while forgetting basic ones but I don’t think that is a huge problem honestly.

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