How many words do you think the average person knows? Everyone remembers the famous passage from the immortal work of E. Petrov and I. Ilf "The Twelve Chairs" about comparing the vocabulary of Shakespeare and Ellochka-Cannibalism. The same quotation can be cited as confirmation of the hypothesis that a person’s lexicon depends on what that person is. For example, the vocabulary of an uneducated person or young child will be several hundred; literate - a few thousand.
And in such geniuses as Pushkin or Shakespeare and up to fifteen thousand. By the way, at the expense of the latter should be clarified. The four-volume "Dictionary of the language of Pushkin" has 21, 191 words. Scientists have counted just such a number of words used in all letters and works of the famous Russian poet. The vocabulary of the great English playwright has a little less - about fifteen thousand words. But according to some reports, there are about eighteen thousand. In relation to ordinary people, the picture looks a little different. But first, let's look at what the lexicon is. We also define the concepts of passive and active vocabulary. So…
What is a lexicon?
From the ancient Greek, the literal translation means "word", "turn of speech." The exact definition of what a lexicon is is: a combination of words of a language, a part of words, or a language that a particular person or a certain group of people speak. Vocabulary is the central part of the language, which names, forms and transmits knowledge of any phenomena or objects. In other words, it is a language section that studies words, pronunciation, composition of speech, etc.
Passive and active dictionary
When it comes to a certain set of words that a person uses daily in his speech, which he uses to express his feelings and thoughts, this implies an active vocabulary. The use and combinatorics of such words can be varied. But this is still a “tool” of thoughts, feelings, actions. In the case when a person does not use certain words, but knows their meaning (often very approximate), learns in a readable text, this means passive vocabulary. The passive lexicon includes words of special usage: neologisms, archaisms, loan words, many dialectisms, and the like.
The number of words in the lexicon
It should be noted, returning to the question of what the lexicon is, that each person’s active and passive dictionaries are individual. It depends on the age, profession, general cultural level, personal qualities, tastes and even the place of residence of a person. According to statistics, the active vocabulary of an adult with higher education is seven to nine thousand words. Passive - twenty-twenty four thousand. Although in everyday communication we manage with only one or two thousand words. It is said that the possibilities of human memory are almost endless. Therefore, you can safely increase your vocabulary and learn foreign words, thereby enriching the Russian lexicon.