The lead in to this story caused quite a stir at circle today. How many common words do you think the average American has in his working vocabulary? Are you an abecedarian?
The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper, issued an article back in 2007 with different numbers but the same sentiment.
“If Little Princess is an average child, she’ll know 6,000 root-word meanings by the end of Grade 2. That’s okay, but nothing special: At that point, the top 25 per cent of children already know twice as many words as the lowest 25 per cent, and the gap grows exponentially. Roughly 35,000 more words get stuffed into Little Princess’s average head by the time she leaves high school.
But by then the foundation of her so-called mind has hardened. Limited by early lexical laxity, the average North American adult knows only 30,000 to 60,000 words, out of a potential “working vocabulary” of 700,000. If only Little Princess had learned more words earlier! If only you were a better parent!”