More than most people might think. Especially considering that 20-30 new words do pop up every day, of which only about half can be reasonably guessed. How many words are there in the German language? Yet, I'm pretty fluent in English. the top 5,000… I’d be fluent, right? So in summary, the exact number of words one must need to know to be "fluent" in a language varies depending on how you define fluency, which language you're talking about, if you're talking about comprehension, speaking, or both, and how you define "vocabulary size". A2.2 to C1 is six months is extremely optimistic. After just three months of living in Germany, I passed four out of five sections of Goethe Institut’s Zentrale Oberstufenprüfung (German mastery exam). Believe it or not, English speakers already know some German words even before they start studying it. Many language learners believe that once they have acquired a certain number of words, they can consider themselves fluent. There is a Wiki with resources and tips for learning. And finally, German is one of the languages where you can be a lot more fluent with a smaller percentage of words, because we have so many regional synonyms. Learning these common words first can help you start speaking German faster. German learners know how quickly two nouns can be combined to form a new word. Well, with a vocabulary of 15000+ German words, I don't feel fluent in reading German newspapers. Also helpful people. With that understanding, “fluent” is about kindergarten age. Even irregular verbs are easier for English speakers since they follow much more regular patterns than in English. That makes counting difficult. If only I knew the 500 most common words… the top 2,500 most common words…. German verbs follow regular patterns that are easy to learn. As for the time to become fluent: That's really hard to tell, depends on things like talent for languages, having learned another foreign language beforehand (more experience with the structure of language learning) and the time you can really spend on learning. In 2013 linguists in Berlin arrived at a total of 5.3 million German words. Almost all European languages share many words with English thanks to their shared roots, history, and evolution. Short answer – hold the ponies, not so fast. What it has come to mean to me over time is that one can understand most speakers in a daily setting and be understood by most listeners in a daily setting. These words, known as cognates, make learning German much easier for people who speak a language with similar roots like English. I aimed to be a fluent German speaker in just three months. They are used in many German words that have been borrowed from English and vice versa. It is also (as is implied in your question) important to know which word 'sounds' right in a given context – for example the close but nowhere near identical sehen and schauen/gucken. r/german is the best place for you. My mother tongues are Ukrainian/Russian. I might be wrong but my understandig is that most common languages (English, German, all Latin derived languages - not talking about Asian languages or native languages) tend to have a vocab of 100 - 300 "most used words". After I became fluent in my first 4 languages, I decided to give German a second attempt. One may be able to pass the tests and get a certificate, but the only way to speak and understand other fluent speakers is using German … So if I learn the most common words, then I am fluent in German, right? I think “fluent” means many things to many people. When I was starting my language learning journey, I was obsessed with this idea. Like English linguists in Berlin arrived at a total of 5.3 million German words, I. 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