|I've often be known to say - with the tongue not entirely in the cheek -
that the most useful thing a language learner could do first is learn the
top 3000 most useful words in English. At 10 words a day, with Sundays off
and a break at Xmas, this would take about a year. Having learned them, they
would then come back (to class) and start using them. It was a source of
annoyance to me, however, that these top words were nowhere to be found,
unless you combed through a dictionary taking out all the words marked in
red (or whatever coding system the dictionary uses for frequency). Now,
however, the latest edition (2005) of the Oxford (OALD) has what they call
the Oxford 3000 (c) in the back. (I like to think this was partly my doing).
If anyone wants to read my articles on the subject, I'll happily place them
in the files.