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Thursday, April 28, 2005


Message: 8497 From: Scott Thornbury Received: Do Apr 28, 2005 9:44
Subject: Re: EfromZ: 2000 words
> BTW, Scott, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English has had the > 2000-word defining vocabulary in the back for years. But maybe you > wanted 3000. Yes, Julian, I'm aware of that (and so do other dictionairies have such lists) and, in the absence of a learner-oriented list, I've recommended using the defining vocabulary. But there are problems with it that derive from its special purpose. Whereas the Oxford 3000 has been chosen (I am told) on the basis of both frequency and usefulness - not frequency alone since (as one of the lexicographers who was involved in the project explained to me) frequency is always measured at the level of the individual word, not of sets of words. So, while "uncle" is in the top 3000 most frequent words in English, "aunt" isn't. Yet it would be slightly perverse to include uncle in a list of useful words without his accompanying partner (even in this age of same sex marriages!) I'll try and dig out the article I wrote and post it in the files. S.


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