[Corpora-List] How many words do we know?

Marc Brysbaert Marc.Brysbaert at UGent.be
Fri Jul 29 18:03:57 CEST 2016

We have data on that in Dutch (Keuleers et al., QJEP, 2015). Every non-native language known leads to 500 more lemmas in the native language, arguably because of loan words indeed. Importantly, knowing more than one language has a beneficial effect, not a negative effect.

You find more details here:


________________________________________ From: maxwell <maxwell at umiacs.umd.edu> Sent: Friday, July 29, 2016 5:40 PM To: Marc Brysbaert Cc: corpora at uib.no Subject: Re: [Corpora-List] How many words do we know?

On 2016-07-29 01:41, Marc Brysbaert wrote:
> I'm regularly asked how many words there are in the mental lexicon. As
> you all know, much here depends on the definition of person
> (young/old, reader/non-reader) and the definition of word. Still, it
> is possible to give reasonable numbers for various definitions.

Has anyone conducted a study of bilinguals? Does being bilingual imply fewer words in your native language, or does a second (third...) language leave your first language vocabulary unaffected? (or possibly even improved, if there are L2 loan words in your L1)

Mike Maxwell

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