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The Extent Of A Fluent Korean Speaker’s Vocabulary Bank

Korean Class In Singapore, Singapore Korean Classes

Do you know the number of words you need to memorize before you become fluent in a language? Fluency is based on how well one communicates despite the grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary mistakes they might’ve made. Whilst fluency is more than just how extensive one’s vocabulary bank is, it is worth to note that each word is nuanced. In order to get your message across, understanding the nuances in meanings is crucial.  To do this, do you not think having a large word bank hold some sort of value? This factor is thus worth examining even if some may think it is just a trivial matter.

This is especially crucial if you decide to pick up a foreign language where communication becomes tricky. Learning the Korean language, for instance, is more than just studying foreign words and how to string them together. You need to understand their cultural significances and Korean nuances. That said, it is not impossible of a task. There is a certain level of Korean language mastery that will put you at the same level of proficiency as most native speakers.

Experts’ Take On Memorisation

Language experts have never reached a consensus on the exact number of vocabularies that a proficient speaker should master. While some say that the minimum vocabulary for a near-native person is 10,000 words, there are those who claim that you should know about 35,000 words.

But why is there this discrepancy? Why can’t the experts agree unanimously? The reason lies in how they count the vocabularies. Some of them count individual verb forms as separate to the root word, while others count the root word and all its forms as one word. 

The Ideal Vocabulary Count

Most people have embraced the 10,000-word vocabulary as the ideal word count for being fluent in Korean. With this level of language mastery, you will be able to read Korean web pages comfortably and effortlessly.

Active memorization requires some effort and practice. Flashcards usually come in handy, but you won’t keep flashcards for 10, 000 words. You’d lose count when you reach halfway.  But relying on flashcards alone will limit your ability to learn. Being repetitive in your quest for knowledge by listening, reading, writing, and speaking will seal and engrave the words in your memory – you will not forget them easily.

Moreover, if you are a diligent student of languages, you may not want to stop at 10,000 words. Instead, you will strive to learn as many words as possible because this will give you a competitive edge when speaking the Korean language with natives.

The Best Way To Go About It

Being a proficient speaker of the Korean language as taught in Singapore Korean classes is not only measured by the number of words you have memorized but also by your ability to use your vocabulary appropriately and in the right setting. Besides memorizing your vocabulary, you should also do a good job studying your grammar and mastering effective language use. Here is what you can do to make you competent:

  • Try to memory at least 50 vocabularies a day.
  • Study about 10 rules of grammar every day.
  • Take time and listen to Korean radio or podcasts for at least 2 to 3 hours every day.
  • Create time to write a short essay in Korean, preferably one page.
  • Read an article written in Korean.


There is certainly no definite word count that evaluates language proficiency. However, most people agree that 10,000 words are adequate to make you a near-native speaker. Instead of jumping straight into 10,000 words, break them into parts and set small weekly goals. Do take note that fluency does not comprise only an extensive vocabulary bank. Refrain from neglecting your grammar and punctuation while you’re at it. Before long, you’d be speaking like a native speaker.

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