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#299 Steve and Alex – Passive vs. Active Vocabulary (Part 1)

Do you know a word when you can recognize it, or do you have to be able to actively use it? What does it mean to really know a word, and is having a large active vocabulary as useful as having a large passive vocabulary? In this podcast, Steve and Alex discuss different definitions of “knowing” a word, what a typical active to passive ratio might be and more.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Category: Language
Duration:  10:49


Click here to listen to Passive vs. Active Vocabulary (Part 1).

Click here to see the full transcript of this podcast.


For an excerpt from the text, click below:


Steve:    I don’t care how familiar you are with that non-familiar writing system; it’s another level of strain, another level of difficulty. So what’s been your experience with learning vocabulary in Korean?


Alex:    I’ll say to start off with, a different script. I had a friend in university, she was in her fourth year, she was Korean, from Korea, but she had moved to Canada about 10 years before. So I asked her one day. She was reading a research paper or something like that in English and I said “What is your English level compared to your Korean level as far as reading goes?” She says “Well, I would say probably my English is about the same now; like I’m able to read English as easily now as I am able to read Korean.” She was like 24 and had been in Canada for 10 years attending school, high school, everything, university for four years and it took her that long until she said “Well, they’re probably about the same.”


Steve:    Yeah. I mean I’m not surprised. Even with the same script, I would say that. Even though I studied in France for three years and I’m quite comfortable in French, it’s easier to read in English. You end up doing a little more sub-vocalizing, but that’s even in the same script.


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