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How Many Words to Fluency?: Another Adventure in the Russian Language.

January 2016

There are Six levels of achievement in the acquisition of Russian according to the Russian Universities. Elementary with a vocabulary of 750 words, Basic: 1300 words, Level 1 Intermediate: 2300 words, Level 2 Advanced: 10000 words, Level 3 Proficient: 12000 words (with 7000 active) and level 4 Fluency with 20,000 words (8000 active). Interestingly, there is a big jump between the two intermediate levels from 2300 words to 10000 words. So that is where the hard work of intensive listening and extensive reading must come in. I am nearly at Level 1 Intermediate stage, but I certainly don’t think I know enough words to be able to hold even a basic conversation. I think 3000 to 3500 words or more may be more realistic a word count for level 1 to take into count the case endings. I think 20000 words in Russian is going to be a minimum and 30000 to 50000 words would be a more comfortable fluency level. Any thoughts?


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