Missing Words in villturdrekkin's 5000 Most Frequent

(Lcwright1964) #1

The course author has done an excellent job on this list, which is from the Routledge Frequency Dictionary by Mark Davies. But the actual source contains EXACTLY 5000 entries, yet from this course there are 22 words missing. The OCD in me wants to know why. Any ideas?

This is the course in question:


(Ian) #2

Hi, the Davies dictionary (1st ed., 2004) contains some “repeated” entries due to the same Spanish word being used in more one part of of speech. For example:

complejo adj complex, complicated 1278
complejo nm complex 2948

When the Memrise software totals up the total number of words in a course, it does not count the items it detects as duplicates.

(Lcwright1964) #3

Thanks, Ian. I did indeed notice the duplication myself. FWIW, I just got a copy of the second edition of the dictionary. It is different still! A different and much larger corpus (actually, combined corpora), with 500 new entries displacing former ones. Very helpful work. Just learning the first 2000 words of the Memrise course helped me muddle through mainstream Spanish texts with relative ease–which makes sense since Davies’ own research found that the first 2000 covered between 84 and 86 percent of written texts and nearly 93 percent of the oral ones. I will do some research to see if he has reported similar rates for the second edition.

(Ian) #4

The corpus used for 2nd ed. of the Davies dictionary includes a ~2 billion word web corpus. I’m not sure such a large corpus is really necessary, but doesn’t do any harm. I’m guessing that most of 500 new items in the 2nd edition come from the web corpus. I think that learning all the vocab from both the 1st and 2nd Editions (presumably ~5,500 words) would be a very useful exercise. Maybe someone will create a Memrise course that covers the 500 new items in the 2nd Edition.

(Lcwright1964) #5

I have been tempted to look at the alphabetical listings of each edition and finding the 500 new words myself, just by brute force manual comparison. But, frankly, in my polyglot meanderings that just doesn’t seem to be the best use of my time. I think I will complete and revise this particular course to a certain level, review it manually with the 2nd ed. hard copy, and expand things with even more extensive frequency lists, such as the Advanced and Master lists in the Most Used Words series (which claims to cover the top 10,000 words, albeit from a somewhat different corpus). On top of that I can add my beloved collection for traditional phrase books and the various vocab lists in grammar books (as a functioning francophone I find Bescherelle is the best for me). It has taken me years to learn that crunching vocab is the most important thing I can do. As an obsessive, I used to worry about grammar rules first, and ended up knowing how to conjugate verbs without knowing many verbs to conjugate! It is far more ease for me to approach a grammar text with much more vocab under my belt. Simple concept, I know!

(Ian) #6

Hi, I agree that learning vocabulary is the most important (and time consuming) aspect of language learning.

To speed up learning high-frequency verb forms, I created a series of courses based on the Wiktionary Spanish frequency list. These courses may be of interest to you.

(Lcwright1964) #7

That is superb! After learning vocab, the next big task is recognizing tense, mood, person, number, etc. of verb forms, especially with wildly irregular verbs where they can move very far away for the infinitive provided on a frequency list.

(Lcwright1964) #8

Just an update. Have discovered that this course is a much better rendering of the Davies first edition list:

It seems complete and accurate. Every entry has audio, albeit sometimes of dubious quality, but on balance I am finding my progress and retention are better.

I have spent time too with the Davies second edition, and though I am curious as to what the 560 new words might be I really am not moved to do the grunt work. That said, the book overall is a huge improvement in that the sample phrases and sentences are all translated.

(Ian) #9

I think that’s a great course to work through. After finishing it, I think you’ll be able scan through the 2nd Edition of the Davies Dictionary and recognise/learn the 500 new words pretty easily.