English is a word lovers dream! Linguists believe English has the largest vocabulary of the 6,000 languages on Earth. On June 10, 2009 the Global Language Monitor noted that English language passed the million word threshold (the millionth word was Web 2.0 according to the group). While linguists say it’s impossible to know the exact number, the Merriam-Webster Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged contains some 470,000 entries so whatever the number, it’s a lot of words.
While English has lots and lots of words, a small number of these words take up a huge amount of space in our spoken and written English. You know these words: the, a, he, she, it, of, in with, up, all, there, am, little, from, away, walk, tell, soon, fast, slow, good. These are sight words or high-frequency sight words, so called because they are, indeed, found in great frequency in spoken and written English. Depending on how you count them, sight words account for as much as 75% of of the words used in text used by children learning to read and about 50% of the words we read and use in written and spoken English.
To read the full text of this blog post, follow the link below to ReadWriteServe's website:
Love at first “sight”: Teaching high-frequency sight words