Linguists are the really smart people that study human language, and many of them believe that the 3000 most common words in a language make up 90% of the content we experience on a daily basis.
Moreover, once we understand those 3000 most common words, we can understand the general context of whatever we might read or hear on a daily basis.
Obviously, this is a pretty significant achievement for us second language learners.
There’s more! A 3000 word vocabulary enables us to express everything that we could possibly want to say in our new language, with the understanding that at only 3000 words we would often have to express ourselves in a roundabout way. (I was going to use the word circumlocution, but I’m not sure that I know what that means).
In any case, I really dig the idea of being able to say everything that I want to say in Spanish (assuming that someone would be willing to listen to me), so I am working to ensure that my Spanish vocabulary far exceeds 3000 palabras.
Unfortunately, I have looked high and low for a 3000 word vocabulary builder that is effective and easy-to-use, and I have yet to find one. Notice that I said “effective” and “easy-to-use,” and I probably should have included “inexpensive.”
So if I had a couple million dollars on hand at this moment, I would probably go ahead and build that super-duper software app right now and deliver it to the world just as soon as I could. But short of having dos millones de dolares en mi mano ahorita, I am happy to resort to “crowd sourcing.”
I have already compiled a list of the 3000 most common words (with some expressions) used by native Spanish speakers. This list was compiled from various sources, and admittedly skews toward Spanish America (since that is where the majority of Spanish speakers originated from and/or live). Obviously, a list such is this is open to debate, so please don’t think any less of me if I missed your favorite Spanish word; moreover, please email me any additions or corrections you might have).
I am imagining an application that has an image, a sound recording, and written letters associated with each of the 3000 words (which could be tricky for words such as LES, SUERTE, DIOS, TAL, IMPRESIONANTE, MEMORIA, etc.). And at this point what I need most are an image/picture for each word, and down the road I can work on getting a native Spanish speaker (or several speakers) to record the sound of each word. (I am familiar with www.forvo.com, but I don’t expect that they just give away their audio files).
This is where you come in. I will send you a link to this list of 3000 words, which include a bonus 145 words since the list is actually 3145 words, if you will agree to send me a picture (i.e. jpg file) of 5 separate words. That’s all you have to do – send me 5 jpg files. And to avoid getting several pictures of an abeja (bee), please pick 5 words that you think would not be commonly chosen (such as HUELGA).
I have spent probably at least 40 hours of my time compiling this list and I am happy to share it with you, and all that I ask is that you send me 5 jpg files in return.
And if you have a couple million dollars that you would like to put toward this project, or you can get me on the Shark Tank, please let me know.
P.S. God willing, I will be in Peru teaching English during the months of September and October.