Basic words in a new language

Andreas Cord-Landwehr cordlandwehr at
Wed Aug 14 17:29:35 UTC 2013

On Sunday 11 August 2013 19:27:16 Inge Wallin wrote:
> Ok, thanks.  One thing that I don't remember if I emphasized in my first
> mail is that this list was supposed to represent a useful subset for
> somebody who wanted to study a language seriously and continue 
> more after these words are mastered.
For this goal the list seems good for me.

> And rather than have one file with 4000 words, I'd prefer 8 with 500 
I see this different. As long as we have a good hierarchy in a file, I do not 
see the need to make vocabulary files artificialy small. Actually, Parley 
allows quite easy to select which parts of a vocabulary file you want to 
learn. So we should aim for good structured files and the problem is 

> Thanks for the feedback.  Would you care to suggest an improved 
Essentially, I would rename the "Other" category to "Essential Words", 
rename some of the subcategories and move some other categories as 
subcategories to it. (This also allows in Parly by its tree-selection mode for 
learning to fine grained specify where to start learning).

My proposal:

Essential Words (was "Other")
+ Important Verbs (was "Actions" and "Common Verbs")
    add "do"
    add "take"
    add "use"
    remove "will"
+ Important Adjectives (was in "Descriptions")
+ Question Words (was "Interrogative Words")
+ Conjunctions (was "Interjections")
+ Numbers
+ Colors (was in "Descriptions")
+ Introduction (was "Greetings and polite words")
+ Directions
+ Personal Pronouns
+ Relative Pronouns (new, see last mail)
+ Measurements
+ Time and Dates (was top-level category before)
+ Quantities (new! with words like "often", "seldom", "sometimes")

Further changes:
* merge "Leisure" and "Activities"
* remove Descriptions completely (Colors and Common Adjectives better fit 
in "Essential Words" and Patterns are not basic words for me)

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