How many words do you need to know?

Number of word families needed to:
Get most things done as a tourist or visitor 1,000 to 2,000
Hold a friendly conversation 6,000
Watch television & movies 3,000 minimum, preferably 6,000
Read fluently (must know 98% of a text’s word families) 3,000 minimum, preferably 6,000

Source:
What do you need to know to learn a foreign language? by Paul Nation
Vocabulary Size, Text Coverage and Word Lists by Paul Nation and Robert Waring

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