I recently read an interesting article that states that for each level of the European Language Framework, you should know approximately this many core words.

Note that a core word can have many words related, but only counts as one word. So in English ‘to sit’, ‘sat’ and ‘sitting’ would all be one core word (verb):

Language Level: Number of Base Words Needed:

  • A1: 500
  • A2: 1000
  • B1: 2000
  • B2: 4000
  • C1: 8000
  • C2: 16000

Basically start with 500 words at A1 and then double the amount for each level.

What are the official criteria for this? I’m hoping to hear from people at C levels to get an accurate, albeit anecdotal, answer.

Personal experience says yes (give or take 10/20%), I am at B1 with about 1,600 core words known. I do however, hope that I don’t need to learn another 14,000 words plus to get to C2 :)

  • 2
    Asking for "do you agree with this?" makes the question opinion-based, hence totally off-topic on Stack Exchange network. Consider editing that part with something like "what are the official criteria?" or maybe even "what are the grades according to Language Proficiency Test ___?" We can give only verifiable answers about CEFR, HSK etc. Nov 23, 2017 at 14:06
  • How does this question differ from the question What are estimates of vocabulary size for each CEFR level??
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 23, 2017 at 14:10
  • I have edited it. @ChristopheStrobbe the difference is I am not talking about any frameworks such as the CEFR. I am talking about reaching these equivalent levels outside of a formal environment. That question relates to more formal study.
    – Cloud
    Nov 23, 2017 at 14:35
  • 1
    You are talking about frameworks. A1, A2, etc. are level identifiers used in CEFR. These levels can be measured (through language tests) regardless whether you learn a language in a formal context or not.
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 23, 2017 at 14:38
  • As @ChristopheStrobbe mentioned, this question is a duplicate of this one.
    – fi12
    Nov 23, 2017 at 15:36


Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.