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There is this concept of Pangrams or holoalphabetic sentence, that is, a sentence using every letter of a given alphabet at least once. The famous example is:

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

There is pangrams for other languages as well, including using accented letters (e.g., á, ç, etc).

I would like to extend this concept from letters to words. Of course books with all the words from a language already exists: dictionaries! And there are also dictionaries of common words.

But what about a prose text containing the most common words (like 300 - 1000 most common words)? Are there any examples of these texts? I guess it would be useful to create the smallest and most coherent text containing these common words.

The value for language learning is having access to a summarized text with all common words - perfect for reviewing basic vocabulary (like 'hot', 'cold', 'boy', 'girl', 'city', 'country', 'sugar', 'salt', and so on).

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  • Would your text include each of the most common word once only, or would you allow repetitions?
    – Arsak
    Nov 28, 2018 at 6:59
  • At least the example sentence repeats letters.
    – Tommi
    Nov 28, 2018 at 9:02
  • Yes, it is very difficult to surpress duplicate words without producing artificial texts. Words like 'the', 'a', 'and', 'to' will often repeat.
    – Chaotic
    Nov 28, 2018 at 12:43
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about texts with an unusual linguistic feature (especially if words are not allowed to repeat), not about learning or teaching languages.
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 28, 2018 at 19:00
  • 1
    OK. But is this a question about texts that use all of the e.g. 1000 most common words or about texts that use a vocabulary that does not go beyond that set (i.e. not using all of them but a subset)? Could you please also edit your question to clarify whether repetitions are allowed?
    – Tsundoku
    Nov 29, 2018 at 13:16

2 Answers 2

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Formal answer -from scientific point of view

This question is difficult to answer because (depending on criteria) such texts may not exist or after relaxing the criteria any random text could match.

You can perform a research and discover some covariance between length of the source text and some metrics like amount of total unique words, amount of "common words" chosen from arbitrary prepared list etc.. (I believe the Zipf's law plays a big role here)

What would you probably be interested in, could be text corpora for a given language. Corpus is basically a set of exemplary texts from various domains, useful for researches like mentioned before.

List of text corpora from Wikipedia

Some of corpora allow you to search texts depending on their size. You can choose short texts for instance.

Another hints -mainly personal opinion

If you are looking for some texts, you can try to categorize list of your vocabulary for practicing depending on subject, for instance:

  • Animal names -Fairy tales for small children. (But take care -it can be a trap. Some of them can be written using surprisingly difficult language)
  • Vegetables, fruits -Recipes.
  • Buildings and facilities -Tourist guides. Police incident reports from newspapers.
  • Body parts -Physical exercise tutorials, martial arts, gymnastics. Also some medical hints ("reason of prolonged pain around lungs...").
  • Family members, occupations -Biography literature.
  • Home equipment -Real estate advertisements.

I agree that usually, texts found randomly can be written using difficult language. In that case, texts prepared especially for a language proficiency level exams can be more useful.

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Someone created a text using 3000 most common words... the book is obviously called "The 3000 word poem. A way to learn a language in a week", you can look up and see, these are the links> https://payhip.com/b/jYITi

https://www.etsy.com/listing/1544496456/the-3000-word-poem-a-way-to-learn-a?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=hawaiian+poems&ref=sr_gallery-1-1&frs=1&organic_search_click=1

The thing is from what i saw and heard there are lots of duplicate words, he needed to make a poem for learning a language, but he also stated somewhere that his first version of the poem has fewer duplicates but looks like is an alien poem...

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