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Learning vocabulary in a foreign language can at times seem an insurmountable task. Estimates differ as to the actual number of words in English, but a recent one suggested there are at least 600,000 word families. Research shows that most native speakers make do with just 20 to 30,000 of these words, and life itself teaches us which words are important. However, for language learners with time constraints and possible work or study deadlines looming, learning even 20 to 30,000 is too much. It is therefore crucial for them to focus on the words that really matter.
Corpus research has been around for…
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