How many words do you know?
Test your receptive and productive vocabulary in different languages. What percentage of the 5000 most frequent words have you mastered?
For each language, you can test your “receptive” or “productive” vocabulary by clicking on the respective term.
Vocabulary size is an important component in learning a foreign language.
Research in this area suggests that there are certain thresholds of vocabulary size.
Thus a certain amount of vocabulary is necessary in order to cope with tasks in the foreign language, such as reading unknow authentic texts and gain adequate understanding without great delays.
The vocabulary tests aim to assess participants’ vocabulary knowledge on levels of 1000 words each. These levels are based on high-frequency vocabulary lists.
The results indicate the corresponding reading levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
The tests were modelled after Nation’s Vocabulary Levels Test for English
and are based on the assumption that more frequent words are acquired earlier than less frequent ones.
Productive and receptive vocabulary levels are assessed separately. The term receptive (or passive) vocabulary refers to the words that a learner can understand – or whose meaning he or she can deduce using strategies – while the term productive (or active) vocabulary refers to the words that the learner is able to actively use. In general, a learner’s receptive vocabulary is significantly larger than his or her productive vocabulary.
The productive test comprises 90 samples, the receptive one includes 150.
Each of the tests consists of five general vocabulary subtests, which measure the vocabulary size on the levels 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, and 5000.
The vocabulary levels of German are based on the frequency lists developed from the Herder/BYU-corpus.
The test section “The 1000 most frequent words in German” includes vocabulary with a frequency rank ranging from 1 (the most frequent word in the corpus) to 1000.
“The 2000 most frequent words in German” tests the learner’s knowledge of words with a frequency rank of 1001 to 2000, and so on.
The words used for the respective distractors, definitions, and surrounding sentences also come from either the tested level or lower levels.
This website can be used for testing a learner’s knowledge of the 5000 most frequent words in the following languages:
Below, you can find information on the structure and application of the vocabulary tests, as well as examples of productive and receptive question formats.
The productive test consists of 18 cloze items per subtest. The target word is surrounded by one or two sentences.
As many letters are provided as are needed to disambiguate the item.
Example: In Britain, children must go to s________ between the ages of four and sixteen.
The receptive test contains ten items per subtest. From a drop-down menu with six words, three have to be chosen that match the given words or phrases.
This type of task offers several advantages:
There is a time limit of 30 minutes for each test.
Tasks should be completed without using a dictionary.
80% of points per level (1000, 2000, etc.) are needed for a level to be counted as passed. 80% equate to:
After completing all tasks, the window “Test Results” will appear. Under “Open details” the score for each level is listed.
The results achieved on the vocabulary tests allow conclusions as to participants’ reading proficiency level as laid down in the CEFR.
The results do not allow any specific conclusions as to the participants’ proficiency in speaking, listening, or writing. The productive test only assesses active vocabulary knowledge, not productive language proficiency in general.
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Davies, Mark; Davies, Kathy Hayward (2018): A frequency dictionary of Spanish. Core vocabulary for learners. London, New York: Routledge.
Davies, Mark; Gardner, Dee (2011): A frequency dictionary of contemporary American English. Word sketches, collacates, and thematic lists. London, New York: Routledge.
Davies, Mark; Preto-Bay, Ana Maria Raposo (2008): A frequency dictionary of Portuguese. Core vocabulary for learners. London, New York: Routledge.
Jones, Randall L.; Tschirner, Erwin (2011): A frequency dictionary of German. Core vocabulary for learners. London, New York: Routledge.
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The vocabulary tests were developed primarily in the context of the research project on “Assessment Literacy and Skills Development” at the ITT e.V. This project was funded by the Cornelsen publishing house.