This paper investigates the amount of French vocabulary needed to read (with reasonable comprehension) three authentic novels used in a first semester course of French at a Swedish university. The analysis applies the concept of lexical coverage and uses the frequency lists of Lonsdale & Le Bras (2009). The counting unit is the lemma. This study also examines the common French word list used in all Swedish universities offering French degrees. The results show that 7 000 to 9 000 lemmas will provide the 98 % coverage needed for reasonable comprehension. This is at least twice the 4 000 lemmas contained in the university list. The results therefore point to the necessity of including a vocabulary component also in higher-level French courses.
Copyright (c) 2019 Mårten Ramnäs
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