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Essential Spanish Vocabulary Top 5000

0.52MB. Updated 2012-08-25.


Deck 5 in the Essential Spanish Series. This is a set of cards for 5000 of the most frequently used Spanish words. Cards have both the English and Spanish words. In addition, the Spanish word also contains the part of speech and the frequency ranking of the word. Students of Spanish will be interested in adding "A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish" by Mark Davies to their personal libraries. In addition to containing a list of words by frequency, this excellent dictionary contains usage examples for each word, several different indices and an interesting introduction concerning the methodology used in developing the dictionary. Cards can be selected by tags in groups of 500 based on ranking, or by part of speech. Check back from time to time for deck corrections, updates and tweaks.

Sample (from 5001 notes)

Cards are customizable! When this deck is imported into the desktop program, cards will appear as the deck author has made them. If you'd like to customize what appears on the front and back of a card, you can do so by clicking the Edit button, and then clicking the Cards button.
Spanish cerebro (nm)
English brain
Ranking 1734
Tags 2000 nm
Spanish repeticiĆ³n (nf)
English repetition
Ranking 3113
Tags 3500 nf
Spanish alarmante (adj)
English alarming
Ranking 4565
Tags 5000 adj


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Should be careful about copyright.
Posted on 2013-11-16

I too made up a deck of cards from Professor Davies dictionary, and it is amazing how easy it is to read Spanish once you have mastered the 5000 most frequent words in the language. You only need to look up a couple of words per page in most cases, so nearly everything is quite obvious.

The problem is that I wrote to Davies to see if he had a longer list, and he had one for the first 20,000 words, but he wanted $200 for a copy, and he wanted me to sign a strict non-disclosure agreement, so I have to assume that he and his publisher would be very unhappy to see this deck being given away for free. It is essentially everything in his book.

I'm not going to go tattle, of course, because I think his attitude on this is quite prehistoric. Moreover, he has competition. There is something called Wikicorpus, which has almost 120,000,000 words of text, and from which it is easy to make frequency lists of this sort. This data is available for free under the Gnu Public LIcense, so there is no need to worry about some tight-fisted professor coming after you with lawyers.

I am in the process of making some lists from Wikicorpus, and I will put them up here as I get them done.

I wouldn't recommend this deck to a beginner.
Posted on 2013-11-06

Reviewed for the update dated 25th August 2012 -

* Each note has two cards - the second card being in reverse. I think this is overkill. Someone can just make a custom deck with the notes reversed if they want to test their recognition.

* Instead of writing the gender in brackets (nm / nf), it would have been better to use an article (el, la) at the front of the noun, and that way you get used to seeing / hearing the correct article.

* It would have been nice to have the example sentences from the book on a card proceeding each word, so you can learn to apply the word in practice.

I like the idea of learning the top 5,000 most frequent words though.

A good deck
Posted on 2012-11-25

Some of the Spanish and English notes have both both languages on one side of the card, but it's rare. A great deck if you know Spanish pretty well and want to keep your vocabulary fresh.