With regard to the English language, how many words is the average person likely to hear (not read) on an average day. By "how many words" I don't mean how many unique words. In other words if I hear the word "get" 1000 times and "given" 10 times, then this would result in 1010 being added to the total result. This means that I can multiply the total result for a day by seven in order to get an estimate for a week.

I realise that class, occupation and number of friends etc. have an impact on this value, but I really only need a very rough estimate. What I'm interested in knowing is how many words a learner is exposed to on a given day when immersed in an English speaking society.


2 Answers 2


I have found one source claiming that 30,000 words a day is a reasonable estimate.

Here is another source claiming the value is actually 100,000 words a day.

  • 1
    Fair enough, I felt that they were two different answers so I posted them as such.
    – Baz
    Mar 14, 2013 at 8:30
  • So, how many would it be in a polysynthetic language, where every word is a sentence?
    – jlawler
    Dec 8, 2021 at 17:13

Given that a day has 86400 seconds, and we spend around 57600 seconds awake and 56340 seconds according to one credible source (Statisca claims: "This statistic displays information on the amount of time individuals spent awake per day in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2014, broken down by age group and gender. That year, the average awake time for UK adults aged 16 years and older was 939 minutes or 15 hours and 39 minutes. A recent study on media and communications usage in the UK shows that the average awake time of adults remained largely unchanged two years later in 2016, at 940 minutes. In 2014, the average UK male spent 11 minutes longer being awake than the average female, at 945 minutes and 934 minutes respectively. A 2016 survey found that UK adults aged 16 years and older spent roughly 525 minutes, or nearly 56 percent, of their daily awake time on media and communications activities, such as watching television and videos, listening to the radio or music and communicating via email or instant messengers."). So with the fact that we use half our time using electronics in United Kingdom specifically that means it the number varies from person to person, if you are in Afghanistan for example, you wouldn't use a lot electronics devices and enjoy with friends and familly time. So I conclude, it would be hard to reach 100,000 words per day, unless you watch videos all day.


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