active vocabulary

Quick Reference

The range of words which an individual is able to use accurately in their speech (active spoken vocabulary), or their writing (active written vocabulary), or both of these. The active vocabulary does not include words which are only recognized and understood, either by reading or hearing, but not actually used. At most stages of learning of a language, the learner's active vocabulary will be more limited than their comprehension. In other words, their understanding will outstrip their ability to express themselves. See also age, reading; passive vocabulary.

Subjects: Education.

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