I wonder how many words I need to learn to recognize in English to be fluent. I know that there are about four-five thousands words used most often in conversations, but that is not enough to understand native speakers.
I saw in one flashcard application that there are ten thousand English words at an intermediate level and another ten thousand words at an advanced level. If I am learning thirty new words a day, it would take me about a year to complete the intermediate level, and another year to complete the advanced level. That is two years of intensive work using flashcards everyday. I think that is an incredibly long time and it is impossible to efficiently perform such work. I wonder if it is necessary.
Maybe I should focus on the use of English in reading, listening, writing, speaking, and if it will be sufficient enough to achieve fluency in understanding. However, during all this time these words will be unfamiliar for me. I think, learning words from context clues will take me much long than two years. Usually understanding rare words from context is impossible. Using a dictionary thousands times, sometimes for the same words, doesn’t sound appealing to me, either.
Is immersion in the language sufficient to understand so many words? What do you think about it?
Is it possible to understand fluently advanced, complex texts without just memorizing so many words?