What English learners want to hear – the top 100 most-listened to English words

Sometimes our work lets us take a look at some interesting statistics. Last week we evaluated which English words were listened to the most in our bab.la dictionaries by using the pronunciation function. We looked at the last 3 million clicks which should give us a fairly objective result. While looking at the results we thought why not share them with the language community? So, here we go with some interesting stats (thanks to Christopher we even have some nice graphics to share):

– The top 100 words & expressions only make up for about 5% of the listened to words.Within the top 100 words about 20 percent we would classify as R-rated (for lack of a better wording). Therefore, we created two graphics as you might be interested in a “clean” version.
– Looking at the top 500 words the R-rated words number drops significantly. Our interpretation is that people like to listen to the f*** and similar words as they think it is funny.
– With 0.2% of the overall listened to word-count ‘I love you’ is the number 1 word. The world is good after all…
– The most difficult to pronounce words for non-native English speakers are: though, thought, through, although and tough. What can we say but that those really are tough words? 🙂

The original size for download: Top 100 English Words Rated R and Top 100 English Words Rated G
You are welcome to use the graphics when quoting the source: bab.la dictionary (http://en.bab.la/dictionary/)

UPDATE: We did the same analysis for the top 100 most listened to German words.

Here are some more or less useful links for further reading:
bab.la top misspelled word list 2009
Top 100 most commonly used English words
Top 100 most-used English words from the WSJ
Background article on top 100 most frequently used English words list
Top 5.000 most used words (free download after registration)
Saddest English words (competition by NY Times, you need to sort the comments by ‘reader’s recommendations’)
Top 10 mispronounced English foodie words
Most misspelled web searches
Top 100 US baby names 2010

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3 thoughts on “What English learners want to hear – the top 100 most-listened to English words”

  1. Very interesting!
    Did you find out anything relevant pertaining to the sounds GH and TH within the 3 millions outputs? Looks like those are the most difficult.

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