50,000 words

I was at a conference today, and a speaker said: "The average civil servant in the UK has a vocabulary of 50,000 words. The average citizen he serves --- or Sun-reader, as we like to call them [heh]--- has a vocabulary of 5,000 words."

As it turned out, at least two of the conference attendees, despite their ostensibly 50,000-word vocabulary, could not:

a) understand a simply analogy for the filtration/reverse osmosis process for NEWater that the allegedly 5,000-word-vocabulary citizens had no trouble absorbing during the NEWater publicity campaign last year; or

b) overcome the ick factor when uttering "sterilised waste" during the Q&A session. That's one guy who's not gonna touch NEWater anytime soon.

I don't see what all the fuss about NEWater is about. I'm just amazed that it's possible to make water even more tasteless than it already is --- more like fake water, believe it or not.

I wonder what my vocabulary is. 50,000 sounds like an awful lot of words, but I guess it really isn't if you get down to counting every single last one of them. I should have a decent-sized vocabulary because based on the results of a casual but largely by-the-book IQ test we took for fun at dinner last night (this is what happens when we're at dinner with a professional educational psychologist), my nonverbal IQ is pretty average. Hence our professional educational psychologist friend speculates that I'd score pretty high on a verbal IQ test. The question now becomes: do I dare take such a test, or is the shock and terror of scoring only average on a nonverbal test already too much for my ego to bear?


ICQ has started appending mini-banner ads to the bottom of its message dialog boxes. How annoying.


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