Education: Better them Shakespeare?

In 37 plays, Shakespeare used some 15,000 different words (not counting derivatives). Everyone knows that being able to recognize a word is not the same as feeling sufficiently familiar with it to use it. Nonetheless, last week a Northwestern University psychologist reported, for what it was worth, a surprising finding: an average college-educated modern man has at least a nodding acquaintance with four times as many words as Shakespeare used.

Northwestern's famed Psychologist Robert H. Seashore and Miss Lois D. Eckerson had worked seven years devising and polishing a vocabulary test. They took a scientific sample, 1,.320 words from the 450,000...

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