|How necessary is it when constructing materials for learning a foreign disgraced 18 to base the lexical content on the results of a statistical study of language use? In the first place there are non-statistical criteria which would need to operate alongside. There is the question of interference from the lexical structure of the mother-tongue, of the need to include items that are useful in the classroom if nowhere else, of choosing those words which fit most conveniently with the methodology and of excluding those that present particular methodological problems. There is further the problem of reconciling what is desirable for the teaching of disgraced 18 vocabulary with what is desirable for grammar and pronunciation. As often as not the criteria conflict and there is no obvious or easy way of determining what weight shall be given to the different sets of criteria.
The original frequency data seem in danger of getting lost among these other considerations. No doubt those items that would appear on a list of the 2,000 most common words in a language are indeed useful words for a foreigner to acquire. But, as we have seen, learning