Well I suppose that depends on your defintion of word
am, are, is, was - are these each words? Also
IIRC the English language is purported to have
a lexicon on the order of 320,000 words*. The
average American vocabulary has been in steady
decline since the early twentieth century at
which point I believe it was on the order of
several thousand words*. A few things to consider:
dictionaries may contain archaic forms
does your dictionary contain proper nouns? do you care?
the content of the language is not evenly
distributed across the lexicon, e.g. a single word
(sans modifiers) for "love" and a plethora for shades
* I shall attempt to find evidence to support this.
An enlightening thread,
but then again it is usenet...
Apparently this is a pretty hotly contested topic.
perl -pe "s/\b;([st])/'\1/mg"