The 1000 words challenge with busuu



How many words do you know in the language you’re learning?

Clearly, the more words you know, the better able you are to communicate and interact with others.

The Speak to the Future organisation have set up a challenge encouraging us all to meet the 1000 word mark in at least one foreign language.

The idea is that if all of us, whatever our age, ability or nationality, knew at least 1000 words in another language, then the world would be a better place. Business deals would run more smoothly, foreign travel would be more rewarding and new friendships would blossom more quickly.

So, how to go about learning these words?

Luckily, busuu is here to help. We have 1000s of words, arranged into units, each with a focus on a useful, everyday topic.

You can learn one of the 12 languages available with busuu and you can set yourself goals to help motivate you to continue with your learning.

There are around 25 words per busuu vocabulary unit, with some already organised into useful everyday phrases.

Most of these words and phrases also have an example sentence showing the words used in an everyday context, and all have recordings of the words to help you with listening, speaking and pronunciation. So if you get through the busuu levels A1 and A2, you will be well on your way to meeting the target of 1000 words.

And if you’re a Premium member you have access to interactive grammar units and recording exercises, plus you can print off a PDF of the words from the units you’ve completed, helping you to remember all the words you’re learning.

Reach 1000 words!

Do you know 1000 words in another language? Let us know how you’re getting on in the comments below.


  1. Your web site is absolutely horrible to navigate.

    I have been trying for 15 mins to change the language to German and still have not succeeded.

  2. I am fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Now I am learning Italian through your app.
    I don’t think that I acquired the thousand word target. Soon I will purchase your full app,
    And hopefully I will be able to speak Italian.

    • Hi Mano! Well done on your language skills so far. We’re really happy to know you enjoy learning with our apps. Have fun learning Italian 🙂

  3. Bonjour,
    I was so pleasir to use your for learning french.really i was improved a lot in french language.confidence to speak with french poeple.thanksa lot for your nice to teachering method.
    Je vous remercies pour bien votre
    Your’s faithfully

  4. Not sure how many words I know yet. I believe I understand visually better than I can speak, but I am practicing everyday and I also belong to a Spanish Meet Up group where we practice in conversation.

  5. I have now completed all of the Busuu website in learning Spanish and have gone on to have private lessons. Bussu helped a great deal in extending my vocabulary and introducing many new scenarios to practice.
    I now hold a reasonable degree of competency in speaking, though listening and understanding others is still hard – this I am sure will come before to long.

  6. maybe kids should know 250 words of 2 languages by end of grade school
    and then maybe some 500 words of 3 or 4 languages by end of 12th grade

    just an Idea

  7. What does it mean to “know” a word ?
    Can you immediately summon up the foreign word you need to speak the language
    or at the other extreme, when seen in a helpful context, can you make a good stab
    at interpreting the foreign word ?

    I know the French for every English verb ending in “-ate”, just substitute “-er”
    Does this count as it only works in one direction ?

    What is a thousand words ?
    If you know an adjective, its comparative, superlative and derived adverb
    is that one or four words towards your 1000 goal.

    Have you identified a set of must-know words like Ogden’s Basic English
    or the lists in some of the Oxford beginner’s dictionaries ?

  8. I just finished learning spanish by completing both the A & B sections 1 & 2. In the new year I am thinking that, in order not to forget what I have learned so far, to simply repeat the entire course that I have gone through this year. Perhaps then I may also become a “prime plan” student.. One problem that I can foresee in the long-run would be the matter of retention of learned material, given the very limited opportunity of using this new ability on a dialy basis in my corner of the world.
    Please let me know your thoughts on the matter of retaining previously learned material.

  9. I already know many more than 1,000 words in Spanish and in French from studying in college and on my own. Now, with busuu, I’m excited to be learning Italian. Busuu is such a wonderful program. I’ve finished A-1 and now am part way through A-2. Thanks to the lessons and great feedback from my busuu “friends,” I’ve learned so much in a short time. Many thanks to busuu!

  10. I am interested i learning Russian. I want to take the 1000 word challenge. WRite me about how to get started. Thanks! Linda Swanberg

  11. Maybe I am a special case, I don’t think so. I can remember about 700 words of Italian, and my experience in Italy is that most of them are not much use, and worse, recalling them in a conversation is the worst aspect of learning a language. Whatever anyone says, and tricks to do with imaging words attached to steamrollers and clouds, do not work. When one learns how to say something meaningful, in Italy they say it differently. Being English my natural instinct is towards German so Italian which is Latin based is difficult. I can remember about 80 lines of the Prologue to Canterbury tales and that is extremely difficult. So why do I find recalling Italian so hard, and, I suspect everyone else stumbles at that hurdle too. None of the language courses have yet found a way that works for easy recall of the language being learned. Even in the chat rooms on some language course, the people chatting barely get past ‘Good Morning’ There must be a way, yet undiscovered that will allow easy recall of the language being learned. In Italy I can ask what an Italian word is in English, and of course good day and how are you, and that is about all. Perhaps face to face interaction would work, I don’t know. So I could learn 10,000 words and know them all but that would not be much use. What needs to be done is find out what the day to day vocabulary is of ordinary Italians. I find no interest in learning about professors and students, but would be interested in the ordinary conversation of Italian people.

  12. die Begrüßung = The greeting
    guten Morgen = good morning
    guten Tag = good day
    guten Aben = good evening

    Hallo! = Hi – Hello
    Grüß dich! greet you
    Servus! (Süddeutschland) = greeting, Hi (informal, between friends)
    Brüß Gott (Süddeutschland)= greet God (formal)

  13. I hope to get this challenge but I am faire don`t complete the course to end and there is something else worried me that my work doesn`t need any foreign language

  14. Sir/Madam, It would be interesting to learn 1000 words in Spanish, it is the language I am learning. Are these words every day words that can be heard on the streets and in conversations? How do I maintain these words? it would be grand if the Busuu chat functions, I am having problems after connecting, to see what the other person is writing. Finally, can we find another method that is more friendly than competition? it is the invisible form of provocation, other than that I am proud to be a member of the Busuu friends, I have made friends with many, I have learnt much and I feel happy to be a part of Busuu.

    Wendy Ann Woodyear.

  15. I am trying to learn Spanish, but sadly even though I am continually paying for the premium services busuu keep on downgrading me to a free member. This is incredibly frustrating and the problem has been going on for three months. I am now looking for alternative providers for learning language because the service I have received is terrible.

  16. @David I find the best way to work on recall, is to journal in the chosen language every day. Also, read forums that are only in target language that are for native speakers, instead of language learner. After you read and work on understanding, journal your thoughts. Of course, language immersion, is always the best for those who don’t have auditory processing issues. Best Wishes!

    Me: I speak a little of – German (read it better), Hebrew (Biblical), Japanese numbers (and Spanish), Russian, Italian, Finnish – mostly, 10 words or less, but German is maybe around 300 words reading, 20 words active.

  17. I just want to continue learning Italian and reach 1000 words because it is realy important for my job and future.Languageges are my choice.

  18. hi,
    i was very happy to join bussu. but i can’t download pfd files and podcasts. it seems i have to pay money. why? isn’t bussu free?

  19. If I were learning Spanish on this site, I’d have WAAAAAYYY over 1000 words already known!! I’ve been taking it in school for three years!!

  20. I agree with David that it is very difficult to put learned vocabulary to use.
    I visited though a park in Milan and was soon part of a group of Italian ladies whom daily visits the park. I happened to sit down the bench marking their meeting place. At that time I knew really just five words.
    To my amazement, we could all converse with each other although none of them could speak English.
    It was really a group effort with lots sound alike words, hand signs and lots of laughs. We all enjoyed it thoroughly.
    So my idea is that it should be quite easy to learn to use a new language if you live between people of the language you are learning and to just keep trying to use the language however incorrect and to be prepared to make fool of yourself and to use every opportunity you get, however limited to talk to someone of that language.
    The problem with Italian is that Italy has a lot of regional dialects, so much so that people from the north also cannot understand the people from the south and vice versa. German also have a lot of dialects.

  21. I also do not see any direction on how to take part in the 100 word competition. Please explain how the competition works. Thanks

  22. Have been learning Spanish for some time, via books in class but I never have the opportunity to speak to spanish people outside of the class. I realise now the only way for me to improve is to speak spanish wheneven I can, which is not often unfortunately. Learn learn new words every day, increase you knowledge of them.

  23. As I have completed A1 and A2 in German on busuu I guess I have a vocabulary of somewhere in the region of a 1,000 words (at least) in my second language now.

    • Hi Anji,

      Per level you should learn around 500 main words plus the vocabulary you learn whilst doing the writing exercise, dialogue and review tests. We hope you are enjoying our learning experience with busuu.


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