How many words does a foreign Japanese learner need to know to be able to communicate effectively?
I know Japanese is an incredibly productive language, mainly because of how kanji compounds work (I suppose Chinese is the same, duh), it is also one of the reasons I decided to study Japanese as I'm very intrigued by the logographic characters and concepts they represent. But I'm sort of digressing here.
I'm simply amazed by the extensive range of vocabulary utilized by the Japanese language. I've read somewhere that to be able to effectively (which in this case probably doesn't mean you are fluent) communicate in English or German you need as few as 3000 words, which doesn't seem like a lot. I know this is very difficult to estimate but can someone attempt to make a guess?
I started wondering about this because I've been keeping track of the amount of Japanese vocabulary I've learned since I started taking classes, and so far I've mastered about 1000 words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) and expressions but it seems like nothing, unfortunately.