If you are new to a language it is much easier to answer this question: Use our word list. The words chosen there are carefully selected to not only give you a good basis for future learning and get you excited about a language, but are also a great accompaniment to our pronunciation trainer which -according to our method- would have been step 1 before you need to make this decision.
If you're a language learner at an intermediate or advanced level, you have a few options when it comes to choosing the vocabulary and grammar you want to learn in your target languages:
- Use a frequency dictionary. Grab the top 1000 and then skim through the next 1000-2000 and see which ones cover topics you find interesting or
applicable to the situation in which you’re going to be using your language.
- Grab a thematic word-list or book like the “Mastering [LANGUAGE] Vocabulary” books by Barron. Those will be high value words, arranged by theme.
- Start writing or talking with a tutor about topics you care about. Every time you run into a word you need, write it down and learn it.