Pieter Jansegers at 2017-07-06T14:03:48Z

The Mastery of Languages, or the Art of speaking Foreign Tongues idiomatically
Thomas Prendergast | 1864 [p.164]
A LIST OF THE COMMONEST ENGLISH WORDS, DECLINABLE AND INDECLINABLE.
[184 words ; lemmatised by me; listing might apart from may was my decision ]

a,an
about
after
again
ago
all
almost
alone
also
although
always
among
and
another
any
as
at
away
back
be
because
before
behind
below
beside
best
better
between
beyond
bring
but
buy
call
can
come
directly
do
down
during
each
either
else
enough
every
except
far
few
find
first
for
forward
from
give
go
have
he
her
here
hers
him
his
how
however
I
if
in
instead
into
it
its
large
last
lest
let
like
make
many
may
me
might
mine
more
most
much
must
my
near
neither
never
next
no
none
nor
not
now
of
of
off
off
often
on
only
or
other
ought
our
ours
out
over
own
perhaps
procure
put
quickly
quite
rather
see
sell
send
several
shall
she
show
since
slowly
some
soon
still
stop
such
take
tell
than
that
the
their
them
then
there
therefore
these
they
this
those
though
through
till
to
to-day
to-morrow
together
too
took
towards
under
unless
until
up
upon
upper
us
very
want
we
well
what
when
where
which
while
who
whole
whom
whose
why
will
with
without
yes
yesterday
yet
you
your
yours

He adds following numbers:

one
two
three
four
five
six
seven
eight
nine
ten
eleven
twelve
thirteen
fifteentwenty
thirty
forty
fifty
hundredthousand

And he did retain also following negatives:

can't
couldn't
don't
shan't
shouldn't
won't
wouldn't

Thomas Prendergast published this extremely interesting list in 1864, long before Dolch, Fry and others. Long, long before computerized language corpora. And it's strikingly accurated in many aspects, IMHO - apart from the strange appearance of the word upper, that is.

The list descripted in his own words:

"Annexed is a list of the commonest words of
the language, both declinable and indeclinable.
Four of these, on an average, will be found in
every line of an English book, and in every col-
loquial sentence containing a dozen words. This
list is not to be learned by heart, nor is it intended
to be used in any way by the beginner. Its object
is merely to show which are the most essential
words in all languages, in order that they may be
introduced into the sentences which are to be
translated and given to beginners. There are no
nouns included in the list, because it is for the
learner himself to select and insert those which
he will have most occasion to use at first. It may
be said that the list contains merely what all
grammars exhibit; but this method prohibits the
use of grammars and all other English books at
the outset." [pp.162-163]