300,000 words in 6 months with only 96000 words read?

I have been trying to compare my results in Swedish to other languages to get some inspiration. I sometimes compare my stats in languages without many users (Swedish, Slovak) to ones which have more active communities for perspective. On this occasion I was surprised to see someone has made a meteoric rise in one of the most popular languages.
I was curious as to their technique, so clicked on their profile and wanted to get some ideas. Then I noticed something odd, they had got about 24,000 words in a day. I was impressed. When I looked at the certificates I was surprised to see they were getting about 1000 known words every three minutes at some points.
Curious as to their strategy, it seemed that they had only been going since about July 23.
After checking their read words, it turns out they have managed to get 320,000 known words after only reading 96000. I was impressed! Being able to read over 1000 words in a few minutes is something I’m not sure I could do in English, let alone a foreign language.
Then I started to think something crazy. Isn’t 96,000 a lot less than 320,000? I got out my calculator and checked. It is!
Any ideas what’s going on here? Is it a bug? Is it a native speaker with some crazy goal to see how many words they know? Is it ChatGPT? Whilst all those things are fine, I just don’t understand the way lingq works how it is possible to get more known words *by over 230000 than words you have read.
Am I missing something?
The only logical explanation I can think of is someone maybe lost their saved data and its being reset? But then how does that explain the less words read than known?

It seems strange but there is a perfectly reasonable explanation.

In the LINGQ API you can mark a word known without opening a lesson, this particular user would just be adding lists of words they know through an endpoint and not on the LINGQ interface

Interesting! It seems like it might be the yellow pages :smiley:

Pretty much every time I open the forums, I find bot generated spam posts. So if the bots can post here, they can probably also operate the main site, possibly via the API. So it’s a possibility I guess. But I feel some people are also eager to be at the top of the known word rankings. As rooster says, you can use the API to import an entire dictionary into your known words, without ever opening a lesson and thus increasing your words read count.

It has been discussed before, but generally I’ve found the known words count to be a poor indicator of my progress and it’s inherently subjective anyways. I only look at two statistics - listening time and words read.
When I see users where the known word count is not at all correlated to the other stats, I just assume they’re not using the site the same way I do, which is fine, but also makes any comparisons pointless.
I suggest just to move on and let them have their number one spot, at least the user isn’t taking part in a challenge :slight_smile:


Yes, it is hard to understand what their point is if they don´t say anything on the profile. If they are doing it as a native speaker perhaps they could make their profile private as it seems a bit odd to take the top place!

Sometimes people want to feel like they’re standing on top of the mountain - even if they have to use a helicopter to get there :-).

Of course, harder is (usually) better - especially for your self-esteem.


It’s possible to make your profile private?

This whole thing actually makes total sense to me. Not saying this is the person’s case, but for example, let’s suppose he wanted to tutor or to correct other people’s English writing on LingQ. Correct me if I’m wrong, but to see writing submitted for correction in English, I think you have to add “English” as one of your languages being studied, Then your profile will lists your “known words” for English as zero. Then, let’s say, something was mentioned about a problem someone was having with a lesson in English in the forum, then you clicked around on a few words to experiment, and now suddenly your profile says that you know a measly ten words in English. That’s far from the truth! So you quick grab a dictionary and import a few hundred thousand words and mark them all as known. It takes a while, but after about a day or two of concentrated effort, you can get a pretty sizeable number. Ahhh, much better, much more accurate reflection of your actual proficiency and people will trust you more if you can demonstrate that you have a massive vocabulary (there are no other stats available to prove proficiency on this platform.)

Just a wild guess. I’m not the person who was being talked about here, although I did load up a bunch of English words a while back for this exact reason. (Not 300K, though, only about 1/20th of that number.) And I’m not in any English challenges, since there wouldn’t be any point to that.

Just another perspective.

Also if it really bothers people, I’ll be glad to make my profile private if someone will tell me how. :slight_smile:

Edited to fix lousy math. :slight_smile:

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I doubt it does, Achieving high numbers of known words in a short amount of time is just surprising. That’s all.

I’ve also added a language slot for my mother tongue, German, to be able to listen
to academic literature on LingQ while working out and / or doing chores. And, of course, the number of known words tends to skyrocket because I usually rush through these texts (using an audiospeed of 1.5 or higher). So, I don’t need LingQ to hone my skills in German, but it’s just handy for absorbing new knowledge.

In short, we may have different reasons why we do what we do. But who cares?

It would only bother me if it was a person putting in complete gibberish/loads of foreign languages/just a list of names in. If it is genuine it is very interesting! For example, I have about 20 Swedish books I have read years ago. I can copy them, put them in and add words I know which I haven´t found in other languages. It will take a bit of time to scan them in but I think it´s better than compiling a list and it will show as words read. What confused me is how it was possible to add so many words without reading and now it has been explained.
What hasn´t been explained is the motive - like if it is a foreign language user and they´re just spamming words in without accurately understanding them, I think that is a bit silly. The guy who was at the top seems to have been using lingq for a very long time consistently and is humble about their achievements, which are amazing. If the new character were just doing it to get to number 1 without being able to speak German very well is cheating themselves.
Having said that, if they are a really high level person or a native speaker, it would be very interesting to understand their process. It would also be nice if someone could mention they are a native speaker, so then other users can use it to benchmark. The problem is it doesn´t seem like this is a native speaker who is going through books and reading what they know to give foreigners a chance to understand what to aim for.
It could be legit - but it does have some signs of being a weird thing.

As far as being a teacher - I do the same thing with English and it is great. If you had 400,000 words it would be probably polite not to include spelling mistakes as known words in it etc because then it has no real meaning and could lead the system to think a word is legitimate. I doubt it has any impact though.
If you look at David Crystal, he says there are about 4 million words in existence from olde to modern English. I would love lingq in old English, maybe I could use English for old English too?

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Others have used English for old and middle English and I think there might even be some “mono lingual” dictionaries added, but if not you can ask to have them added.

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