Determining percent of unknown words

I have been experimenting with determining whether a text is at my appropriate level. If I import a text (or use one already in LIngQ), I go to the vocabulary list first, new words, and dismiss all the proper names and words I know. I make LingQs for new words. When I return to the lesson info page, my new words column is now zero and I have a number of LingQs in yellow. If I want to judge the percent of the text I am likely not to understand, should I divide that number by the total words or by the unique words?

Hi SherryTeach,

I’m not sure if this helps but on the main page in the library section, you should be able to see what percent of the imported text is new vocabulary. I use that to assess whether a resource is too difficult or not.

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(New Words + lingQs) / total words * 100

This represents the maximum percentage of times you may need to consult the dictionary, on average. I.e. 5% = 1 in 20. This means that, on average, you may need to consult the dictionary a maximum number of 1 word per every 20 words. This is a maximum number of times though, but it’s likely going to be less. How much less depends on several things, like how much offline study you do, how conservative you are in words as Known, etc.

As an example, I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone as a paper book. I had 7.9% in this statistic (i.e. about 1 in 12) and the book was fine to read without a dictionary. Of course, there were lots of words I didn’t know, but as I’ve read the book before in English, it was no problem as extensive reading. I am also somewhat conservative in marking a word as Known.

Just experiment with it to find a percentage range, which works for you, then try out the book. If you are reading the book with the possibility of a dictionary or on LingQ, you can obviously go for a much higher percentage. It also depends how you are studying. Are you pre-studying intensively, perhaps listening first, so it really depends on what you are doing too.

Personally, I would only do use the above manual calcuation to judge if a paper book is appropriate for you. If I’m studying on LingQ, it’s much easier to use the LingQ % New Words metric (which is a percentage of total unique words). You can see it in the Library on the browser or on Android, it’s in the course view. It’s not as good as the above metric, but it’s already calculated, so faster to work out.

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LingQ encourages you to click on each new blue word and then offers you a statistic that’s useless because loads of difficult words are now yellow and your % is close to zero.
LIngQ is great but an unknown word statistic would help (when choosing lessons and when sorting them) as well as an always-visible stat for words read to day (and maybe all-time).