I’m a new user to LingQ, I’m really enjoying it, but I have a basic question about how best to use it.
In particular, I’m wondering how I should interpret the different levels of familiarity for words, ranging from 1 to Known. In particular, how should I think about the difference between passive knowledge and active recall?
If I recognize and understand a word easily, but suspect that it would never occur to me to produce it, does that mean it should not be classified as Known?
Or to be more precise:
Is the LingQ system itself built with a strong assumption about how these levels map to passive vs active recall?
Is there a rough consensus among users about the best way to use it, with respect to this point?
My apologies if this is an obvious point, or clearly explained somewhere. If that’s so, by all means just point me to the docs!
That’s up to you to figure out what works best for you. You don’t have to manually adjust the word level if you don’t want to.
Word status can change automatically too if you review words.
Everyday words and phrases (LingQs you created) are added to your Due for Review list. You can find this list in the Vocabulary section. LingQs are selected for review based on our SRS (Spaced Repetition System) schedule.
Status 1 - 1 day
Status 2 - 3 days
Status 3 - 1 week
Status 4 - 2 weeks, then one month, then three months.
Daily lists are generated from the list of terms due for review. You can set the number of terms that are sent each day up to 200. Of course, if you go to the Vocabulary section, you can review all your terms until there are none left for review.
When you review words, if you guess correctly the same word twice in a row, its status will increase automatically by +1.
“In particular, how should I think about the difference between passive knowledge and active recall?”
I honestly would not think about it very much.
“If I recognize and understand a word easily, but suspect that it would never occur to me to produce it, does that mean it should not be classified as Known?”
That’s up to you. There is no correct or incorrect answer here.
“- Is the LingQ system itself built with a strong assumption about how these levels map to passive vs active recall?”
I don’t think so. I think it was probably more build on the idea that people decide for themselves.
“- Is there a rough consensus among users about the best way to use it, with respect to this point?”
No. Everyone does it differently. Personally I use level 1 for unknown words, level 5 for known words, and level 3 for all phrases. Levels 2 and 4 are unused. I have saved almost 100,000 unknown words and set more than 20,000 to known. On a good day of reading, I can easily save a few hundred unknown words. I don’t feel it is worth my time messing around with how well I know a word beyond the simple binary unknown/known distinction for all of these words. Others do it differently.
As everyone has said, it’s really up to you to find something that works best for you.
I did very briefly start with the notion that I would leave level 5 specifically for when I felt I could use the word “actively”. I soon tossed that idea because a) I wouldn’t be moving very many into this category b) it’s very hard to judge…and it slows down the reading.
I also, for some time had some categorization for each level where I would try to assess how well I knew the word passively. I tossed this after some time too…I figured it frankly didn’t matter and just slowed down the reading process.
So now I really only use 3 levels. First, I will move a word to known if I know the word in the specific context I’m reading. I’m fairly liberal about it now. I will also just as quickly move it back if I don’t recognize the meaning. In this case, when I set it back I set it to 2. New words that I have to look up the meaning I just set to 1. This is fast and takes away the overanalyzing and deliberation that I’m prone to. It’s more important to keep on reading than spending time trying to decide what number you should specify.
Speed is probably the main reason I don’t mess around with different levels for unknown words beyond 1 and 5. The other reason is that I find making fine-grained decisions about how well I know each word adds significant extra stress and fatigue even though I don’t consider the choices so important. Decision fatigue is a real thing and important here
I’ve been using Lingq for less than a year but I’ve found that familiarity with the language affects how I use it.
I’m learning Italian, and as I already speak quite good French and Spanish, I’m finding the Italian relatively easy to pick up and have progressed to reading novels fairly quickly. So for Italian I only use the 1 - Unknown or 5 Known options. If I’m able to read it and understand I count it as known and just move on. I use the other levels more or less at random if I find myself repeatedly getting stuck on a word, I don’t put any great thought into it.
I’m also dabbling in Greek which is another kettle of fish as it’s completely different to the other languages I know. For this I take my time a bit more and each individual phrase requires a lot more focus. I take my time working my way up the scale, and often still find that words I previously had selected as Known have now left me completely so I need to downgrade them.
So I guess, in my opinion, it really depends on your starting point and your own personal preferences