Frequency lists

Has anyone studied with a frequency list, and if so, what where their successes with it (if any)?

Yes, I have imported frequency lists for German, Russian, French and Japanese to help me learn the most common words.

In retrospect I wish I hadn’t, because I now have no example sentences for these common words and can’t be bothered to edit all those lingQs to add them in. After all, you are going to meet the most common words sooner or later, in context, if you read enough.

I have Nicholas J. Brown’s Russian Learners’ Dictionary (actually it is mine, I bought it at what was then Dillon’s) which lists 10,000 words in frequency order with example phrases. I have never used it.

I also have the book Russian Learner’s Dictionary. At one point, I entered the first 1000 words into a flashcard program. (The first 600 words all have example sentences.) I spent a lot of time learning the flashcards. In retrospect, this was pretty pointless. As skyblueteapot says, these are common words - I meet them over and over anyway.

The book, however, has become a constant companion. I take it when I have to be away from the computer. Open to some random page, and start learning the words I don’t know. As a beginner, it was a waste of time, but now, I love these lists. Just not enough to enter them into flashcards.

That’s interesting. So there is hope I’ll recoup my investment yet!

Nicholas J. Brown’s learning materials seem to be very popular. I have both his frequency dictionary and his beginner’s Russian course.

I like the vocabulary page here on LingQ, as it seems to me if you put it in order of importance, you can create a custom frequency list, which will be more helpful than a dictionary compiled by someone else.

I am a big fan of Terry Pratchett, because his use of English is very similar to mine. I learn words more easily with example phrases from his books, than I would from any other source. That’s what I really like about the LingQ system, it picks up example phrases and new vocabulary from literature I’ve actually chosen to read.

I like TP’s books a lot, very funny, but I have only seen them in English. Are you using TP to learn English (I thought you were English native speaker) or do you have some translation in another language? BTW, how is you Harry Potter word frequency project coming along?

@ John1957: I have most of them in Russian and German.

The frequency project has been neglected through poor health over the winter, but I’ve just discovered something interesting here:

If a headword is any word that can be found in a dictionary, it shouldn’t be impossible to do a headword count for any book or piece of text and then estimate level from that. I think I will have to consult Ilya on this.

I think the British National Corpus frequency list of English words has a list like this they call a “lemmatised” word frequency list. I once tried to do this (lemmatize) all the words in a Spanish grammar book I studied using a shareware simple concordance software (you can find it at ). It was kind of fun to do it once but it took a huge amount of time and all I found out was that (surprise, surprise!) there weren’t very many words introduced in the grammar book. (Actually out of about 23,000 total words or “tokens” as they were referred to in the concordance software, there were only about 3000 different words or “types”. When I condensed them into a “headword” list I found out that there were only about 1200 actual headwords in the whole book! It was interesting but not really useful as far as making my Spanish any better! But, it confirmed what I thought about grammar books (at least the one I studied) which that they use only a small number of headwords just to put in the example sentences for the grammar points. You could do the same thing using the concordance software and a Harry Potter book but it might take a lot of time!

Just want to say “thanks” for the idea of importing freq.lists :slight_smile:

Love that concordance program! I shall have a play with that :wink:

French frequency lists:

Liste des mots classée par fréquence décroissante - Liste de fréquence lexicale | éduscol | Ministère de l'Éducation nationale et de la Jeunesse - Direction générale de l'enseignement scolaire
Liste des mots classée par ordre alphabétique - Liste de fréquence lexicale | éduscol | Ministère de l'Éducation nationale et de la Jeunesse - Direction générale de l'enseignement scolaire
Liste des mots classée par nature et par fréquence décroissante - Liste de fréquence lexicale | éduscol | Ministère de l'Éducation nationale et de la Jeunesse - Direction générale de l'enseignement scolaire

Sorry, I don’t get it. What is the point of importing these lists into the LingQ system?

These lists, as you probably know, teach the most important words first and the least last. That way, you get a greeter understanding of the text quickly because you know the high frequency words. An advantage of putting them in the PingQ system I suppose is that you not only have Flashcards made up but also have these words added to your known words/ vocab statistics.

I think it would be hard to learn the words from a list, and as lastsafari pointed out, the most common ones will appear pretty frequently in your reading anyway.

However, if you import the list, it can be interesting to see how many of these frequent words are still blue words. It is also a good way to eliminate a lot of blue words that you know but that the system does not know that you know. I also find that there are always simple words that I am missing.

Note that our importance indicators ****, ***, **, * are based on the frequency of these words in our libraries.

I like the idea of frequency lists as a way to measure your progress in vocabulary learning. But I’ve certainly found that for me its no use learning words from frequency lists. I just can’t remember them. Using LingQ I’m learning lots of new Russian words by studying texts and listening. Learning the words in context is so helpful in remembering them. However most the new words don;t come up again very often. This is not surprising as my selection of texts is fairly random. Its what I like about LingQ in that I choose what seems interesting and cover different subjects. Still all these new words are ones that I need to learn to speak well. And in this respect it doesn’t matter if they are in the high frequency list or not. I know that I just have to keep going and eventually I will meet the words again and this will help me to learn them .
But what would be interesting for me is if I could get a count against say Brown’s Russian Learner’s Dictionary of what I’ve learnt of those 10 000 words. Or against the Russian ТРКИ-1 (First Certificate level) which lists about 2300 words you need to learn, going up to ТРКИ-3 which has 12 000 words. If LingQ could import these lists and give me a running %learned count based on my vocabulary list against the word frequency lists it would be very helpful.
It would put my vocab learning in some kind of perspective and motivating to see my % going up. Also if individual texts could show a check comparison against frequency lists, this could help you in choosing your lessons for study. I find the existing grading system and % known word count is not very satisfactory, largely due to the fact that a lot of words come up in blue that I do know , but LingQ doesn’t know that yet because they didn’t come up before .
But I don’t know if any of these lists are available electronically and it would be a lot of work otherwise to do it. Although maybe this job could be shared out. I’d certainly contribute to a Russian list. Would it be possible for LingQ to consider doing something like this?

How about this? Top 32,000 words in Russian, sorted by frequency.

I don’t know what words the ТРКИ expects you to know, but if they aren’t largely the same as the ones in this frequency list, then something’s going strange somewhere.

Where can I find the 32,000 word dictionary, skyblueteapot?

Sorry. Bit tired yesterday evening! Here: The frequency dictionary for Russian