Getting from 10k to 30k

Who has ideas how to get from 10k to 30k known words the fastest…? Many articles offer me no new words or just half a dozen new words and if i am only able to see about 50 new words in half an hour this will take me the rest of my life. PS: I love LINGQ. It’s the best thing I have ever found for learning languages.


Think of it this way: to mark 30K known words on LingQ, you have to come across those 30K words in written form (how would you mark them otherwise). And in order to be able to mark that many words you’d probably have to read at least a million words of text to come across 30K often enough to mark them known. The only medium that contains that many unique words in written form is literature / fiction writing.

So, the fastest way to accumulate known words is to read books – preferably literature or popular fiction in genres that interest you, preferably while listening along to the audio book version. There really is NO faster way of acquiring a large vocab.

Even if you have daily conversations with someone, which would of course give you great speaking practice, your word count could remain stagnant because we don’t actually use that many unique words in daily conversations. Watching TV and listening to podcasts etc. is also great practice at this level to build up listening comprehension, but word acquisition is comparatively slower with those mediums.

I have crossed the 30k word count with three languages now, and in all three cases it was at about the time I’ve read a million words or about 10 books in the given language – give or take.


I didn’t reach 30k known words yet, but I think you have to really read A LOOOOOOT

Try to read harder content. But it is not guaranteed that you’ll see more than “50 new words in half and hour”, maybe you will get stuck with a lot of words that you don’t know and the hints are poor at the same time.

When I’m not willing to do that, I read lessons that possess about 5% of new words and set the audio in 1.5x speed. Sometimes, I even see more new words than I do with harder content.

After all, what matter the most is if you are maintaining a regularity with the language and not much the numbers.


+1 for books. That’s basically all I read in foreign languages now. Even though importing is easier than ever now, I find looking for, importing and reading short articles day after day to not be worth the effort. Import a whole book and you’ve got a couple of weeks (at least) of reading to keep you going.


Great answer thank you.
Next question is whether LINGQ knows how we can actually increase the number of novels available on here to include reasonably recent bestsellers rather than Victor Hugo from a hundred years ago.
I once tried to import for example Stieg Larsson’s Männ som hatar kvinnor (which i have some kind of a document file of - don’t ask me where I got it). However it produced dozens of lessons with weird formatting and was not really usable.
A literature section for languages would be just great - like a library bookshelf idea - but I cant find much literature in here.

If anyone has Stieg Larsson’s trilogy in Swedish or Houellebecq in French and has any idea how to upload these please do! And if it had audio too that would be great.

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Reading books is probably the most efficient way. I have gained 20k new french words in the last 3 months by reading a bunch of books (about 750k words, 15 or so books). I am sure there are faster ways, but you run out of content much quicker if you read/listen to podcasts, wikipedia articles etc than long books. It is also much easier to read books than it is to read hundreds of smaller pieces in a short period of time.


I imported “Flickan som Lekte med Elden” without any problems. I bought the e-book at :slight_smile:

It’s a bit of a moving target, and requires some googling, but the best way to import books you like to LingQ is to buy the e-book and use a DRM removal tool so you can turn the book into plain text. Some sites offer legit e-books without DRM as well. (Remember: always pay for content, that way you don’t have to feel bad about using the text you paid for for your own educational purposes.)

For legal reasons, LingQ itself will only offer books on this site that are in the public domain or ones they have permission to use.

When you import a book it will become a “Course” in LingQ and it will be broken up into lessons of about 2000 words each – it’s just how it works. As far as the formatting, I’ve gotten the cleanest results with just using plain text copy and paste.


Use calibre to make into a .txt file, remove all random words in the beginning and end of the book such as the description of the edition etc and then use the + button in the upper right corner. If I have any issues importing the book in its entirety using the + and import book function I just copy and paste 1+ chapter at a time. Works wonders.

I personally have zero qualms about downloading books online for free (especially older books), but if you do you shouldnt have much issue finding epub or mobi versions for sale online.


Completely agree that moving to books ASAP is the best method. At only 6,000 words I’m doing it in Spanish, although it’s a bit difficult. I am reading Don Quixote in French (Don Quichotte) and with Lingq it’s been a breeze as well as efficient because it’s such a long story haha.

Agreed. I hit 30K sometime after a million words, but I was a much harder marker of myself before i would move a word to “known.” I’m pretty much sticking with that because I want to keep it consistent, but the progress is much slower. With the next language, I’ll lower my standards and do what Master Steve does.

In the meantime, +1 for books. I’m reading Reina del Sur right now in Spanish.

One thing I might like to add as I do plan on getting my Spanish known words to 30k or minimum 25k before moving onto another language is importing a large wiki document for example I have been reading about the “holocausto” in Spanish and it has about 20-23 lessons and its been a very interesting read!

Is it legal to remove the DRM off a book I have got? Do I need to contact lingq support or something before uploading any such text - I dont want to get the folks at lingq into a roast…

If I were to send you my other books in the series (no cost to you whatsoever) would you be interested in uploading them…? I can give you my email address first if you want it…just let me know.

The Larsson books are just wonderful and will raise language level enormously. I find books that are 100 years old of little interest.

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Yes I have discovered that if I read and only read it takes me hours to cover a handful of pages and I nod off. If I have the audio going, I am forced to follow at that speed and have discovered that I know already over 11k French words. I have just joined lingq and as the weeks progress I will get to the point where I have a better knowledge of my current level, as the longer one does this the more accurate it becomes.

Also, I don’t think we should be too obsessed with getting our known words up so quickly - that’s not the only way to progress and I think focusing too much on it can be counterproductive.

My known word count in Portuguese flatters me, to be honest (i.e. my level is not as good as my word count indicates). That’s probably because of my knowledge of other Romance languages and because I read a lot. So while known words can be a good way to approximate your level, and a tangible way to measure your progress, I don’t think known words are the be-all-and-end-all.

I am currently reading a series of eight books and I’m on the sixth book now and now there’s only 1% of unknown words in each chunk. I’ve noticed that there aren’t as many derivatives of words or different conjugations of verbs that I already know that I can easily mark as known anymore (because I’ve already met many of these before). But that doesn’t mean the material is too easy for me. There are still tons of lingQs in the reading that I don’t know and there’s a lot more absorbing of the language that I can do in this reading that will help me improve, even if my known word count doesn’t go up much.


Hi - I had a look for Flickan som Lekte med Elden on here but I cannot see it…is your copy just a private copy, or where do I find it on here…?

This is a problem for languages with conjugation, in my opinion if I know the word ‘parler’ then I know it in all it’s tenses and forms and should only count as one word but there are 6 variations in present tense and 12 tenses so for verbs at least the word count seems inaccurate to me

At 11k words in French there should still be lots of words to be had in whatever you read.

The obvious answer is read more.

@jungleboy Yes, good point. Another example is Steve’s Russian: he has an insane number of known words but he himself rates his level at B1/B2
In my view, number of known words is a wonderfully accurate predictor of low level. That is, if your word count is low it’s completely certain that your overall level will be poor. As the number of known words increase, however, they gradually lose their predictive power and it becomes likelier that they don’t reflect your actual level in the language.
As with all things in language learning, avoiding excessive fixation in a given piece of statistics and instead focusing on gradual exposure to the language is paramount