Hardcore challenge - 9100 lingQs goal? Whats your thoughts?

Whats everyones thoughts on the 9100 LingQ’s goal for the 3month hardcore language challenge? I am not sure if its helpful to focus so much on coming across new LingQ’s or to focus on learning my existing “LingQ’s” and consolidating known words to a higher level. what does everyone else do?

I have over 10000 Lingqs over the past 3 months. This was no effort. I focus on the number of known words per month. However, I do not SRS, I just read.


Hi, tjbandel!

I´m not using LingQ v5.0 for language learning at the moment, instead I´m testing ReadLang for Spanish / Brazilian Portuguese (apart from other resources for Japanese).

However, completely independent of the underlying audio reader, SRS, etc. software, I prefer a time-boxing approach (“Pomodoro”) to test an “ultrareading while listening approach” since November 2021.
That is: 1-2 Pomodoro blocks of 25 min a day.

The main advantage of timeboxing compared to other metrics-based approaches is (at least in my experience) that I´m less obsessed with numbers because I´m simply focused on strengthening my language learning habits in a given amount of time every day.

And if I focus simply on my daily Pomodoros, other numbers such as “words read”, “the number of listening hours”, etc. will follow.

Here are some stats for Brazilian Portuguese (at an intermediate level), for example: Entrar - LingQ

Have a nice Sunday


It’s not bad on focusing on how much time we are able to focus on studying a language. However, looking at other metrics as well give you a guidance on what you are doing. For example, you can decide to switch the same focus you are giving, to known words or to boost your grammar and so on.

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Where did you get that number? Maybe it changes on different languages but I don’t have that number so high as goal for LingQs. It’s around 1200. Maybe it’s dynamic and it changes if you are at the beginning or not. I never paid attention.

However, in the last 3 months I’ve done as @Jan over 10k lingqs.

In any case, I focus on Known Words the most and on Learned LingQs. Those are the 2 metrics I watch the most at the moment. The most difficult for me are the 45hrs of listening.

Hi, Davide!

Sure. It may also be helpful to consider other metrics such as the “number of words read”, the “number of listening hours”, etc. - at least from time to time.

However, if a language learner simply couples timeboxing with an “ultrareading while listening” approach a lot of those other metrics will skyrocket. Therefore, there´s no longer the need to obsessively check them (which can be the curse of a goal-setting approach).

To be more precise, if the OP is able to practice 2 x 25 min Pomodoro blocks of ultra-reading (while listening) every day for 3 months, he will have read almost 1 million words by the time the “Hard Core” challenge is over. And then he won’t have to worry about reaching 9100 LingQs… depending on the language / language level, he will probably exceed that limit weeks before.

But this combo works best at an intermediate level. For target languages that are not too distant from one’s L1 or known L2, it could also work at a beginner level.
However, "ultra"reading doesn’t work for distant target languages (in my case: Japanese) because one needs to be quite familiar with the writing system(s).

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You should define for me ultrareading because I’m not sure what it is. If you mean reading+listening=ultrareading.

The problem is that the speed of reading can be different and I find that I prefer to focus on different type of readings plus doing some listening just for that purpose.

But I suppose that when you reach more vocabulary you can do both. And it depends also on how much my mind can cope with focus and concentration. And unfortunately I struggle with that.

Anyway, the LingQs metric on an hard-core challenge will became less necessary once you reach a certain level of the language. Because to me it won’t be important to create many more LingQs rather than converting the existing LingQs in Known Words. So the focus will switch from blue words to yellow words. Imho.

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I’m confused where does this number come from? Please help me understand. Here are some challenges and what it says on the right hand side (for me):
Chinese: Hard Core 90-Day Chinese Challenge
3185 known words and 1183 LingQs
Hard Core 90-Day Cantonese Challenge
2730 known words and 1183 LingQs
(I joined this challenge)
Hard Core 90-Day French Challenge
4095 known words and 1183 LingQs

So for me the required number of LingQs seem constant, despite me being on different levels in these languages. But maybe I’m looking at the wrong thing. Also, 9.100 LingQs seem excessive especially if you’re dealing with a more familiar language. In fact, I don’t think I could come up with 9k new words in French in this time frame, unless I start reading dictionaries…

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Yes, it’s 1183 for me as well. It’s probably a wrong number.

"Ultra"reading refers to LingQ discussions in 2021 that Stewart, Toby, me and others had about reading 10k words a day.

In November 2021, I replaced the daily goal of “reading 10k words a day” with the more manageable goal of “reading (while listening) for 1-2 25-min Pomodoro block(s) a day”.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. Depending on the learner’s language level, the difficulty and unfamiliarity of the subject, and the speed of the audio, “reading 10k words a day” varies too much in time, That is, it may take from less than 60 min to several hours every day to achieve this goal.

Therefore, the degree of variation is lower when learners focus on time rather than the number of words read.
If learners don’t do that, they’re more likely to give up after a few days because reading may take way too long.

  1. Short Pomodoro blocks improve focused attention.

  2. Focused attention is also improved by reading while lixtening because distractions are reduced.

  3. Another poiint is that you can increase the reading speed by increasing the audio speed (let´s say from 0.9x / 1x to 1.1x - 1.5x) on YT or Audible. In short, audio takes the lead when it comes to speed.

If a learner is familiar with the writing system(s) of the target language and on an IM level, he / she can improve the reading and listening comprehension extremely fast.

This language learning approach based on content-flexible audio reader software is even more effective when combined with some active strategies, such as making oral/written summaries of the text sections read.

It can also be combined with

  • SRSing (especially flashcards generated by LingQ from the read text)
  • just listening to the audio afterwards,
  • a “grammar light” approach

I’ve been following along here :slight_smile: . Thanks for clarifying Peter.
You lost me at point 4 though.

  1. Another poiint is that you can increase the reading speed by increasing the audio speed (let´s say from 0.9x / 1x to 1.1x - 1.5x) on YT or Audible. In short, audio takes the lead when it comes to speed.

You changed from specific targeted/numbered goals to pomodoro/time based reading+listening focused goals.

  1. because your reading goal will vary depending on your level.
  2. because it increases focus
  3. because listening and reading at the same time helps as it increases focus.

but .4 ? Is this related to the system you are talking about, or is it independent of this? What do you mean with “Audio takes the lead”?

I’m interested because for french I’m mainly focussing on listening atm since my reading ability has moved far beyond my listening skill. I realize now that I should have spent far more time on listening along the way…

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@azarya: I beliebe he’s just saying you can control the speed referred to what I said before. And you just let the audio guiding you until you and audio click together.

@Peter: thanks for explaining that ultrareading.

I like the idea on focusing on time and how much effective we can be using that time. I know you advocate for the Pomodoro technique, that we talked about already but that would be another argument.

Although, I could have 2 problems with that shift on listening (as it’s not actually my primary skill).

Speed: I don’t like to change the speed. I prefer, for now, stay inside the LingQ app and unfortunately it doesn’t have 10% change of speed. I might prefer 0.8x, 0,7x and so on. But I don’t like the change of the sound of the voice and I find it distracting. So I prefer, eventually, choose for different level of audio around the web or here on LingQ. Or get used to the normal level step by step.
So for me, the benefit of changing speed doesn’t apply when I don’t know the language. But it’s helpful if I know the language because I can increase the speed if the speaker is too slow.

Improvement: maybe you found that this method helps you improving more compared to what you were doing before.
However, I prefer to shift my training on % blue words (when I want to increase my LingQs or known words), on % yellow words (when I want to increase Learned LingQs) or white words (when I want to focus more on grammar, sentence structure, declensions, etc.).
I can’t do that if I always do reading and listening.

I believe that’s way more effective when you reach a considerable amount of vocabulary and “structural” knowledge, then increase the focusing on the listening.

But I might be wrong. In any case, listening takes a lot more energy for me than reading. And I have a hard time to keep the focus even when the summary at the end. It’s easier to shift from different reading lessons and keep myself engaged. But listening it’s just too hard in general. It’s always been.

Anyway, I keep this in mind and I might be willing to “time training” on this.

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Hi, azarya!

Yes, point 4 was a little bit confusing. Sorry!
What I meant is this:
You can read faster when you increase the speed of the audio.
For example as follows:
Choose a speed of

  • 1.25x / 1.5x instead of 1x for Youtube videos
  • 1.1x - 1.5x for audiobooks on Audible

And if you can read faster in a Pomodoro block (25 min each), you can read more in that time frame.

In short, “ultra”-reading = reading “faster” = reading “more” (in a Pomodoro block) :slight_smile:

It takes a while to get used to “the audio speed taking the lead (when reading)”, but after a few hours this practice works quite well.

Reg. French:
“I realize now that I should have spent far more time on listening along the way”
Yes, languages like French or (in my case) Portuguese can be tricky because (unlike German or Spanish, for example) there is quite a gap between the written and the oral dimensions.

So, “reading while listening” can help a lot to reduce this gap, esp. at the beginner and intermediate levels!

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“In fact, I don’t think I could come up with 9k new words in French in this time frame” (bamboozled)
With the “ultrareading while listening” approach I mentioned below, this isn´t a problem for a not too distant target language and at an intermediate language level because a learner reads (and listens to) almost one million words in the period of 3 months.

But, of course, it depends on

  • the distance of the target language
  • the familiarity with the writing system
  • the difficulty of the selected texts / subjects
  • the language level
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@Peter: that’s why you improve your French speaking by writing it. Because when you speak your brain recalls the writing. It’s a lot quicker than by listening or reading.

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“But listening it’s just too hard in general. It’s always been.” (Davide)
The “ultra-reading while listening” approach I described can be very energy-sapping, esp. for learners who aren´t used to this intense practice of “focused attention”.

On the other hand, this approach facilitates listening through the use of technology and concurrent reading. In particular, “re-listening” without tool support and without simultaneous reading afterwards should be much easier!

But it´s true: it takes some time to get used to.

Apart from that, perhaps tastes simply differ :slight_smile:

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“that’s why you improve your French speaking by writing it.”
In general, I agree. That is: Good (readers and) writers are often better speakers.

But languages such as French (or Portuguese) can be quite tricky because what you hear / say (let´s say: “schepa”) and what you read / write (in this case: “je ne sais pas”) can be very different.

In Spanish or German, this is less of a problem - unless dialects come into play :slight_smile:

I think you are looking at the 3 month normal goals vs the 3 month goals as part of the “hardcore challenge”

Its the goals on the hardcore 3 month challenge as compared to the regular 3 month goals. I have no problems learning the 3640 lingq’s goal on this challenge, but adding 9100 unknown new seems excessive