How long did it take to reach 30k known words on LingQ?

Re stopping to understand, I’m no expert in learning languages, but I’ve noticed there is often a great payoff in stopping if 1. I really want to understand (not just part of a learning routine) 2. it’s not very hard to understand.

So for example, there is a Spanish word “ingenuo” with definition of “ingenuous; simple-minded” and it seemed like the different meanings were fully opposite–actually antonyms. That bothered my brain, creating a real want to understand that word in particular. I did a small amount of research and then understood that I was confusing “ingenuous” with “ingenious” in the English definition. It gave me a nice “A-ha!” moment, and those learning moments tend to stick.

Besides learning one word, it also confirmed this general idea I have about words–that when a single word has multiple meanings, it’s very rare for those meanings to be exactly opposite of each other. And that small confirmation had its own value.

Anyhow, my overall point is that if you are lucky enough to feel curiosity, it’s probably worth stopping for a detour.


I am offering a data point on my experience. Others may find it useful or interesting as I might find theirs interesting.

I am not looiking for advice. You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying and instead offer me lectures which I don’t find useful orinteresting.


I think sometimes the conversation you start just keeps going. Other people get different things out of it.

And people love giving advice. Me too. Feel free to ignore. :slight_smile:


Others may have the same experience and want the advice or observations. If it’s not useful to you, simply ignore it.

I see merits to both sides of the argument. Perhaps the other poster didn’t quite hit the mark in the response to you but it could be a useful observation to others.

It’s certainly something that’s hard to judge or measure…will being more deliberate actually be the shortcut, or in the end does it just slow down the process. Who honestly knows.

I’ve taken a more deliberate approach myself. I do like to analyze the sentence a bit deeper. And while I’ve streamlined this quite a bit and move pretty quickly, I do sometimes wonder if that effort is a bit wasted to a degree especially when I see others seemingly move much quicker.

However, the stats asked for in the original question I really don’t find useful for comparison. If I’m taking 7+ years vs. someone’s 3 years, doesn’t it matter that I’m spending 15-30 min a day vs their 2-3 hrs a day? I think so. The actual time spent may be a lot closer than the yearly stat shows.


I think this could only be realistically achieved if the differences are closer to, in terms of difficulty, being closer to a dialect than a language. In terms of what you need to learn. E.g. Any of the Scandinavian 3, Dutch-Afrikaans, etc. Especially if you’ve already learned several languages within one language family. The vocabulary ends up being 90% the same at the end, and the differences are mostly in spelling and pronunciation. As well as a few distinct words which lower comprehension heavily. For me in Danish that was “only” and “maybe” I never learned Danish as a separate language, just a few words as I went along and now that I live here right on the border with several Danish professors and service staff I realize that I understand everything they tell me even when they don’t really speak Swedish at all. Like sure, if the grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation is significantly related, and if you already have a strong basis in that family. You mainly need to learn the differences rather than a full language from the start.


Hi. Have over 100k words in Russian. 30k took a few months (way less than a year). It’s worth saying before LingQ I already had a solid understanding of the grammar (if not semantics) for the most part. My only weak areas grammatically were participles and set constructions that you don’t really find in books (unfortunately). Actually, even some things on the ТРКИ-III (C1) practice exam are not in the Comprehensive Modern Russian booklet, but I do recommend any learners to pick it up.

Don’t recommend going into LingQ if you’re still stuck on what родительный падеж is. However, you don’t need to be some high level to use it either, it’s just basically a matter of pain tolerance. I have a low grammatical understanding of Japanese, so my tolerance for mental strain when reading it only gets me through 1 lesson per session. In Russian, I commonly got 1k words a day by reading every news article I could find. That sort of hunger advances you fast.

I distinctly remember reading messages like my own in the past and daydreaming about what it must’ve been like so I will also say up front before LingQ I could barely read a children’s newspaper in Russian. Very short, one-paragraph articles were only barely legibile with a translator and a grammar book. Now I must admit I struggle to import articles to LingQ because I’ll get 2 new words at best and 1 of them will be a proper name.

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I can’t imagine learning that many words in such a short time, even in say Spanish, which is close to French, my primary second language. It makes me wonder if you have already significant language learning experience. It is known that parts of the brain can change significantly in response to mental activities. Thus London black taxi drivers have an enlarged hypocampus due to the need to memorise most of the road network in London. This then raises the question of whether or not super-learners can use different learning methods. I imagine if you can learn words more rapidly, you can then start to recognise patterns more rapidly, and thus figure out the grammar quicker than other people.

There is an American who has a phenomenal ability to learn languages which I think is in part due to word learning superpowers.

I consider myself to be slow at learning languages. But progress is improving, perhaps due to brain changes over time.

A minor side point, but I don’t think English and German have a 80-90% lexical similarity. My struggle with German is remembering the damned words because they are so different.

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I would think time used is significant part of this. I learned around 8000 words of Spanish per month wth the help of high English level and I still could have doubled the time used. I suppose big part is just how much easier it gets when languages get more closely related. At the same time, neuroplasticity is a known phenomenon. Probably big part is also that you get hang up trying to memoriza or find out what something means exactly rather than just pushing forward and taking in more input to fill in the gaps.

Yes, English is the odd one out. Also Icelandic is a little bit, but lexically a lot more closely related than one might think. But even more surprising is how lexically similar the other germanic languages are to each other, even the ones that generally would not be considered very closely related.


How did the Guitar helped your journey?

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Different people have different definitions of “known word”.

For example, if you let LingQ mark all words known when you leave a page/lesson and you read extensively rather than intensively, of course your known word count will be very high.

Best to just focus on what you’re doing and avoid the temptation to compare. As they say, comparison is the thief of joy.


On my end, it’s 11221 know words after one year and half.
Something note worthy is speed is increasing.
I have learned 5208 during the last six month. It looks like the more you know the easiest it is to progress. Or during the first period you learn root words. Once you have a good basis of root words and know how words are built it’s easy to deduce meaning of words you encounter for first time built on a known root.


Deleted the earlier post because it looked like it got posted in the wrong place.

As to it being super-impressive that I got to 44K known words in Norwegian in a month, it’s not really that impressive when you consider how I am a native Icelandic speaker and was already fluent in both Danish and Swedish, which are very similar to Norwegian. Written Danish and the written Bokmål verion of Norwegian are very, very similar. I also spent a lot of time on it. I understood almost every word the first time I saw it basically, probably over 99% of them.

Having said that, I both do have a lot of experience in learning languages as well as talent (yes there is such a thing in language learning just like with any sort of skill). I was fluent in IS, EN, DK, SE, DE when starting LingQ and I could read simple books in French. I have consistently gotten comments about how fast I learned or how well I learned languages when I lived in the countries where they were spoken and noticed how it takes others more time and how they tend to make more mistakes than I do. But then there exist people like Richard Simcott, to make sure people like me don’t get too high on themselves.


That’s exactly it. Knew Swedish and Danish when starting Norwegian (knowing Icelandic helped a bit too). Knew German when starting Dutch (knowing Nordic languages and English helped quite a bit there too).