How long did it take you to get to 30k?

Hi guys!
I was wondering how long it took you to get to 30k? I know it depends on many factors. So I’ll ask several additional questions. Were you already familiar with the language to a certain degree or were you a complete beginner? How much time (on average) did you dedicate to your studies?
Since I started using LingQ less than a month ago I’m curious to know how long this process can actually take based on the other user’s experience. Thank you!

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I usually set a number of words per day that i need to acquire and i am trying not to miss that goal. For example in russian which i began 5-6 monhts ago i setted a goal of 150 words per day and i am still going on. I will be hitting 35k in late october so it took me with some on and off 10 months to a language that is tottaly foreign and strange for me. Now with french i think it was 3-4 months to reach 28k while i was studying simultaniously spanish and still reached the same amount of words. With portuguese i reached the 20k mark faster than ever as well as i do now with polish in which i will hit 36k words in 6 months!!Depends on the language , the daily goals you set and lastly on the awareness and of course experience and talent!!!


Thank you for the answer! Did you use any other sources like grammar books or textbooks while studying Russian or did you study it only with LingQ?

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Well, 30k in what sort of language? If you’re from Moldova you’re undoubtedly familiar with how many “words” can be formed by conjugation and declination of a single known root, as in Moldovan, Romanian, Ukrainian, and Russian. 50K+ in Russian, though an accomplishment, really is not nearly as impressive as it might seem to someone not familiar with highly inflected languages.

Anyway, I started on Lingq with a basic vocabulary and familiarity with the grammar from high school and university many years ago. After a year or two of not too intensive activity here on Lingq I imported and read a couple of full-length novels, and that’s when my word count really started to grow.


After assimil only lingq… It was truly a challenge and i am not quite sure that everybody would want to go through that period. (basically for a couple of months it was hell!!!)

Thank you! I meant the word number at LingQ which counts every single form as a different word. (In Japanese sometimes it may divide the same word in many different ways, so the counter doesn’t necessarily show the real “known words” number)

Do you mean that learning a new language from scratch at LingQ was a challenge at first and then this process became easier? But how?

In the very start it was difficult!!

Hi! First, I think it’s very cool to meet someone from Moldova. I know about the country, but never actually conversed with someone from there!

Languagewise,like you and others have pointed out, there are many factors. I think it especially depends on the language AND how much time you are actually putting in. One the one hand, people study their language for “years” at schools, but their learning isn’t particularly concentrated. In contrast, JuanSpada puts in many hours per day, and thus makes progress in a seemingly short period of time. I believe hours are a more better metric so that’s what I use, particularly when comparing it to how many hours it “should” take to reach a certain level.

In my own case, I had started Spanish in high school (200-400 hours) and a single course I slept through in college. So I was already familiar with Spanish, but far from fluent. I then put in about another 500 hours of independent study over the years. About half of that time was reading, mostly at LingQ, the other half was watching shows on NetFlix while reading the Spanish subtitles. I also listened to stories from LingQ, mostly steve’s books. I couldn’t read during much of this time because LingQ stopped working for me.

Overall, I have invested between 1,000 and 1,200 hours in total Spanish learning, including school. That includes 600 hours of listening. I am reading a novel and just hit 33,000 words. I’m going to put in another 135 hours, during which time I want to finish my novel, so however many known words I have achieved after 8 more chapters is what I’ll finish with. If I finish the show, I’ll have 700 hours of listening. I might also try another 6,000 words of writing. We’ll see.


Hi! Happy to hear that and thank you for the answer! Indeed, the more time you spend each day the faster you progress. I personally admire people who keep working on their languages for months on everyday basis. By the way, what exactly do you mean by saying “I couldn’t read during much of this time because LingQ stopped working for me”?

Just like you said i think in a previous post that intensity and high frequency produces greater results in comparison with studying on and off through the years!!!


I should have been more clear on that. I have referenced this a number of times over the years and I was lazy and not as descriptive this time. By “LingQ stopped working,” I mean that LingQ stopped supporting its apps on older iPads. The app would load, but it would crash, and then eventually not load at all. You couldn’t even use the older version of the app on the older iPad anymore. That was a problem in that I use LingQ to read anymore, except on my computer and that was very frustrating—especially since I was using the iPad exclusively for this purpose. Oh well, I finally bought a new one earlier this year and everything works great. I felt I needed it to truly “finish” my Spanish and then move on to either French and/or Russian.

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Oh I see, thank you for explaining!

your daily target is to reach 150 known words a day? you must spend at least 2-3 hours a day reading?!

Hi, I have a question for you! When you are reading at Lingq, do you mark proper nouns, names of places, or other words that aren’t necessarily exclusively Spanish vocabulary (like acronyms and such) as ‘known’? Or do you take the time to mark them as ‘ignore word’ so as not inflate your known word count? Thanks!

I ignore most of them. However, if I see a proper noun or name that has a specific Spanish meaning, I’ll create a lingq and then mark as known when I know it. For example, Londres, Genova, Francia all are proper nouns with specific Spanish translations. I linq and then mark as known when I know them (whatever your criteria is for that). Same things with acronyms like ONU or the UN/United Nations. I might create a link for a name like Pita, which is short for Lupita or Lupe, which is short for Guadalupe. The name Pote means jar/pot, but is also short for Potemkin, so I might lingq something like that. However, if I import a news article and the name Donald Trump comes up as blue, I ignore it and exclude it from my known word count.

i ignore them all . I also sometimes ignore city names and villages!

Actually, that jogs another interesting thought. For the places that have Spanish specific names, ie not merely names with a Spanish translation, I will make a lingq for those too. For example, if I keep seeing all these places in southern Spain in novel La Reina del Sur, I might make a note of them or otherwise linq/tag them so I learn a little about the place. Typically I’ll also do this within LingQ only when I feel like it and only if there is some description of the place or thing already in the online dictionaries. Otherwise I don’t bother. Also, I typically don’t move the word to “known” to keep it out of the count.

I got this idea from a older video of Steve’s a number of years ago when he talked about getting back into literary Chinese and tagging and/or lingqing names of things of historical significance so he can learn better about those people and places.

Sounds good … Cant wait to bounce back to spanish!!!

Ok, I did the math, it takes roughly 227 hours spent READING on LingQ to reach 30K known words. So, if you do 1hr a day, it will take you 8.1 months to do this. Again, this is for reading, it does not take into account repetition, re-reading, and other study activities.

Here is the math – with multiple caveats for different languages etc etc etc. This is a ballpark figure:

Reading 1 million words, divided by 2200 (the average full length of LingQ lesson) times 30 minutes, the average time you will spend reading each lesson (lot slower at the beginning, lot faster as you get good, 30 minutes is the best logical average I can come up with over a 1 million word reading span.) It adds up to 227 hours.