How many words a day?

I know this is a tired, old question, LingQers. But it’s just something I wanted to check on.

In Steve’s summary of his Korean 90-day challenge, he ends on some 10,000 plus known words added. This is an awful lot of words in my mind.

Now, my criteria for a known word is simple: when I read it/heard it, did. I understand it?

However, despite this simple criteria, I do not find myself marking that many known words.

The fact I’m still getting to grips with the Chinese characters/kanji is certainly a factor, but my progress does seem awfully slow in comparison.

What do you guys do? And how is your progress with regards to known words?

I’ve noticed there is a direct correlation with the amount of LibgQs I create vs the amount of known words I start collecting, but again, Steve’s (and I assume others) progress is like a rocket ship!

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Could the difference have a lot to do with the differences in the languages? I found that it took my more time and effort to get to 100 known words in Chinese than it took me to get to 1000 words in Russian.

That’s true. And I’m assuming one’s familiarity with other similar languages plays a role also.

In general, what’s it like for you? What’s your criteria for a known word, and are you reviewing words or picking them up as you go?

This question never gets boring.

I have quite a loose definition of ‘known’. Basically I mark words as known when I feel like it and I often put them back to unknown simply because I feel like it. However, I do try a bit to follow some basic rules. Firstly, I mark a work as known when I first see it (i.e. when it’s blue) if I understand it in the context that I see it and think I will understand it in other contexts. When I see a yellow word that fulfills these criteria, I will also mark it as known.

Sometimes I will mark a word as known even if I needed to look at the hint to understand it if I think I will understand it most times anyway. Sometimes I see words that I really know, but just due to a momentary lack of concentration, I don’t understand them.

If I read a word that is known and I really don’t know what it means, I will usually then mark it as yellow.

I don’t know what people who rely exclusively on lingq to learn a language do. But I only use lingq to supplement my learning. I read a lesson, and create lingqs to the words that I have to look up. After reading it, I click “I know all remaining blue words”. That’s it. I never go back and fuss with the yellow words; that’s just a waste of time imo. But I still make pretty good progress, because as I said, I do other things than lingq.

I’m not sure there are people who solely use LingQ, are there?

Either way, I do as you do. My question was regarding the rate at which I seemed to be acquiring new words.

I’m happy with my progress, but some people here seem to pick up vocabulary very, very fast! It’s really impressive.

I usually manage around 40 - 50 words a day at my casual pace. When I tried harder I was able to get 80+.With the criteria of understanding them as the minimum rather than know the word inside and out, I think 100 is quite possible If I dedicated more time to reading.

Edit: Ah so you’re studying Japanese. That makes it a little different. I am “taking a break” from Japanese but I have to say the pace was maybe half the speed with Japanese. 1. Because there are far fewer words in Japanese related to English than there are with Romance Germanic and even Slavic languages to a lesser extent. and 2. The Kanji Barrier. I don’t know 2000 or 3000 kanji yet so this clearly inhibits my ability to read. I do anyway and try and memorize the word by appearance with moderate success.

I think some people use LingQ as their main language learning tool, but I doubt anyone uses it exclusively.

I also do as Wulfgar does. After reading a text, I am done with it (unless it has audio and then I listen to it a few times). I would not say it’s a waste of time to spend more time using the flashcards or playing with the yellow words or rereading stuff, but I don’t want to do it. I would rather spend the time reading another text.

Someone mentioned learning a language exclusively with LingQ and one could say that’s exactly what I do nowadays but that’s because my knowledge of German grammar and listening comprehension allow me to focus on consuming media. That’s why I spend most of my language learning effort on reading (with or without listening) and I use LingQ for this very purpose because it tracks my progress and I like reading from screens.

I mark a word as known when I stumble across it and can easily guess the accurate meaning in that particular context (like user ColinJohnstone) with a fairly good prediction of future success when I see it again. Yellow words (lingqs) focus my attention and make me stop for a moment of reflection (learned quite a few “trouble” words this way) and that’s why I sometimes create a lingq instead of marking a word as known even though I know the correct meaning in that context.

I can “easily” (if I put in the time) add over a 1000 known words because I’m a new user (yet an experienced student of German) and it’s gonna take hours of reading time before I happen to see a known word in all possible manners (knowing a verb in English gives you about 4 known words: go, goes, went, gone; in German there are probably about 10 or 15) and that’s why a 2000 word text adds about 200 known words and 20-50 lingqs to my stats.

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Yeah! Japanese is my first L2, if you like. And I’ve been studying the kanji alongside my LingQ studies.

An inability to read all the characters certainly limits our ability to use content and acquire vocabulary, so hopefully I’ll see big improvements when I have an understanding of the 2,000 or so required kanji.

I tend to agree with algiegray here. I save words that I don’t know, or would like to focus on again. Same for phrases. That way when I come across them in other texts, I will be reminded that I have seen them before and that helps me to remember them. I don’t really worry about converting these to know, although I do so on a haphazard basis, sometimes while flash carding, sometimes while checking the LingQ while reading. Most of my known words are words that I never looked up. I consider a word known for LingQ purposes if I don’t need to look it up in a given context. I often skip words, don’t look them up, convert them to known and then have to save them again. Not a big deal. To me the big thing is to read a lot and create a lot of LingQs.

The yellow LingQs are key, not because we read the text again, but because we come across them in future texts.

I essentially rely on LingQ, plus a small grammar book for reference, and then when I am strong enough in the language, I read and listen away from LingQ most of the time. I do find reading in LingQ a bit of a crutch and even if there are only a few unknown words in a text I find on the internet, I will usually import it into LingQ. When I read a book, I just ignore the unknown words.

Such a good post benjimino! Like you, I regard known words as words that I understand easily and that come to mind when I want them. I’ve come back to learning Russian after about 30 years and I find that my old words are coming back, but that it is much harder for me to learn new ones. The exercises are helpful and I have, with great difficulty, learnt the Russian keyboard - so I can do dictation. I think that dictation is particularly helpful because it’s an active, rather than a passive, exercise.