How to decide the level of a new lesson

I look forward to discussing this issue here in order to develop some guide lines.

In my view the difficulty level is a function of vocabulary and length and speed of narration.

A) Rough length indicators: in minutes

Beginner I: 1
Beginner II: 3
Intermediate I: 5
Intermediate II: 10
Advanced: no limit

B) Vocabulary:

Beginner: Content produced for learners with limited vocabulary
Intermediate: Natural conversations, unscripted monologues, content created specifically for learners on language subjects or which feature certain language issues, simple articles and stories.
Advanced: Most literature, serious articles on business, science, etc. political speeches and the like.

C) Speed of narration:

Often the speed of narration can be important in deciding whether content is Intermediate or Advanced and this can overrule other considerations.

Obviously content created for beginners should be read slowly, not unnaturally, but slowly.

How about sentence length/complexity? In my own experience as language learner and teacher, I find that understanding sentences with subjunctive clauses is a big step for a beginner. The easiest way to measure complexity would be sentence length, I suppose.

Conversations often have longer sentences than articles and yet can be easier on vocabulary. Subjunctive and different tenses show up all over the place and it is difficult to judge content by such criteria in my experience. We need simple criteria.

Excuse me - I meant to say “subordinate clauses”, not “subjunctive clauses”!

I agree that beginners don’t need to be sheltered from certain tenses or moods. The sooner I start hearing/seeing any and all forms of a word the better.

But length of sentences is a different matter. At the beginning levels you might understand the vocabulary in a sentence but still be confused by having several ideas thrust at you in one sentence.

In addition, the connecting words that you need to know in order to easily make sense of long sentences are not words that you generally “pick up” early on. At least I don’t seem to pick them up early.

So at the Beginner I level, shorter sentences mean more comprehensible input more easily comprehended!

I agree for the beginner lessons Jingle, and that is easy to control since these are typically written or recorded specifically for beginners.

Thereafter, for intermediate and advanced content, it is difficult to control for sentence length or complexity. However, people can use their own judgment on these things.

I agree. By the time you’re at an intermediate or advanced level, you are usually looking for new challenges.

I’m on the fence when it comes to judging content difficulty…

If i take the korean lessons for example especially the Who is She lessons. I feel like those are aren’t beginner 1 lessons. Personally they feel more like Beginner 2 - lower intermediate lessons to me. Even though if these lessons are beginner 1 in other languages for some reason i dont feel the same for the korean version. Notice that I’m using the word “FEEL” as im not using any criteria to judge why i think it shouldnt be beginner 1. I’ve been around korean a while and have a decent knowledge and understanding more than a Beginner thats for sure and going through the who is she lessons makes me “feel” like alot of them should be brought up to beginner 2 at the minimum…

However going by your criteria ,steve, the korean who is she would definitely be Beginner 1 as the speed isnt very fast , length is less then 2 minutes and the content was translated based on beginner content from the original beginner 1 english version. Even so, It just doesnt “feel” right to have it as beginner 1 in korean. Does a beginner 1 lesson in english mean its automatically beginner 1 in korean? I feel like the korean one got more complicated due to how korean is spoken.

To me beginner 1 lessons should be somewhat of an introduction to the language and basic phrases and vocab. ( not too basic where its dumbing things down. But simple enough to not scare you away but with a challenge ) Definitely should be less than 2 minutes in length. I think the the sentence structures should be simple and not dive too much into different verb conjugations ( but thats the problem with korean theres like 600 different ways you can conjugate any given verbs/adjectives). I think beginner 1 content could be any subject matter as long as its short , simple words and simple sentences.

anyways I agree with everything you say though but there’s just a fine line between some of the levels.
But thats just how i “feel”…

I’ve had that same question: Can you translate “beginner” material from one language to the other and take for granted that it is still “beginner” level?

I had the same feeling as keroro when I did “Who is She” in Russian and German. Maybe “Who is She” is graded as Beginner I more for its content than its actual difficulty! (When you get to the end of the series, you’ll see what I mean, keroro.)

On the other hand, I have read Steve’s comment several times on how he started his Russian studies by listening to “Who is She” over and over. So…

There is no problem rating some content in a collection as beginner I and other lessons as Beginner II and this would be appropriate for Who is She. Jingle, you are right that the same content when translated into another language may be more difficult. However, we are able to provide translations for these, and hope to add more notes for these, so the LingQ beginner series will remain in the beginner section,.

I agree with Jamie and Kerero. Low complexity is important for beginners to get not frustrated and confused. That is something that I allways have in mind when I create beginner lessons.