I need some guidance on what I should be doing. I'm stuck

I need some help. I’m not sure what I should be focusing on with my German. There are tons of words that I don’t know when reading. And when I listen to videos on YT there are tons of stuff that I don’t understand. I don’t know if my comprehension is low because I don’t have enough known words, or because I haven’t don’t enough listening, or is it a mixture of both?
Can some of you acomplished LingQ users take a look at my statistics, and offer some tips or guidance. Should I be focusing on Reading and gaining new vocabulary, or should I just focus on listening? Or both? If I should be doing both what kind of ratio between the two would you recommend?


Seeing that my listening time is quite low compared to my known words. Makes me think that I should be focusing mainly on listening. But when I listen to things I can’t help but feel like I’m not understanding a lot because I’m lacking the vocabulary, rather than I just haven’t done enough listening.

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Looking at your stats it seems to me you could be called an accomplished LingQ user and giving other people advice :smiley: But I’m a lingq noob myself so what do I know.

Maybe dig a little to find content that is easier for you to comprehend. There are definitely different speeds and clarity of conversations and maybe you have just picked a bunch of very difficult material.

Also by the amount of things you already know I would assume sessions with native speakers wouldn’t be wasted on you.

  1. At 25.000 words I had 1.050.000 words read and 380 hours of listening on LingQ (+ 200 outside of LingQ) and I was listening to the same files up to 10 times. Even now I listen to the same files up to 5 times, before I move on to the next ones (5 times in 5-15 days depending on how many audio files I have in LingQ playlist).
  2. Listen more without focusing on it - always use your dead time. Make sure that the hours are piling up.
    Easy German podcast is the easiest of those that I keep listening to with dozens of hours of content.
  3. Read, reread and/or skim the texts in your active time to learn new words.
  4. Limit the topics that you read about/listen to. Concentrate your efforts on smaller vocabulary chunks. Become a specialist in topics you like, then expand your general vocab.

Hey Mark, I’m a bit less than you in German, coming up on 20K. I had the same thought as you recently. I tried listening to the Fest und Flauschig podcast and had a really tough time. So what I did was use the LingQ extension on youtube and downloaded a random hour long podcast of theirs, that way I could see what my known word percentage was. For me, it turns out that I knew almost all of the words that they were saying. So in this case it wasn’t that I didn’t know the words, I just need to spend much more time physically listening to them talk at that speed.

I would suggest doing that or something similar to get an idea of why you’re not understanding specific pieces of content. But at the end of the day, at least for me I know I need lots more of both reading and listening to get closer to fluency.


What’s your actual methodology with LingQ? What kind of material do you read here and are you listening along while reading?


Hi, I´ve seen you have only 5.000 words read in the last month. I´d say you can set a goal of those 5.000 words per day. Plus random listening to podcasts of at least 1 hour per day (easygerman is great) during commuting time. Those will do the work for you. (in my view, listening up until a moment in which you feel comfortable with the sounds is key, also for further good pronuntiation when you start to speak yourself)

Whenever I hit a wall with my language learning, it helps me to take a step back. Go one level lower than you are (e.g. from B1 to A2) and immerse in that content for a week or two. Then gradually do back up to B1. Also, try to combine both easy and difficult material.


Hey, MarkE,

I don’t consider myself an accomplished LingQ user, simply a happy LingQ user, but if I may, in my opinion, you just shouldn’t worry about what you still don’t know or about what you don’t understand. Just keep reading and listening a lot and you will inevitably make progress.

About the guidance, I totally agree with Steve when he says that listening is the core language skill. It’s by far the most important thing, in my view. Because if you are able to understand things easily, then you can enjoy much more what you are listening to, and so you can listen to a much larger amount of content. With all this listening it’s easier to get a sense for the language and kind of have a feeling about what is right and what is wrong. So I guess that maybe you should be focusing more on listening. But anyway, as I said, that’s just what I think.


I agree with most of everyone’s thoughts and suggestions. Here’s my take…I’m not an “accomplished” LingQ’er so defer to the experts for sure…

Like t_harangi, I’m curious what you are doing…maybe that can help everyone give some more advice and direction. Since I’ve followed you a long time since you are also learning German, I’ve always noticed that you’ve always had very low listening hours…I can see recently that you seem to be doing a lot more. However, i think you are waaaaaay behind for your level of known words, unless you are doing a lot more listening outside of LingQ.

Reference RychkovSS…at your level of known words he had 380 hours of listening. I feel like I don’t do enough of listening myself, but at 14,000 known words I’m at 170 hours…and I probably have another 50-100 or more outside of LingQ (sometimes I’ll manually input values into LingQ, but I haven’t always done that). I also have listened to probably another 50 hours of German television (most of which I don’t understand so not sure how much it helps other than trying to pick out words I know and otherwise work through a bit of fog in the meaning). My gf’s family is also German so I have a lot of hours of their conversations that I’ve heard. Again, I don’t understand a lot but getting the experience of recognizing words and phrases you do know out of the flurry of words you can’t pick out or understand is helpful I think.

The other thing I notice in your stats is that your words of reading are really low for your level. Only 584,661. Again, if you are doing a lot of reading outside of LingQ it may not be fair of me to point this out, but again take notice of RychkovSS’s stats…He already had almost double the words read you have. I also have at 14,000 words known over 100,000 more words read than you. I also do some amount of reading outside of LingQ…for ease sake I might read an online newspaper article using google translate extension (you highlight a word or phrase and it pops up the meaning instantly). Just to crank up the reading a bit.

If you haven’t done more reading outside of LingQ this may be where you are really hurting. It implies that you are doing more “flashcarding” or simple word review. You aren’t seeing the words that you are learning in context enough. You’re not seeing the words that may typically surround a given word. So you also probably aren’t noticing a lot of common phrases or usage.

What kinds of things are listening to or reading?

Inside of LingQ, if you haven’t looked at a lot of Evgueny or Vera’s material, they have a lot of excellent and interesting content with audio.

Outside of LingQ, online newspapers have a lot of vocabulary. zeit.de, which I’ve been looking at a lot recently has audio for many of their articles (although I think it’s mostly text to speech…but still half decent). Nachrichtenleicht.de for reading should be way below your level, but it does have slow audio…you might test your listening skill there if you haven’t engaged with it before.

One thing I’ve been listening, reading, looking at a lot recently is Easy German youtube channel (and I’ve gone ahead and gotten the podcast level of subscription). I’ve always enjoyed them, but hadn’t engaged too much with them because they don’t import as is well into LingQ…however with the membership you get the transcripts and you can either load them into lingq…or simply read and use their translations in their documents. The topics are basic, but the language isn’t per se…plus you are hearing natives speak…and on the fly…not something that rehearsed and edited…so you get all the starts, stutters, mumbles, sometimes superfast speaking. If you can’t understand you can refer to the transcripts…or even in the videos they have their transcript plus the english translation below it.

They now do a podcast as well which is great (admittedly I’ve only listened to about 1 1/2 episodes). If you get the podcast membership you can get the transcripts for those.

Anyway, based simply on the stats you have, I think you simply need to be reading and listening a lot more. If you are doing tons of reviewing of individual words, or SRS I think you’re wasting too much time with that and need to simply read and listen more.


I think you’re right MarkE. Need to up those listening hours. When you don’t understand refer to the lesson in words, or in a transcript for whatever you may be listening to. If you don’t have the transcript find content that does. I gave some ideas in my main post, but on top of that there are TONS of German youtube channels that have good subtitles (not autogenerated) that you can import into LingQ and study.

Also find shorter content and maybe repeat…Listen, read, listen again…I like to use Vera’s or Evgueny’s content lately for that type of thing. Their lessons are short, interesting and so repeating reading/listening of them is very easy. Longer content it can be a bit of a slog to get through everything and then repeat. so I tend not to do that with those.

Hi Mark, I’m sure you’re on the right path! It’s easy to get discouraged and to start doubting your learning style with so many supposedly “accomplished” speakers and “polyglots”. Those accomplished persons can speak new language in 3 months!
In reality new language takes huge amount of time and commitment. Years. Time and commitment, not method and learning style - everything works given enough time in the language and attention.
So, if you came into it with wrong expectations (and almost everyone does, thanks, polyglots), at some point you start to ask yourself a question: “Why the hell I’m not fluent yet?”.
Going back to the methods you’re asking about. In my opinion, the best methods and learning activities are those that you regularly do, those that you do gladly.
Sorry everyone for this little rant, but at some point I faced the same wall that Mark described. My personal answer to that - perseverance.


I agree with this so much. When I first started, I had seen all the 3 month garbage. I had visions of learning several languages in a few years. lol.

It does take time. It is frustrating it can’t happen quicker, but once you realize it takes time you can just “sit back” and enjoy the process of getting there…hopefully not needing to rush.


Exactly. Totally agree. The point is to enjoy the way, have fun. After all, it’s an endless process and you have your whole life to learn.


Easy German podcasts are super helpful. I really love it. It’s really good for comprehension training with the transcripts and everything…


Thanks Sergey for your comment! It’s true polyglots can be misleading at times. When I first started out on LingQ I really didn’t expect how much time it takes to learn a language. I think you are right! I’m just going to keep doing the things that I enjoy to do and progress will come.
Hey Great Job on your German BTW!

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“Inside of LingQ, if you haven’t looked at a lot of Evgueny or Vera’s material, they have a lot of excellent and interesting content with audio.”

I forgot about Evgueny’s stuff! I’m going to revisit his material. Most of the stuff I read in German on LingQ I import, so I don’t have audio. And most of the stuff I listen to doesn’t have text.

Oh Yes! I have been listening to “Easy German’s” Podcasts too! Great stuff.

“If you are doing tons of reviewing of individual words, or SRS I think you’re wasting too much time with that and need to simply read and listen more.”

I never do SRS like ever ever! I don’t know how people do that stuff, its way to boring for me.