Making Lingq count how often we look up the translation of a lingqed word

Here is a suggestion:
Making a word yellow (lingqing it) tells us we have seen this word before. But, it does not tell us how often we have encountered this word before.
I am learning Chinese. There are some yellow words that I look up again and again, because they do not seem to stick in my brain. If I had Lingq count how often I checked the translation of a particular yellow word, then it could tag those words and make them available as a distinct SRS category (i.e. all words the user has looked up >10x in 3 months or so). Then I could SRS them until they were etched into my brain. Is there a way to implement this?


I like this idea.


I also like it

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A good idea but LingQ needs to handle 1 star words differently in general. Nearly every text will be dominated by 1 star words and you will have no idea if this word is a top 10,000 word or it’s the 100,000th most frequently used word. For example, in a children’s book I came across a word that was the 103,000th most frequent word - it was that rarely used. But from LingQs perspective its just a 1 star word like most of the words in any book. If I read 10million words I might never come across that word again, and I don’t even see the point in LingQing it.


The 103,000th most frequent word has never bothered me – if I never see it again, it doesn’t matter whether or not I’ve created a lingq for it. I don’t use any sort of automated SRS review, though – my spaced repetition is whenever it shows up again in my reading.

For those who do use automated review and don’t want to spend time and effort on even the 102,999th word, a way filter on the frequency in everyone’s material could be beneficial. But I wonder if that might be a problem for highly inflected languages. I still come across “new” words that are common, want-to-know words which I’ve known for years but not yet encountered on Lingq with a certain inflection.


I think it’s important to keep in mind that visually recognizing a word on the page (or screen) and recognizing it when spoken without the benefit of a written translation are two very different skills. Recognizing the written symbol on a page does not at all guarantee that you will know the word when it is spoken. This is especially true in a language – such as Chinese – that is not using an alphabet that generally (although not exactly) corresponds to how something is pronounced. Yet it is also the case with languages that do have alphabets. Of course the ideal is to understand the written form and the spoken form but that doesn’t occur without specific effort.

If you only silently read, you may become adept at recognizing the written words, but this will have no effect upon your listening comprehension UNLESS you listen to a native speaker utter this word in MANY contexts. Listening is also key for pronunciation as well as for reinforcing what certain grammatical patterns “sound like.” It turns out that pronunciation and memorization are intimately related in language learning.

Several months ago I discovered a scholarly article that noted if you can’t pronounce a word or phrase, it will be much harder to remember. This was a revelation for me because it explained why I could so easily remember new Spanish words and phrases, having encountered them only once or twice in written form and why I struggled to remember Russian words – especially long ones – even when I’ve seen them many times on a page. Although I visually recognized the jumble of Russian consonants, I could not remember the word spontaneously to use in a conversation because I could not pronounce it.

The solution was obvious: I had to say out loud all new words, especially and particularly the ones that had six and more syllables that I previously avoided because they were hard. I forced myself to say the word out loud as many times as I needed until I was not stumbling over it and could do so without reading it. I then made up my own short sentence with the word so I was used to saying it in combination with other words. I admit this was not easy at first but – BUT – the rewards were great and obvious even after the first week. With practice, It became easier and easier to remember all new vocabulary. The long words might require more repetitions to memorize than two-syllable ones, but I have been truly amazed at how such a simple change has had such a huge impact upon my ability to remember a word and use it in a later conversation.

People have different methods for learning vocabulary and grammar. I myself have never used flash cards or done grammar drills. (By the way, if these exercises are only done in written form then they do not help listening comprehension or speaking. Instead, they will primarily help silent reading.) Instead, I learn everything in context and USE what I learn in conversations with myself and with tutors. More recently, I now make sure that I can easily pronounce all new words and phrases that I want to use on my own. My ability to “remember” and use new vocabulary has greatly improved.

Ultimately, it’s what you actively DO with and in the language that affects how much you learn and remember.


While I appreciate the thoughtful comments by TraceyG and miscology, to me, they are off topic regarding the suggestion I offered. Maybe you could start new threads to discuss/share these important points (?)

I wonder if there was some comment from the Lingq developer team as to my idea (?)


JanFinster, sorry you didn’t understand my point so I’ll clarify. You want a settings change to note how may times you encountered the same unknown word. Given that the ultimate goal is to learn new vocabulary and not forget it when it reappears in a new lesson, then the approach should help the process of learning new words. I don’t see how your suggestion does this.

A setting that indicates how many times you already encountered the word and didn’t remember it does not actually increase one’s knowledge of the word itself. Rather, it tells you mostly what you already know: you didn’t remember the definition. Whether you didn’t know it after 5 times or 10 is irrelevant. If you really want to know the word, then spend some extra time and effort to review it in a way that you find effective. You can currently use several different filters in the Vocabulary section to select which words you want to review and how (what kind of exercise you want to use). In addition, there are myriad other techniques that people use to reliably learn vocabulary. Try various ones or invent your own.

I mentioned the link between pronunciation and memorization because I haven’t seen it discussed previously and personally found it extremely helpful. You don’t have to use it. Yet my describing a way to more effectively learn new words was not off topic.
To the contrary, it was squarely focused on the the goal of learning one’s target language more effectively which is ostensibly the reason for your suggestion to begin with.


Thank you so much for your reply. I now understand your first reply was to the more general question on how “to more effectively learn new words”, while I was more specifically looking for positive or negative feedback on my particular suggestion.

In reviews on the internet, is being criticised all the time for its concept of creating Lingqs that very soon overwhelm the SRS capacities of any motivated user. And, I somehow agree. I have several thousand lingqs and I cannot SRS all of them, nor do I want to. But there are some words that, even though I have tagged them, I still do not seem to remember even though I encounter them again and again. You are right that since I seem to know which words they are, I could find other ways to tag them myself (e.g. “HARD”). But, there are probably many other words I am not (yet) aware of.
As you mentioned correctly, this merely creates an awareness of your personal “difficult to remember” words. But then again, if those words were automatically tagged (e.g. as “HARD”), it would be quite convenient to SRS them. You said there were “several different filters in the Vocabulary section to select which words you want to review and how”, but they do not seem to solve my problem (?)

If would look into my idea: one suggestion would be for to make yellow words turn brown or orange after the user has looked up the same word 5 or 10 (or 50) times. (!?)

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[Edit: I’ve moved this reply to top level in the thread, instead of answering under your discussion with TraceyG]

I, for one, don’t like the idea. I think it’s unnecessarily distracting, it would result in a cluttered page which is the last thing I want wen I’m reading a text.
I think it’s a mistake to concentrate too much in the SRS part of Lingq functionality. There’s a simple, real and unavoidable fact of language learning: as you get more exposed to the language, you’ll encounter more words and it’ll quickly become impossible for you to remember all of them, at least for an extended period of time. Traditional learning methods have focused on limiting the amount of vocabulary that you encounter by means of textbooks, vocabulary lists, and so on. The end result is that you don’t expose yourself to authentic material for many years. The message sent by that approach is that you should learn all your vocabulary before moving to the next level.
Lingq operates on the exact opposite principle: exposing yourself to authentic material as soon as possible… It does work much better, IMO.
The experience of being overwhelmed by the amount of new vocabulary is part of the learning process. My advice would be to roll with it but I do understand that, depending on learning style, some people would like some sort of way to structure the vast mass of unknown words. The problem is that every person would like a different approach to this issue. You seem to prefer a very particular one. that makes sense to you and maybe to a few others. It certainly does not fit my own personal learning style.
However, if the Lingq interface tried to accommodate every single possible way to try to structure new words, it would result in a slower, buggier interface and a worse experience for most users.
I think it’s better for Lingq to be true to its own philosophy and prioritize simple, effective, uncluttered exposure to texts and audio and de-emphasize SRS. In that sense the “review vocabulary after paging” feature seems to me to be a mistake.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree that the suggestion of my last post (to have words that are difficult to remember turn orange or brown) can result in a confusing/cluttered page full of different colours. This may not appeal to everyone. However, I do not see them harm in offering an SRS filter for people, who seem to like the idea (see my first post). Those, who do not like the idea, do not have to use that filter. I am not sure if this would negatively impact the interface. If it does, then I agree, a smooth interface should remain the priority.

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I also have thousands of lingqs but almost never review them. For me the utility of a lingq is not the creation of a flashcard in my database but rather that the word or phrase is flagged/highlighted when I encounter it in another context. I then can see where I’ve flagged the word in other contexts and find this really helps me to remember the word, and indeed others that are in the phrases shown. So in this very active and context-rich sense I guess that I do use the lingqs to review.

I do feel that those who criticize Lingq regarding SRS have almost entirely missed the point and would benefit from listening to Krashen or Kaufman . . . in fact would benefit from putting away the SRS systems and get busy with the fun of acquiring a language. At any rate I don’t like using SRS and fortunately have not felt the need to do so.

Good luck!


JanFinster, I am responding to your question regarding the use of review filters.

LingQ offers several types of exercises which can be used in different ways. Multiple choice is clearly the easiest. Yet being able to pick the written correct answer out of four choices doesn’t guarantee you know the word when you hear it. I learn everything in context so I never use flashcards or reverse flashcards. However if you like them, then use them. The “c l o z e” exercises are more difficult (fill in the blank) but test a better understanding of the word or phrase. While many linkQ a single word, I long ago made liingqs of short phrases since including some of the context helps to understand and remember the word. Do whatever helps you in Chinese at the moment. It may well change over time.

An exercise that I personally like is the dictation, especially when I lingQ a short phrase. I can’t write what I don’t completely understand so this function is an excellent diagnostic tool for determining whether I really know the word in context. If I do the dictation several days or more after I originally did the lesson, this ensures that I really have to pay attention to what is being said, rather than just relying on short-term memory of the lesson.

You can also filter which day’s vocabulary to review and how and/or focus on only those you knew at level “3”. For example, you could do the multiple choice review the first time you review the lingQs and then switch to another type of exercise for a more challenging review. Or not.

JThese are just several ways in which you can use existing exercise functions on LingQ to review selected vocabulary. I emphasize “selected” because I, like ftornay, don’t believe that it’s necessary or desirable to obsessively study or review every single word of every lesson. Review (or not) a limited number whatever words are most important to you today by whatever method you enjoy. Focus on ENJOY :slight_smile:


I too have this problem of remembering so many words. But my approach is to just go slower. Go slower in going through lessons and go slower in reviewing lessons. I know many folks just go and go and go with the idea that my exposing one to lots and lots of content you will eventually remember the words. I don’t like that approach, so I just move slower. I also use Anki when adding new words. That way I can add a picture and audio to my efforts to remember. What I find great about learning a language, is you do whatever it takes to make learning sustainable for you. To make language learning an everyday occurrence. Good luck on your learning.