More known words

Hi, I wanted advice on how to acquire more known words, I am currently making 100 LingQs per day, but I am struggling to change the status to known. Does anyone have advice on how to get more known words faster

Hola, Luciano!


Espero que eso ayude


Making LingQ’s doesn’t make them known If using LingQ’s as a motivator, it’s really just a sign that you are reading and coming across new words. This IS a good thing, however it doesn’t make them magically known.

Repetition is what ultimately helps make a word known. To make words you’ve recently come across known, the quickest way to make them known is to repeat the content that has them. You could use SRS, or simply repeat the specific lesson/article…or jump to the specific sentences that contain the unknown words and read them in context without reading the entire article/lesson again.

If you are patient and simply understand that you will encounter these words again later, then it’s not necessary to repeat content…it just may take longer to learn those specific words. You’ll need the repetition to learn them, it will just be spread out. As you are hitting higher levels the words you come across may become much more infrequent so that increases the time it takes to make a new word known. As that’s happening though, you will have other words that you’ve been learning for a longer time eventually become known as you’ve come across them enough times.

In short, if you don’t mind repeating content, maybe find some shorter lessons/articles and repeat one or two of these over the course of a couple of days, while you’re reading content that you intend not to read repeatedly (longer content). These may help give you more instant gratification of learning some recently viewed words while also enjoying new and fresh content.

If you don’t like to repeat content, then will will start to acquire words known quickly, but these may simply be words you’ve been working on for some time.

So, I’d say, don’t worry too much about it. You will learn those words if you keep reading and listening.


Thanks a lot! solid advice

I think that word frequency explains your problem.

This is a count of the unique words in the story “The Hare and the Tortoise”, that occur more than once by frequency:

  • the 24
  • a 8
  • tortoise 8
  • hare 7
  • was 6
  • he, and, to 5
  • of, race, but 4
  • for, you with 3
  • fun, so, get, it, at, very, up, time, not 2

The remaining 89 unique words I won’t list in full, but these only occurred once.

In a simple 199-word text, this means that 35% of the text is made up of just eleven frequently-used words and 44% of the text is made up of words that only occur once in that particular text.

One of the problems with learning languages is that there are many unique words, and those unique words will occur less frequently. You will mark off the words you see a lot as known fairly quickly. All your other LingQs you will see far less commonly (in this text, hare, tortoise, and race are frequent words but won’t be in other texts). Some words that I will see when I am reading I know full well that I will likely never encounter again outside of that particular text, so even though it may become a LingQ it will probably never become known. Even as a native English speaker though I will still occasionally encounter English words that I have never heard before!

So you will amass a huge number of LingQs as you see the less common words, but they will take a very long time to move those less common words into your known. You may also find that, say if you were reading this, you may mark of, say, tortoise as known, but later you may have forgotten it as you don’t see it as frequently, and have to mark it again as unknown.

The only solution really is to keep reading a lot, of a variety of different texts.

Early on you will probably find that as you encounter the commoner words regularly that you will increase your known words quite quickly, but then as time goes on the increases will slow down. That is normal and expected and is the often talked about “intermediate plateau” where you have amassed the first couple of thousand words that occur frequently, but then all the words that are new are the less commonly occurring words.


Here’s what I do.

First off, I read every day. That’s essential for immersing yourself in the language. But every day I also do a Quizlet set I’ve made with 20 words from something I’ve read previously. For example, I’m currently reading a story called “After the Siege” in Russian. Every time I finish a chapter of it, I’ll go to the vocabulary tab and export 20 useful vocabulary terms and move them to quizlet. You can study them in LingQ as well, but I think quizlet has a better interface. In Quizlet, I set it so I see the word in Russian and need to type in the English. This is easier than typing the Russian, but it still works well. I then break down the list into three sections, learn them, then practice them over the next few days, usually 2-4 times (for example, twice on the Saturday, once on Sunday, once on Monday). This really doesn’t take a lot of time. Usually learning to recognize the words is about 15 minutes, and each practice session afterwards only takes around 5. If I have some extra time, I’ll reread the chapter the words come from as well, but if not, they’ll probably pop up later in the story, and I typically recognize them. It’s been working really well for me, but I should warn you that it builds passive vocabulary more than active.

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