My French Year: Week 26

I made a big jump last week and started talking with a tutor on LingQ. The first chat was nerve-wracking, the second a little less so. I’m really looking forward to my third tomorrow.

I was going to aim for two lessons a week, but my speaking level is so low that I’m going to stick to one until maybe September.

In my latest video I discuss how the first lesson went and share some of the content I’ve been using lately.


I’ve been away from LingQ since your third or fourth week when I was really following along. Now that I’m back more, or at least I expect to be, I plan on binge watching your videos to catch-up, Tiger King style.

Glad you are making big progress. Congratulations!


Jahrine I wish you the best in what you are doing!
Hi LIL my friend happy that you are more available here, could you please give me a bit of more mentorship. We do the same language, Spanish. I feel truly stuck. My statistic do not reflect my level as I do much more work
outside lingq .
I would have to get to a decent reader in 3 months time.
Could you please give me steps of what i could do and focus on daily?
When do you move a word to known?
How many known words really to a decent reader?
Big thank you my friend!

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No problem and good to hear from you.

Year ago, I was very stuck too, and since I took Spanish in school, working for years outside of LingQ, my statistics also did not reflect my level. Eventually the more I used the lingq, the more accurate they became because, while I was learning new words via LingQ, the system was learning the words I already know and bringing my stats into line with reality.

If you already have a good idea of how Spanish works, then you are ready to use LingQ more. Start doing a lot of reading in LingQ, a lot. You need to read in LingQ in order to encounter new words and you need LingQ to look up the meaning of the words.

My biggest breakthrough came in 2014 during the first 90 Day Challenge with Steve. I committed to at least 1. 5 hours per day for three months and 3 hours on the weekend days when I didn’t have to work. I spent about an hour reading and about a half hour reading a Spanish textbook from college. Teach Yourself, Dover Spanish grammar, the internet, whatever would work. On the weekends I would spend 2 hours reading and 1 hour doing the grammar/how to stuff. So about 2/3 of my time on input and 1/3 on the mechanics of the language. During the latter, I would just read the textbook, but I was also looking up stuff I made notes about when I was reading that I didn’t quite understand (re-read passive voice/use of “se”, relative pronouns like “lo que and la que” , le lo me te conmigo, contigo, consigo vs con el, etc)

During that time I read thorugh Master Steve’s book “the linguist” which was a good intermediate level book with a lot of common useful words, was an engaging story, and provided motivation for wanting to learn more. I also read the Spanish history short stories and the “Who is She?” story in the LingQ library. I also read thousands of newspaper articles that I would import into LingQ from various Spanish language newspapers from Spain, Panama, Mexico, Cuba, and the US were the most common. News is generally written well, clearly, uses common words, and is free. Same was true about Spanish wikipedia articles, but sometimes that can use more specialized vocab. Most importantly, it’s something I am interested in.

I found that once I got to around 15,000 known words I was pretty confident in reading the newspaper and a lot of non fiction, particularly if I was interested in the subhject, even if there was a good amount I didn’t know. I was still knowing at least 96-97% of the news articles. If you spend this much time and you already know a good amount of Spanish, I think you might get close to this in three months. THe more time you have, the closer you’ll get.

Once I got over 22,000, I was consistently hitting 98% known words in articles, which is a magic number arccording to Professor Arguelles and really shows you can understand it all except for a few things here and there. At this point (22K I really found myself with the base knowledge for fluency, but need my listening and speaking ability to catch up. I then started watching hundreds of hours of telenovelas on netflix, reading the Spanish subtitles as I was listening and watching the show. I believe this, along with my continued reading in LingQ (and now you can import the Netflix subtitles) is what made me fluent. I also spoke to natives whenever I could.

What makes a word “known” for me has changed over time as I used to be more conservative about marking a word known. I have loosened it up over time, but have tried to keep in consisent throughout my SPanish learning process. When I go to French next year most likely, I will use the Steve Kauffman standard which also seems to be the most frequently used method here by users participating in the forum: if I see a word, and I can recognize it and know what it means in the context of whatever I’m reading, it gets marked known.

Anyway, that’s it for me for now. Took about 40 minutes doing this writing fast so excuse the errors too. Feel free to reach out to me via my Wall/Profile if you need something more in the future.

Jahrine, sorry suck up your thread space. Starting your videos now to catch up. Thank you for all your good work at LingQ and for sharing this journey to inspire me and others.

Bon chance, madmoiselle (o madame!) je ne c’est quoi.,


Jahrine, excellent video. Finally got to finishing it.

I’ve never actually seen the tutor search and selection before so it was great to see that in action. Worked out even better for me because Katy is exactly who I play to select for when I do French myself and if I ever do one for Spanish (she does both), just so I have a speaking partner to talk about things beyond my usual routine chats with Latinos here. She’s been super helpful on the forums.

Since I haven’t gotten to Master Steve’s channel in a while, I didn’t know about the Shelby videos so I look forward to those when I start or perhaps sooner if I want a sneak preview. “Breaking news with Jahrine!”

Your details about Netflix I found interesting since I had such great luck with them prior to the invention of the browser extension on LingQ, but for me it was mostly a listening comprehension improvement activity becuase my vocabulary was already in the high teens/low twenties thousands of words so reading the subtitles was much easier and I seldom missed the content of exchanges, just some words and phrases that I didn’t know or quite “get” how they worked together. But now that we have that capability at LingQ, my intention with French would be to start watching shows sooner, so I’m especially interested in your progress there.

Lastly, just a little technical boost in closing: the quality of that microphone is excellent
What type is it? I remember your accent, but had forgotten (or didn’t notice) how soothing your voice was. I’m sure the ambience of the lighting helped too. …As a similarly golden-throated individual myself, I"m been meaning to get into voiceover work for years, but have been too lazy. Maybe investing in a good microphone when I get a new computer and set up an office in the new house.

Hi there! Glad you enjoyed the video and it was helpful. I can’t say enough good things about Katy. She also has an Instagram account for French learners (she uses some Spanish there too), if you’re on that platform.

The mic is a Blue Yeti and I love it! I highly recommend it. I got the copper version because it’s beautiful, but the black version is a little cheaper. I’m glad you find my voice soothing, I certainly do not listening back to it haha! But I think most people don’t enjoy the sound of their own voice.

I will be filming the next video this week. I’m onto a new show, so I’ll share. Honestly, learning from Netflix shows is now the bulk of my studies. It’s difficult, but overall it feels like I’m not studying… and I like that!

Hope you have a lovely weekend :slight_smile:

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Many thanks for your assistance!

A great weekend to you guys as well–and good luck on the foot front! poor guy :frowning:

Many thanks for your assistance!

A great weekend to you guys as well–and good luck on the foot front! poor guy :frowning:

Many thanks for your assistance!

A great weekend to you guys as well–and good luck on the foot front! poor guy. :frowning:

26 weeks!! WOW!! that was so amazing. And I must say that you are really passionate about it. Well, reading your stories here made me so inspired to continue further with learning french. I am just starting out and I am really having a hard time understanding it. I mean, sometimes I do. But the spellings and the pronunciations are getting the best of me. I mean, who easily gets it, right? I am so confused that I want to give it up sometimes. Upon reading this, I think my mind changed. i might as well try to focus better since I really want to learn it.