My New Life Aboard - Awakening that Known Words count

Hi everyone!

This is my first post on LingQ but I have been here (on and off) since July 2014. I absolutely love LingQ and it has been my main source of learning Spanish up until now. I, much like Steve Kaufmann, enjoy reading and listening and I found that I pretty quickly improved my passive vocabulary beyond what I thought would be possible. That being said, I have a long way to go.

I currently live and work in Toronto, Canada but I will be taking my work south of the border. South of two borders in fact! In exactly 17 days I will be moving to Mexico City (a city that I looooooooove). Lately I have not had much time to focus on Spanish but I am making a pledge now to myself (and all of you good looking people) to spend the first 1.5 hours of my day before work reading and listening on LingQ before my trip. I will also make a few update posts before I leave to Mexico City to track my progress across the next 17 days.

When I am in Mexico, I imagine that I will not spend much time on LingQ but more time activating my sleeping vocabulary. I will be living with two wonderful people that only speak Spanish and their cat (who I think also speaks Spanish), working at a local Coworking office, and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at a local gym. I plan on doing a weekly Spanish vlog while I am there so that I can look at my progress over the entire 3 months after I return to Canada and montage the whole thing together all snazzy-like. So far, I have spent the majority of my time acquiring passive vocabulary and I CANNOT wait to be completely engulfed in the culture so that I can really activate everything I’ve picked up a LingQ.

Once I get back, I will spend another month doing 1.5 hours per day to see how I progress after my 3 months away. I’m sure my ‘Known Words’ count will skyrocket upon my return but I’m interested to see by how much. Sometimes I wonder how much passive vocabulary one can learn through conversation alone. It seems so overwhelming to me! I suppose, once upon a time, the 3 year old version of me learned a thing or two about English purely through context (go me!) so I’ll have to have faith that I can do it again (now much wiser and better looking).

I know I’m very excited to see the results as this is my first time learning a language and I still can’t imagine that I could ever be fluent in a different language. If building conversational skills is your language goal, I hope this can be a testament to the effectiveness of LingQ and input-based learning to prepare yourself for a real awakening! I also hope that this can be motivational to some of you that, like your old pal Kieran here, are learning your first language on your own.

So here’s what we have:

  1. 17 days of hard work on LingQ; let’s aim for 10,000 Known Words before leaving (I’m at 7,551 right now)
  2. 3 months of 100% immersion plus some weekly vlogs of my crazy antics (all in Spanish)
  3. 1 month of catch up on LingQ

Talk soon!


Sounds good. Hope everything works out well for you! So…you’re going to have a new life ABROAD in Mexico City ABOARD the good ship LingQ? - just teasin’ :slight_smile:

Seems like you’re going on a great adventure in Mexico, muy buena suerte!

Haha! All aboard the typo train!

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Go for it!

150 words a day should be easy with 1,5 hours a day.

What is your eventual goal/aim in known word count after the 17 days + 4 months? Just so we have something to push you on.

Good luck!

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It would probably be better to spend these last 2 weeks focusing on conversation, to ease the transition. Cramming 2000 words in 2 weeks might feel effective at the time, but in the long run it’s way more than you can assimilate, and therefore inefficient.

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Hey Wulfgar, thanks for the comment! I agree that the full conversation immersion might come with a bit of shock. I typically have a few opportunities per week in the evenings to practice my conversation skills right now but I always wake up early so I have about 1.5 hours available to me at 6:30am. My plan is just to fill that time with as much studying as I can. Do you have any recommendations on how I could use that time better early in the morning when I might not be able to fire up a Skype call with someone?

I really have no idea what to expect. This is kind of a personal experiment to assess my progress in the country of the spoken language after mostly studying on LingQ. I would expect that my word count could double or triple while I’m there but I really have no clue. If I had to pick a number, I’d say 25,000 words.

I really appreciate the encouragement!

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From your op I didn’t know that you already talk a few times a week; thought you were one of those guys who gets to a high level in lingq before he starts to talk. Another thing is increasing your word count by 2000 in lingq in 2 weeks might not be so terrible, provided you’re doing a lot of stuff outside of lingq, and lingq just doesn’t realize you already know a ton of other words.

It’s hard for me to advise you because I don’t know your level. I get the sense that you really need to work on your conversation, but I’m just guessing. If so, ramping up would be the best thing to do imo. Do you really lack language partners at 6:30, or are you avoiding conversation?

If conversation is off the table, there are 2 things I can think of that you will find during your immersion, which can help you decide what to do now. First, it’s good to have a balanced language learning plan. One should study listening, reading, writing, conversing, pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. By balanced I don’t mean you should spend equal time on each skill. But you shouldn’t exclude anything.

Second, listening and vocabulary take much longer to master than the other things. People usually understand this about vocabulary, but listening is often neglected. Just remember that to reach a high level (C1/C2) in a language, 1500-2000 hours of listening are required. Source:

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Thanks again Wulfgar for the detailed response. I had never seen so thanks for sharing. I suspect you are correct in both counts: 1) I am avoiding conversation to some extent, 2) I probably know many more words than registered on LingQ.

Right now, I’m probably spending my time as follows:

Listening: 20%
Reading: 30%
Writing: 10%
Conversing: 20%
Pronunciation: 10%
Vocabulary: 5%
Grammar: 5%

I imagine you would recommend that I move a percentage of my time from reading to conversing? Any other red flags in this distribution?

p.s. Is your name a reference to The Legend of Drizzt? I used to love those books! :smiley: