I thought of this while watching one of Steve’s YouTube videos. Namely, I’m not a big fan of the way LIngQ counts words to measure my progress with a language. Actually, although it would be more useful if LingQ counted word families or dictionary entries of a word, even though that would be more useful, it still wouldn’t be great either. Because I just don’t like grading every word I come across.
But I would still like to measure my progress. I think time spent studying/reading/listening is a good indicator and also a good way to set goals. I like it better than say “learn” X amount of words tomorrow, next week, next month, this 90 day challenge, etc. I am always learning and forgetting words anyway so it’s just really hard to measure. But time spent seems more quantifiable. I was wondering if LingQ already tracked time spent using the app perhaps? If so this would be easy to implement. (maybe I just don’t know where to look?) I think this would be useful even for people that enjoy tracking their known words too.
I personally don’t find it more useful to measure word families vs. the LingQ way. Frankly, it’s just a number and I’m not sure people should get excited or hung up either way with how it’s counted.
However, I do quite like the idea of time spent with the app. Although it seems like it would be even more difficult to automatically count than words read, which we’ve seen already can be somewhat tricky, although it’s gotten a lot better. If I leave the app open in a lesson and go do something for a half hour, is it going to count it? Maybe it only counts when the screen is on, but it seems like it would be hard to measure accurately.
I think it could be cool to have timer start and stop buttons integrated into whatever app I’m using.
I’ve been learning Chinese for about 7 months now. I just use the timer on my phone to keep track of my time and then it gets entered into a spreadsheet. It’s a bit of a pain to always remember to stop the timer if you go do something else for a minute, but it’s not too bad and I have as good of an idea on time spent as I can really get… I guess it doesn’t really matter, the level you’re at in a language is the level you’re at, but I like to geek out on numbers.
How to count words is tricky. Do all the conjugations of a verb count as new words? If they’re regular, I’d say no, but what if they’re irregular? Maybe, maybe not, I dunno… How about forms of the same word like surprise, surprising, surprisingly, are those 3 different words? Are words like truck stop and bus stop each a single word or two words put together?
I’m not sure linguists even agree, I’ve seen widely varying numbers for how many words a person needs to know in a language. I’ve seen estimates of native speakers active vocabulary as low as 5k to 10k words on up to 50k or 60k (then you have the lingq way of counting which, depending on the language, probably would give a native speaker like 300k or something crazy like that).
I think if it counts when the screen is on then it should be pretty accurate. Mine times out after about 5 minutes if I don’t touch it. If it could automatically count it for me I’d like it a lot more than if I had to manually update it or press buttons.
Thanks for your suggestion and feedback @kraemder. We will see if that’s something we can add in the future updates. That idea already showed up on the forum once before if I remember properly.