I’m learning Italian as a total beginner (but with decent Spanish). There are lots of words I quickly recognize and understand. My question is whether I should mark them as known words because I understand them when I see them in print or hear them, but perhaps would not call them to mind if I were speaking to someone and wanted to call up the word for X in Italian. Thanks!
Honestly, it’s up to you. Some people are really loose about it and count any word they can recognize as known, but others will only count it as known when they can both recognize and produce the word.
For me, I do both. For really obvious words that follow easy patterns (ex. intenzione (intention), generazione (generation), etc.), I’ll mark them known as long as I recognize them. For words that I recognize and understand in that context, but that I know will be a little more difficult to remember if I need to produce that word myself (ex. reagire (to react)), I will lingq the word, but maybe give it a little higher status right away.
I wouldn’t put too much effort into thinking about whether or not to mark a word known, though. I can say from experience that input is going to be the most important thing. Once I started speaking with tutors/language partners, my so-called “active vocabulary” (words I can actively produce and remember) started expanding to include words from my “passive vocabulary” (words that I can recognize when reading/listening, but can’t remember the translation for when speaking/writing) extremely quickly.
In short, do whatever makes the most sense to you, but keep in mind that in the end, it doesn’t really matter. Whichever route you take, you’ll eventually be able to remember all those words actively as long as you spend enough time with the language.
Thanks for sharing your experience – that’s super helpful.
Basically what @rhess just said. Maybe at the beginning you could be more conservative but afterwards you might take more confidence in mark them as Known without any problem.
Sometimes I mark them as “3” even if I recognize some verb in context because I know it’s a problematic verb for me and I still want to pay more attention to it. Maybe it’s a verb with more meanings and even if I recognize one meaning I don’t really grasp it.
Sometimes I mark some word as “4” when I do recognize without any problem but that word as another meaning that appears sometimes but I never remember. So it’s a way to remind me something specific about that word and in time I will just make it mine.
But at the end, as @rhess said, don’t worry too much about it but keep reading and listening and increase your inputs. Everything will go into place naturally.