The Chinese Word Count "Epiphany Point"

I have heard that in Russian once you get to around 40,000 or 43,000 words, you can understand pretty much everything. I have heard people call this the “epiphany point.”

Does anybody know what the number for this epiphany point is in Chinese?


Probably above 30k, I am still significantly away from it

I’d say 60-70k with Russian. 40k is low.

Just be patient and you’ll get there in Chinese I’m sure. Doing something aside from Lingq can potentially be helpful if you have the time/money to get pimsleur or something of the sort.

Okay thanks!

Wow, that is high!

not really, it goes up fast

Cool! Is it the declensions and conjugations? Also, the new level requirments are soooooo low.

Conjugation is really easy, the declensions take time to get used to but it’s definitely not that bad.

I think that most of all, it’s very important not to resist this grammar in order to understand it. Chinese looks 100times harder than Russian imo.

My hope is about 6000 lol. Iaiang posted one time that he understands 98%+ of native radio on first listen( forgive me if i’m mistaken) that sounds pretty masterful to me.

Therefore i’d say the advanced 2 boundary (20-25000) is a good target to aim for, good luck!

It does look intimidating but the grammar is a piece of cake. ( most of it) but it is not a language like Russian where grammar is very important.

I think I could get the hang of declensions because I already know how they work from Latin. That is if it is similar. Is Latin similar to Russian?

It’s not similar but many words come from Latin yes.

The over 40,000 Russian word “epiphany point” refers to a level in which you can make some sense of most conversations plus conversation-like media content (news reports, films, …)
It doesn’t mean that you can understand everything, by any means. It allows you to talk with natives and “kind of” understand usual media content. Nothing very involved.
It doesn’t happen automatically, just by getting to that amount of know words. It’s more like a prerequisite, you also had to do your other “homework”: lots of listening, talking with natives, …
I’m at that level at Russian and I do feel that I can understand a lot in many situations, so I do defend the idea that such a point exists.
It also depends on how you count what words you know, of course.
In my opinion, the epiphany occurs because knowing over 40.000 Russian “lingq words” is, in many cases (not always) a good predictor of you having a passive vocabulary of about 10.000 “word families”, which is the amount of vocabulary that a typical well-educated native speaker uses on a daily basis.
In Chinese, there are no declensions or conjugations. There are some “function” words that almost act as word terminations in inflectional languages (de, le, counter words) and you have the four-character proverbs which can be thought of as words, or at least as groups of two words.
So, according to those calculations, the equivalent of the 40.000+ Russian words limit would be clearly over 10.000 words in Chinese, let’s say 15.000
That, of course, is simply theory. I never went past about 2000 words in Chinese so I can’t assure such an “epiphany point” exists
Maybe you should ask Steve? He has learned both Slavic languages and Chinese

If you know Latin, then you know how declensions work, which does help in the beggining stages but understanding the principle is one thing and knowing the Russian declensions is quite another, not to mention being able to use them in “real time” during a conversation

Definitely true. my current 3400 in Japanese feels like more than my 6000 in Russian words, I feel like I hear more familiar words listening to Japanese than Russian.