What is your "Known Words" target that once "Hit" you focuse less on reading?

I am trying to understand and think about how to best get/find/identify a Known words target ? By looking at the profiles and stats of the community I realize a pattern that more than a few members digress and begin other languages or focus more on other learning activities besides that of reading once they reach a “Known words” target .

What is that number for you ?
How do you substantiate or justify that number for yourself?

Never! The more I know, the more I can read, though I do start new languages.

Yes… I assume you have a “Known Words” Goal to where you …are more prone… or a point where… You will say… I have learned a lot now I will start… WhateverLanguage…I dbout you will say… I learned 12 words German now… I will start…Spanish …We all have a point where we are more likely to or comfortable to venture off into other waters… Without … seeming to be Just Starting and Stopping Languages at random… In a doubleminded kind of way…

I have been using known words as a target setting tool. I just hit 10000 known words for Russian which makes me Intermediate 2 level and thus a bigger avatar. Having hit this target, the next target ib the LingQ system is 20000 to go to the next level. Even making 1000 known words takes a long time at this level. I try to do one lesson per day, typically 2000 words of an ebook.

Having hit 10000 in Russian, I’m now interested in getting to the same level in Swedish, so I might work more on that for a little while.

I do lots of listening in foreign languages using TV and read a lot of imported content on LingQ without audio.

Congratulations… and Excellent job… I am interested… to know how much time do you usually spend a day reading…? Also, To reach your current levels in Russian and Swedish: How long have you been building that up? Lastly I would like to ask you that at those two…(10k) range levels how do you rate yourself in terms of Russian/Swedish Language comptence in general and your ability to express your ideas in conversation… ?

I joined LingQ in December 2011 but had already studied Russian at a university language center for a few years, and I had been on exchange living in Russia studying Russian in classroom lessons about 16hrs a week (in 2007). After that I left Russia and it had been dormant for a few years, just passive listening and use every now and then. Even with that background, it has taken a lot of time to hit 10000 words here. I work on a few languages at the same time and have periods where I focus on one language for a while and then switch to another. I’m quite weak in spoken Russian, but did the high-school exams for Russian last year with good results.

English is my native language and Swedish has been for that reason much faster to learn. I went to evening classes (vocational school) and high school for adults. I’ve focused mainly on the language needed for my work by importing lots of work-related material (sales materials, instruction manuals, industry related blog posts). I live in Finland and can watch Swedish language TV and listen to radio etc. I’ve used LingQ as a handy tool to keep me going and especially find it good for reading imported ebooks. I have no excuse not to study because on any device anywhere I am I can open LingQ and continue where I left off.

My skills in both Swedish and Russian are approaching C1, with clear weaknesses in speaking and writing - both of these are things I don’t train enough. In the last year I have done the Finnish high school exam for both languages with good results (GCE A level equivalent). The exam doesn’t test spoken skills at all.

LingQ is my workbench for learning languages. I like the statistics, numbers, measurements and use them for goal setting and motivation. I like the vocabulary driven approach. I used to live about 45 minutes from work by public transport and used that time in both directions for listening to LingQ and doing flashcards and re-reading lessons. Not everyday and not always, but often. I live closer to work now and have less time when traveling. Recently I’ve been reading a novel in Russian using LingQ, and that keeps me on LingQ for longer periods. I did the same earlier in Swedish. e.g. I imported the subtitles for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, studied them, then watched the movie, then bought, imported and read the ebook on LingQ.

Now that it’s easier to import long texts, importing and reading ebooks is much easier and I recommend it once you get to intermediate stage.


I am currently at around 75,000 known words in German. I have been at it for about 2.5 years. I am at the level where I can read novels and follow tv programs pretty well. I don’t think there is ever an upper limit to the amount of words you can learn. It all depends on what your goals are. The sky is the limit when it comes to learning vocabularly in specialized fields. For example, I know professional translators who have been at it for years, working in niche fields, who still need to research and learn specialized technical terms on a daily basis.


Thanks… for this… It was Incredibly Intresting…:slight_smile: and Helpful…

I am at 39,000 words in Russian and it took me 7 years on and off. I can read a paper pretty easily. Last year I tested 10 random articles of a Novosibirsk newspaper (nsk.kp.ru) and I read them easily with over 95% of words known. However, I just started a serious Russian novel that has lots of expressive language and my vocabulary isn’t even close to enough to true appreciate the book. I am also studying an eko moskva conversation about reinvestment in infrastructure and dilapidated housing and there are a bunch of new words.

Never ends )))


Very good question. For me, as I suspect for most people here too, the goal is to build up the language “potential” to achieve the level I want in the language. That potential is measured in Known Words, which are made “known” by exposure to content and (mostly) by creating lingqs and reading them over and over across the same and varied content.

For me in Spanish, the level I want to achieve is “fluency,” ie comfortably understanding and speaking with my educated peers in the other culture on a variety of different topics of interest. That’s 20-30,000 “Known Words.” So, using the LingQ avatar levels, Advanced 2 (22,000 words) is the potential. During this time, I will take a trip to hopefully activate and lock all this stuff in. That means still reading, but at the same time listening A LOT and going back over that material I’ve read and lingqed up already in the past to reach this level. This will convert yellow lingqs to known words, and help me create new ones for patterns, grammar, and other things I didn’t notice before. I’ll also be speaking a lot more during this time.

Hopefully, all this progress and the trip will keep me motivated to reach 32,500 words (Advanced Level 3) and thus “complete” advanced level 2. At that point I’ll feel “finished” in the sense that I can move on to anotehr language and I will read Spanish texts outside of lingq more (books, newspapers, etc) since I won’t have to worry about tracking the words as much any more.

Then, when I move on to the other language, I’ll repeat the above for whatever level I want to achieve in that language and shoot for the corresponding word count that gives me the potentnial to do that.

You have given me something else to strive for. My first mind was thinking 10k but now I am thinking bigger… For I too want to have the ability to speak to my educated peers and also…Do public speaking via Toastmastes in my target language… I really want to begin my Russian Studies… however a big part of me feels that I should focus on one thing untill successful or at least to the point… of having “some successes” to the point where I have championed some language arts goals with the language… like reading (vocabulary)… I feel that listening will take more time master…even though I listen to spanish podcast daily… It has become my favorite “tv series” of sorts…:slight_smile:

I didn’t realize you could import long texts into LingQ. Initially I was a premium member but beyond the beginner texts, I found little of interest in Italian. I became a free member and have used books and podcasts since that time. Now that I know that one can import long texts into LingQ, I will consider going back to a premium membership. Thanks for your post.

73,000 words is great!

I think that in German, the potential for getting huge word counts is higher. Gingko used to have over 100,000 known words in German. The main reason, I think, is that there is an never ending resevoir of compound words in German. To be honest, I find when I read texts that most of the new words I come across are compound words.

The answer depends firstly on the language. A 40,000 known word count is pretty good for Russian, but probably corresponds to something like 10,000 known words in Chinese.

Forgetting about that complication, I would say that the ‘known word target’ for me is whatever is necessary to be able to comfortably read in the language. After that, I have not got much motivation to read on LingQ. That does not mean that I stop reading though. In German now, which is the only foreign language I have ever learned to read well, I can read well enough that I prefer just to read on my Kindle now. I would say that for that purpose, 40,000 was a good number for known words on LingQ. I might start reading on LingQ in German again, because I think it is very useful to do to improve my vocabulary, but it will always be easier and more fun to read on the Kindle.

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Interesting. I too do a lot of reading outside of lingq. I use lingq mostly for study now (as a study tool it is fantastic). There is something inherently fun about reading native content in its native location.

One thing I thought would always be great to add to lingq would be some basic guideline benchmarks for word counts. I know over the last 7 years I was always thinking, "Blen! I don’t understand anything. How many words do I need in general to …read the news, read a book, listen to the news cast, have a general conversation, have an in depth conversation, etc? If I had known I would have relaxed a lot more, studied more, and enjoyed the journey more. I always thought I was failing when I never was.

It is interesting to me too that different content has way different word and skill requirements. For example, I read 2 additional eko moskvi transcripts yesterday as I am working on sharpening my listening of talk radio. They were both about 30 minute conversations and I read both almost as easily as reading English. But recently, I read a few chapters of 50 shades of gray in Russia (horrible book) and it was generally easy but a bunch of new words. Worse, I also recently read the first 2 chapters of Den oprichnika by V. Sorokin and I thought I was reading Martian.

Certainly, there is way more that goes into language ability than word count. But it is a fairly good general benchmark.

I believe the biggest problem with learning a language is not learning the language itself. The biggest problem is learning how to learn a language. If it is your first new language then you need a lot of hand holding and success milestones (beyond things like advanced 1) or you will quit. I bet the dropout rate if phenomenal. I only stuck with it because I absolutely love Russian culture and my wife is Russian. If I was just learning Russian for fun I would have quit long ago.

Sorry for the extraneous thoughts.

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