What is your words read to words learned ratio?


I’m studying Korean at the moment and my own words read to words learned ratio (hereafter I will refer to this my WRWL) is about 43 / 1. For every 43 words I read I learn 1 new word. My ‘real world’ ratio is actually probably lower because Korean has so many compound words, and the same word can be counted many times in ‘words known’ in its various grammatical forms (although I still regard this as legitimate, since these grammatical variations must be learned).

What about my fellow Lingqers, what is your WRWL?*

*To work out your WRWL you divide the number of words you have read in a language by the number of words you know. If you want to get a recent WRWL estimate just do the same thing only with your activity in the past week or month.

Thanks, I’m looking forward to your responses.

108/1. In my defense, I have the memory of a fish.

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I never measured it, but I have definitely noticed a significant improvement in my retention of vocabulary by using google images. I search the new word ( especially if it’s a noun ) on it rather than read the English translation. Apparently, this somehow approximates how one learns his/her native language.

Does one’s level of knowledge influence the ratio?

My main interest lies in reading, so I am not too bothered about “knowing” a word, I am happy if I can get the gist of the words I am reading. In French It seems to be getting harder to find texts where there are totally unknown words, ie where I cannot guess their meaning.

30/1 with russian.

I’m going to be honest, i don’t enjoy reading that much. However, I have noticed an improvement in my learning of words from reading out loud, and so have been concentrating on getting my reading done more than listening as of late.

Reading is pretty much my only target when learning a foreign language.

What seems to be the case is that the more you know the more easily you can guess a word’s meaning from context.

250/1 for me in Japanese. But “knowing a word” for me in Japanese means also being able to read it.
So if I know only the meaning of the word, but cannot read the kanji(s), the word is not regarded as “known”. :I

My worst 40/1 is in Swedish. No wonder why I struggle with every text. But it goes easier with Italian having 38/1. These 2 values seem to be very close to each other but…

My numbers are:
40 English
35 Spanish
26 German
24 French
9 Ukrainian
6 Czech
6 Polish
3 Russian
2 Bolgarian

The more I read and know words the bigger my WRWL becomes. The speed of new words aquisition is getting lower and lower by the time I study (sorry, read and listen) new language and my WRWL is growing - at the end you will read and read without getting new words.

Just look at my Russian (I`m native) for understanding my thought.

For my German it is 31/1, however, this in very inaccurate because I know that there are definitely a few books that I have read and not included in that word count.

What does this ratio really show?
The bigger the ratio, the better or vice versa?

I have very low ratio for the languages which are very close to my native one. But it is much higher (and still grows) for other languages.

You can easily calculate it from the stats at you Lingq profile page. That is, if you’re mainly using Lingq for your language-input activities.

In my case it seems to be about 11.4/1 as per Lingq’s count. I’m learning Russian

It’s not better or worse. I suppose it’s a measure of how easily you can retain the meaning of words. It makes sense that it’s lower in languages similar to your native tongue.

That is, the lower the ratio, the easier it is to memorize new words.

OK, so I read a couple chapters of Balzac and some other things in French on lingq, all of which falls under the category of literature, a couple weeks ago. Dividing words read by lingqs made, I got 315 words known to every unknown word. I guess that’s pretty good, considering it’s 19th century literature. If I were to read something from the 20th century I think I would know a much greater percentage, and my perusal of Sartre’s “Les Mots” which I have by my side seems to prove this.

Edit: Realized I calculated this differently than others in the thread.

In Russian reading upper intermediate and lower advanced material, I am at 11.9. For reference, I passed a test at around B1 level in Saint Petersburg about two months ago.

I feel like this would be a “law of diminishing returns” kind of thing. Or a reverse of that if you wanna think of it that way. What I mean by that is, since the most common words make up the majority of all written text, once you get up to advanced levels with passive vocabulary, you cold be reading book after book, and have less and less words to actually learn from them.

I run a Calibre report of every book I’m about to read. For French and German, on average, they’re about 100,000 total words wth about 15,000 unique words, give or take – and a portion of that is always proper nouns.

Hypothetically, if you learned the 20k most common words, you could read a million words worth of books and not come across anything new except proper nouns. Yes, this is somewhat unlikely to happen if you keep reading books on different subject matters, but your WRWL ratio will certainly diminish the more you read.

A beginner could have 1/1 and advanced learner could have 200/1 – just look at the responses here. The higher the vocab count the higher the ratio.

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