Who are some of the most successful / productive LingQ users of all time?

Just wondering which people top the lists for known words in LingQ overall. I´ve found some interesting ones I´ve come across while studying and browsing here, but I´m sure there are many more, especially in languages I´ve not tried so far myself.

Swedish Finn polymath, high numbers in quite a few languages.

Steve Kaufmann himself of course:

The Swedish Polyglot - don´t think I´ve seen anyone (except maybe Steve, didn´t actually add the total numbers) with a higher total of known words so far:

Kristiansand, who is #1 in known words for both Spanish and Norwegian:

who else?


Quite remarkable numbers from these people. I wonder how many hours they’ve spent on LingQ. Or what their language backgrounds look like. Did they grow up speaking multiple languages at home? Did they know these languages prior to coming to LingQ. I don’t think i’ll ever pursue that many languages. I love learning languages, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to reach fluency. I think reaching fluency in listening comprehension and reading comprehension in a few languages is good enough for me. And in 1 language shoot for fluency in all areas.


I disagree that most successful people are necessarily those with the highest number of known words.
I would rather be interested in people who have the highest reading and listening statistics, because it shows their time spent here. Known words mean little as someone can add words like crazy, especially with auto paging, but then not revise/delete them. After all we forget a large portion of acquired words, so the question is whether a given person updates the real number of known words.
In my case I often delete known words if only I hesitate a moment with their recognition, but still I don’t trust my statistics.


Last time I checked, the purpose of this site was to learn languages!!!
Successful users are using and enjoying the language/s they’ve learned, travelling, meeting people, creating something, contributing to society, …
Someone obsessing about how many words they accumulate in an online app is, at least in my book, not successful, and even less productive.
This is one of the most egregious cases of Goodhart’s law I have ever encountered Goodhart's law - Wikipedia.

You are right and I should have worded the topic differently, like “who have been the most successful in terms of known words?” You are also right that people can have low standards regarding when to count words as known or even just cheat, flip pages without reading

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I am sure some knew some of the languages quite well before they began with LingQ. Check out Kristiansand’s Spanish stats though, he seems to have started at a low level and just put an incredible amount of time and effort into it.

The thread should have been worded differentldifferently. It should really say “… most successful on LinQ in terms of total known words”, not successful in general, which is hardly possible to measure or even qualify that well.

My point is not about naming. It is about the “logic” behind this line of reasoning.
There is a strong tendency to take whatever available stats there is, no matter how arbitrary or how restricted it is in use, and turn it into an ultimate measure of “success”.
This is quite absurd and ultimately harmful for the whole process of learning.
All Lingq stats are useful as a measure of personal progress but outside of that frame of reference they are absolutely meaningless. They don’t measure any kind of “success”, however you want to phrase it. The goal is to learn languages. Your number of known words on Lingq is a incredibly poor measure for that and fixating on it will only harm your progress.
Essentially, this makes as much sense as trying to find the best modern mathematicians by the number of Khan Academy videos on the subject they have watched.

I really should have just named the thread “… which users have managed to accumulate the highest total numbers of known words”. The word “successful” seems to have annoyed a few people here.

Who has been most successful in languages or just used LingQ most successfully is a whole other and much more complicated topic. Ditto for how much or little the know words count has to do with one’s actual ability in a language.

It has not “annoyed” me, and once again, the naming is not important. I am just pointing out that using the wrong metric for “success” results in distortion and misconceptions.
Lingq stats simply are not designed to compare between people or languages. As a measure they are not “reliable” because different people will declare a given word as known based on very different criteria and even do it differently at different stages (not to mention that what is offered as a possible word is highly arbitrary to start with, try Japanese). They are also not valid because they are very bad predictors of language competence.
The term “success” implies a previous goal. The fact that you used it shows that you do think that one of the goals on Lingq is maximize stats and not only that, but do so in relation to other users. Just thinking of it in those terms is incredibly misguided. My point is about that, I really advise you and all users not to mistake means for ends.
Besides, you wrote:
Meaning that you think that the availability of a measure may at least partially make up for its indequacy. This is simply not so, and I say it is mostly a case of “Nasruddin’s logic”:

To sum up. I’m not “annoyed” and I don’t think the naming of the thread is o any importance. It is just thaty your post really suggests that you are assuming a couple of ideas which, to my mind, are both wrong and harmful, and also, all too common.
You invited comments, so I commented about this topic as candidly as I could.
That’s all.

Just to add my take to this: SOME of the people here with very high numbers of known words also exhibit some odd behaviors on the forum that makes me believe they’re either at the higher end of the autistic spectrum, or dealing with some types of personal issues and are using languages as an outlet for that. (Not all, but certainly some – and I’m sure you’ve all seen the examples.) So, I don’t really view high word counts in and of themselves as something to admire – especially when those word counts are accompanied by forum posts that I find questionable.


To be perfectly honest, something along those lines was also on the back of my mind when I read the OP. I don’t want to single out anyone or judge anyone’s behavior, because we all struggle at times, much less risk a diagnosis. I have a lot of respect for everyone here, independently of any quirks they (or we?) may show.
However, you’re absolutely right that obsession with social-app stats, especially if we attach terms such as “success” or “productivity” to them, can be terribly unhealthy.
This is in fact one of the main problems of glorifying obsession and unreal measures. They don’t work as a real measure of progress, they are detrimental to real success in language learning but, above all, they can even get in the way of a healthy life in the real world.
Let’s use language learning for what is really supposed to be: communicate, get to know new cultures, new people, new ideas. We’ll connect with the reall world and be healthier and happier as a result.
Let’s not turn it into mindless word counting or false bragging points on an app or we’ll get the exact opposite results.

Being annoyed is no crime anyway and I have no problem with you giving your opinion and think you have made some valid points.

I do like to have some goals to motivate me to learn. Maxing known words stats is one way to do it, even though it´s limited and mostly helps with reading ability, less with writing ability and much less with speaking and listening ability. You can lose yourself in the word count (or other stats) to a degree and that can indeed be counterproductive to you learning the language as best as you could. You could neglect speaking, listening, writing for sure. Then again there´s the question of what is available to you. Not everyone who has LingQ necessarily has the same options of interacting with others, from Corona problems, to bad sound on your computer to slow internet connections etc.

I agree that you can´t compare word counts between people to accurately know which one knows the language better, not even as far as reading goes. If someone is already fluent in a language or far along in it at least, but haven´t been reading it on LingQ for long, the count is obviously going to be too low. Same thing if they are only using LingQ a bit here and there and mostly learning through other methods. Also, like you pointed out, ppl will have different ways of marking words as known. Some are more eager to do it, some ignore names, foreign words, compound words etc. while others add them. The occasional weirdos even cheat and just spam in known words. Thus if you want to compare word counts between people to have an idea who is more advanced in reading, you´d need to know other things about them (sometimes their other stats would give an idea) and even then the comparison would be a rough estimate.

Even with that, I think people who have honestly gotten to high word counts, 40K+ are very, very likely to be highly literate in the language. If they have 30K+ in multiple languages, let alone very high numbers like 50-70K, without cheating, they are highly likely to be skilled language learners and could be called “successful”. It interests me which users have such stats for a number of reasons. Who are these people, where are they from, what languages did they learn, what drives them, are some cheating? … and so on.

This link you posted is somewhat off actually. The word count (as long as you actually work to achieve it) does to some degree correlate positively to one´s ability in a language (at the very least the ability to read it), where having better light in a place where nothing is to be found correlates 100% negatively with finding things. If I had, say, the goal to learn Ukranian on LingQ, but only read Spanish instead because there is more material in Spanish, or wanted to learn Faroese and would still use LingQ to do it when it doesn´t have Faroese, because I think LingQ is effective to learn languages in general, then the comparison in the story in the link you posted would hold much better.

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You can see some of the stats that indicate how much time people have spent on LingQ, like read words and hours of listening. You can often get an idea of how much they knew before starting by seeing whether the lingqs to known words ratio is low or not.

Wow I’m a bit surprised at the replies to your post. People are taking your question way more serious than I think you intended. I seen your question as just a fun question. I thought I was going to see a bunch of links to different accounts that have done a great job on LingQ.
(Not that your known words count on LingQ is like this super big thing to be obsessed about.)
I don’t know. I read your post as more of a fun thing to take a look at.


I think you are right about that. I´ve seen some posts like that where it´s a bit like people are using the forum as therapy. But that is one of the things I find interesting: Who are the people with the highest word counts? Are some of them on the autism spectrum? Are some cheating to get there? Are some a little narcissistic? Are many of them people who already knew the languages well? Are many from countries where there are many official languages, like Switzerland? Have many learned languages from just about scratch when they started them on LingQ?

I am also on the autism spectrum myself and that makes me have tendencies to get somewhat obsessed about stats in this exact way. I get stuck on having to reach certain known word goals, levels and even items for the silly avatar and just have to reach them before being able to move on. Then I get new goals into my head and this can be hard to break out of. So I do have some of those perhaps unhealthy tendencies and I do think being on the spectrum makes it more likely for people to fall into that cycle. Not that this is purely bad. It does make you learn quite a lot too, just a little too one dimensionally.

Your ability to read a language is obviously just one aspect of you total ability with it. You could certainly read one perfectly without even knowing how any of it sounds, you could even do it if you were literally deaf and mute. I´d like to focus more on listening and especially conversing and interacting, but the sound on my PC is problematic right now, using the mobile phone is not as convenient, arranging online chats with ppl to learn is more involved than just getting online and learning whenever you want, meeting ppl for real is even more involved and sometimes hard in the times of Corona etc. Just need to kick myself in the behind.

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Yes I should just have named it “Which users have the highest total word counts on LingQ”. The word “success” or “successful” and “productive” is what I should have left out, but then again I have maybe it´s good I kept it in, because it sparked some interesting conversation here.

I do think you can say one has had success in increasing their known word count, as long as they actually worked for it (didn´t just flip pages without reading or used a web client program etc.) but I agree that on it´s own it´s a poor measure of your total ability in a language.

The activity rating is probably quite a lot better to look at for motivation, as it´s more balanced.

The lost key story is a metaphor. As all metaphors, it is not supposed to be a perfect match. Of course, counting words to measure “success” is slightly less absurd than looking for a key elsewhere just because it is lighter. But slightly is the key word here. The point of the metaphor is that you’re fixating in a measure just because it is readily available, disregarding how inadequate it is, which results in wrong conclusions and undesired results.
If you want to get a bit technical, number of know words (real ones, of which Lingq only provides an estimation) are a good estimator of low level in a language, not of a high one.
That is, vocabulary size is very predictive at low numbers: e.g. if you only now a few dozens words in a language, it is clear that your level sucks. As vocabulary level increases it becomes less predictive. For example, someone with a 1000-word vocabulary is very probably better at it than someone with 500. However you can’t say anything about the comparative level in a language of one person who knows 50,000 words and another who knows 50,500 (same difference), it’s even very probable that the first one has a higher level. For example you can expect many foreign, well-educated speakers who can understand a lot of techical vocabluary in their expertise domain but who are way less competent in the language than less educated native speakers.
Anyway, this is a reflection on real vocabulary size. LIngq stats are another matter entirely for reasons that we have already discussed, being much less predictive, in particular for comparing speakers, even less if you do so across languages. For example, someone who comes to Lingq, read here for a time, as they keep on listening and speaking the language. then after they get to a good level, goes on to read unassisted and use the language in real life to become a very fluent speaker, would have a low count. I would consider that case to be the best example of a “success” story. Certainly over your stat maximizing idols.
Anyway, besides the inaccuracy, the main problem with your leaderscore approach to language learning is the effects it ends up having on learners as mentioned above.
The bottomline is that, because of its diminishing predictive power and its bias towards pure stat maximizing, at very high levels, Lingq stats are mostly a measure of obsession, not level.

I agree know words count alone doesn’t reflect your total ability in a language. But it does show your potential in that language. Know words count and amount of words read show how good of a reader you are. Which carries over into how good your listening comprehension could potential be.

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It´s an indicator. It´s not completely meaningless.