Will it just click one day - Inspiration Needed

I’ve been learning German for a couple of years and have tried several methods from Skype lessons to conversation exchanges.

I found LingQ about 6 months ago and it is now my primary focus and I feel my goal of being able to put fluent German on my CV is now possible if I put the time in.

LingQ has decided I know around 10,000 words but I feel this is not really the case and I am still a long way from my goal of being able to understand German podcasts, videos, newspapers or just chatting fluently.

But I do get a feeling when I try and do these things that I have a level of understanding within me that is still below conscious awareness but somehow growing - like something growing inside me.

I am wondering how this matches other peoples journey/experience and if something will just click one day and the understanding will just come?


No it will be many small clicks over a long period of time.

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Some small clicks and some big clicks. I was watching a tv series the other day and forgot that it wasn’t in my native language - that was a nice big click.

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Great! Inspiration needed too for the same language. I guess it’ll be a long slow process. Unfortunately I can’t go to Germany soon due to the situation we are all living so I hope it’ll click just by working on it at home.

It really depends on what you’re actually doing and the kind of methodology and materials you use, because “learning for a couple of years” can mean a lot of things. Bottom line is, if you’re at 10K words on LingQ, I highly recommend that you start reading books with LingQ while listening along with the audiobook. This method is guaranteed to get you very far, very fast – after an initial period of seeming sluggishness while you get used to how it actually works.


I’m at around 24K in German right now. I can understand a lot from the videos I watch on YT. However there is still a lot that I don’t understand. If I turn on the news and try to listen as closely as I can, I’m pretty much lost. I have always felt that 30K known words and 300 hours of listening is the sweet spot.
(Talking about German, not other languages) It seem though that with 30K you will understand pretty much most things. However 30K does not seem to be enough if you want to read a random novel in German off a book self. Maybe my numbers are off, but 40K seems to be that number where you can understand anything that is throw at you. (Except super specific topics that you never read or listen to)
I haven’t reached 30K or 40K yet though. If anyone here has. How would you describe your level?


Just have to keep plugging away. A known word count of 10,000 ultimately still means you are less than halfway to understanding native level content.

There’s been many steps along the way where I think I’m much further along than I really am, only to find I’m woefully lacking =D. I’m a little further ahead of you on the LingQ scale, but I feel this particular point on the scale is going to to a bit of a long slog that will feel like we aren’t progressing much. Especially as the new words we come across come up much more infrequent.

I think it comes in waves though…some days I feel “wow” I’m really making great steps. Other days it feels like I’m a complete newbie and everything feels all mixed up in the head. I think it’s just part of the process and you just need to know that if you keep plugging away you’ll make it. You just have to enjoy the process and what you are doing and not make it a race. I’m only generally able to work at it about a half hour or so a day, so I know it can’t be a sprint for me. It’s going to me a marathon or even one of those ultra marathon events, but I’m having fun. I’ve started to read books like t_harangi suggested. I feel I need a lot more listening than what I’ve done…This year has been a bit of a damper on that as much of my listening I would do in the car.


I’ve just reached 50K known words in German and I’m starting to think about ending my streak, and even abandoning LingQ altogether - native content started to be comprehensible, and getting 100 words per day got tiresome.
There wasn’t any particular click-moment in terms of understanding. Comprehension grows in quite a linear way for me, unfortunately.
To put it in perspective, I started German from zero here at LingQ exactly 523 days ago. To be honest, it turned out to be much bigger time investment than I expected, or planned. Nevertheless, I like this type of fun.
You can easily achieve fluent comprehension here, but don’t forget to work on speaking, if you need it.


What do you mean reading books with LingQ?

You can import DRM free books into LingQ…pdf, epub, mobi, etc.

So if you can find DRM free books in those formats you can import them. That’s the tricky part to some extent because Amazon will be likely the best resource and it has DRM. If you search the forums I’ve got a post or two about how you can do it via Calibre, but it seems it doesn’t work for everyone. The other option I think I’ve seen around is “epubor” website. I think you can try it for free, but otherwise you need to pay for, but if you search the forums you may be able to find out more about that.

If you like Harry Potter, you can order the books in german from the pottermoore website. The books there are DRM free.

You can then click the + sign on the Lingq website and click import book. The book will be chopped up into lessons of around 2200 words each (unfortunately the chapter breaks aren’t part of that).

You can also import books that are freely available…many of these are older so you may or may not enjoy those.

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thanks a lot for explaining

The search isn’t working particularly well it appears. I went and dug through my posts to find something.

Here’s a thread…around the “5 month” mark on the thread I describe the process. I think someone also provided a link to some other instructions.

Or simply use that epubor website… https://www.epubor.com/

I know a couple of people on here have had good success when the Calibre conversion hasn’t worked for them.

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That’s really cool though 100 words a day and you can understand native content in 18 months.

I wish I had discovered LingQ 3 years ago. I have wasted so much time with all the usual apps, lessons and language exchanges but have mad more progress in 6 months of LingQ than I did in the previous 2 years. Great to know the goal is achievable if you keep working.

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What kind of time investment per day were you averaging with LingQ for 100 words a day? That seems like a tremendous number to me. What was your method for doing that? I assume 100 new LingQs per day, how did you then study those?

Hats off to you though, that’s serious dedication. I’m struggling at low levels because the materials are mostly news articles at the moment and to be frank, that’s kind of depressing these days. haha So hopefully when I get some more vocabulary memorized I’ll open up better source material and things can accelerate.

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At least one person got to more than 100,000 known words on LingQ and felt that LingQ’s advanced level 2 in German was not representative of true understanding, as like you, it seemed impossible to understand videos, newspapers or chat fluently. This was roughly five years ago. Ginkgo58’s profile disappeared as a result and started anew a couple of years later and now has around ~20,000 known words instead of 100,000+

Of course it won’t all just click one day! It will click gradually over time, each new insight will act as a strong, resounding click, giving you the inspiration you need to continue your language journey


  • The more you exposure yourself to it and work at it, the better you get! It’s sort of like going to the gym. If you skip a day or two, who cares? If you skip a week or two, you may notice a tiny difference, if you skip a month or two, you may need to spend time making some adjustments. If you skip a year or two, you’ll find that it is not just a question of picking up where you last left off. Real focus is required to ensure you don’t just give up disappointed that such a long break has taken its toil in some way.
  • You never completely forget! There’s an amazing thing called muscle memory which means you never really start from zero. This is true both for language learning and for the gym. You remember your experience and you know more about how to approach things than a true beginner. Both your body and brain still retain remnants of what you trained hard at in the past.
  • It’s truly inspirational and it gives you a high! This could be the “click” you’re waiting for. You’re struggling away at the gym or struggling at learning a language and feeling crappy and demotivated. It feels too much and you feel you are not really getting anywhere. Many factors play a role, and sometimes you have to wait a bit longer for it to show up than you might like. As you keep pushing yourself, your body and brain will start to tune in and you’ll experience the “feel-good factor” from your language learning or going to the gym. As it happens, there are several neurotransmitters in your brain associated with the feeling of reward (such as dopamine, endorphins to name just two) and this feeling is hugely motivating.

Steve just put out a video a few days ago relating language learning to doing a pile of dishes. Language Learning and Multitasking - YouTube

On LingQ you’ve read 260000 words and marked 10900 word forms as known.
I played around with information from Paul Nation’s article about extensive reading and made the following table connecting it to known word forms (LingQs):
Comprehension - Known words - Cumulative read words - Known word forms on LingQ

  • 81,5% - 1k - 200k - 5,0k
  • 88,2% - 2k - 400k - 10,0k
  • 91,6% - 3k - 700k - 17,5k
  • 94,2% - 4k - 1200k - 30,0k
  • 95,5% - 5k - 2200k - 55,0k
  • 96,4% - 6k - 3700k - 92,5k
  • 97,1% - 7k - 5700k - 142,5k
  • 97,5% - 8k - 8200k - 205,0k
  • 97,9% - 9k - 11200k - 280,0k
    In German I am at 74k LingQs, I’ve read 3000k words, so I’m around 5,5k known words and 96% comprehension. And that’s true, since I’ve got lots of texts that are at 2-5% unknown LingQs if they’re about general topics.
    The same is for my French with 17k LingQs and 657k read words. I understand about 90%, so I should be at about 3k “real words”.
    Since you did not start to learn German from scratch on LingQ and your word count is not high, your values could deviate from the table, but it seems that for me it works for two languages that I learn actively.

The article: https://nflrc.hawaii.edu/rfl/October2014/articles/nation.pdf

Edit 1. When I discovered this article and saw that the values work for me, it was very sobering to see the changing ratio between the known LingQs and known words that starts at 5 and then gradually climbs to 30 when your experience in language grows. It happens while you encounter more variations of the same word stem over time, so learning new words by reading slows down.

Edit 2. So, in your case you’re about 2-3k known words and that’s not enough to enjoy the language (to make it click). You will have Aha-moments here and there all the way through, though.
For me constant clicking started at about 55k LingQs when I began to have frequent goose bumps while reading, listening or speaking. Before it was more of a grind.

If you keep your reading at 43k/month (260k in 6 months or < 6 pages/day) then in 2 years you’ll have about 1300k read words, 32k known LingQs and about 4k known words with over 94% comprehension. Of course I’m not talking about listening and speaking ability, they should be trained separately.
I’d say that after 5k known words the gain/effort ratio gets worse, but you can enjoy the language a lot more than before.


This is amazing analysis and also a little bit disheartening :slight_smile:

The first 200k words of reading get you a massive increase from 0% comprehension to 81.5% but the next 200k words of reading only bring you an increase of 6.7%

It seems the key metrics here are Cumulative read words and % Comprehension.

I have recently got my daily number of words up to around 4k

If I can get that up to 8k a day in 6 months I will have 1440k read words so should be hitting that 94% comprehension. That is a really good goal to aim for.


Great information. Thank you. Also thanks for the article link. I’d been recently hearing of this Paul Nation and/or this article and hadn’t had a chance to search around for some of what he’s said or written.


So if I buy a DRM free EBook and import it does that mean everyone on LingQ will be able to read it and can I delete it once I am done? I am a bit concerned about breaking copyright laws etc

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