Word count and level

Could somebody be very kind and try and tell me what kind of word count you usually have at each level, obviously it depends on how comfortable you are with a language and other factors such as that, but could somebody just try and tell me
E.g 0-500 no knowledge or something like that for all the levels

It will depend on the language. We should try to establish levels,

I would estimate for English as follows

1,000 words level one
2,500 words level two
5,000 words level three
8,000 words level four
12,000 words level five
15,000 words level six

This assumes that these words are acquired honestly, through lots of reading and listening and lingqing, and that the learner is doing more and more writing and speaking as he or she progresses.

I could do some research and show how word count relates to TOEIC scores. I think I am close. Bear in mind that we count words, and not word families, and this means a 1.6 gross up in the numbers.

What do others think? And how much should we gross up the numbers in the case of inflected languages?

When you look into your profile and look up “All time” for each level, you will see the target number for the respective stage - at least that’s how I have always looked upon it.

steve is level one no knowledge or beginner one

As SanneT points out, you can see the “All time” targets in the progress snapshot. Those are the numbers you are looking for. In general, we don’t really think anyone should be No Knowledge or stay No Knowledge for long.

No matter what level I put it on it says 15,000

Actually, the targets don’t refresh properly when you change the level. You actually have to change the level, then change the time period to something else, then switch back to All Time to see the new Known Words target.

For some reason it isn’t working on mine are they what steve wrote?

For German, they are:


with the first one being beginner one

Also do you know the ones for spanish as I am learning that aswell

I figure that in Russian 30 000 gets you to the start of intermediate 2. That includes proper nouns, numbers, and words in all the different cases, numbers, genders etc as you encounter them in your reading. The “built in” targets in LingQ are much lower than that, and I grumble intermittently that they are too low.

Yes, I also think the “built in” targets in LingQ are much lower than the real level. Although I got 20000 words (including many specific terms, Japanese words) in French, there still are many basic words (including verbs’ conjugations). I always find out such words are blue-highlighted even in beginner one texts.
In conclusion, each one has each domain. Some one is musician mathematician, business man, etc. So he or she is more familiar with certain terms than others. Counting level is, in my opinion, a certain indicator to motivate learners, but is not perfect one.

But passive knowledge of the words and active knowledge - it makes a great difference!
For speaking we need active knowledge of the words, for reading passive knowledge is also OK.


We cannot, in my view, know words actively without first knowing them passively. We cannot speak if we do not understand. Accumulating a large number of words in one’s passive vocabulary is the easiest way to prepare for effective speaking. Passive vocabulary represents our potential active vocabulary, but will always greatly exceed our active vocabulary. The richer our passive vocabulary, the better we understand, the more words we can pick up, and the greater our active vocabulary can eventually become.

I do agree that at some point we need to speak , and to speak a lot. I feel that need now in my Russian. I did not feel it two years ago, or even one year ago. I have been at Russian for over three years.


These numbers are only meant as a rough guide, a Gordian knot solution, a single measurable factor. Of course we need to do many things to make these words come alive, and that includes writing and speaking. The choice of when and how much to write and speak should be up to the learner, and will depend on his or her personality and opportunities.

The LingQ stats (known words in particular) are only a rough guide to our level, however they are an indicator that we can see going up, that we can MAKE go up, even on a day when we don’t feel very industrious.

There are times over the last two years when I might have lost heart with learning Russian. Playing mind games with my LingQ stats kept me going!

My favourite game is “I’m going to get a higher activity score than Steve!” Some months I win, some months I lose :wink:

All this counting is a bit ridiculous because we use in our everyday spoken language only 3000-4000 words. But you have to know them active - to understand and to speak automaticly without a moment’s delay!
For reading the thick novels we need more words - but if you know firmly these 3000 words, the others would be for 80% derivations of these 3000 words!
I don’t know about Shakespeare, but our Puschkin used only 11000 words in all his works - and he is considered fairly the best Russian writer. Just not only the words, but word combinations and interesting idioms make the language.

Not everyone agrees with the word counting, but I find a useful measure and stimulus to action. As to only needing 3,000 words or so, I simply do not find this to be the case.

If I read Pushkin I find words I do not know and these are often the key words. If I listen to an interview on Echo Moskvi, the same, and when I have a discussion with my tutors at LingQ, I also find the same. I need words, words that I understand which eventually become words that I use. The more I know,the better I understand, the more new words I can pick up and infer, the more I enjoy listening and reading, and eventually the better I can express myself.

Words, are to me, the key. But others may have a different experience in language learning. And everyone should pursue their own path. The word count at LingQ is there for those who find it useful. It is just one feature of many.

Some people really need numerical targets and feel lost at sea without them.