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Statistics – Measuring My Language Learning Progress

This week I want to talk about statistics – not something I usually care to talk about as the thought of stats makes me yawn uncontrollably – but there is something to be said for statistics when they’re all about me, me, me!  And although boring, statistics are an excellent way of measuring my language learning progress.
I am a month into my 90-Day Spanish Challenge and in the past week I have worked harder than ever because A. I had been slacking off a bit and B. My stats revealed my slacking off.

For a while I had been planning to do a short video for YouTube where Steve Kaufmann aka LingoSteve and I discuss my progress in learning Spanish. In case you are new to all of this, Steve is the cofounder of LingQ and a polyglot who speaks 12+ languages, a sort of language guru, if you will.

My Statistics

Steve and I decided that now was a good time to do this video as the one month “anniversary” of my challenge was coming up on Friday (February 20th) and that’s when I realized I’d better study harder. I did not want my stats and thereby my video to be too awkward, with me having to explain why I hadn’t studied hard enough. So I studied for a couple of hours every day and actually had a lot of fun while doing it.

Here’s the video:

I am starting to pick up way more than before, and as I am getting to know the ins and outs of LingQ and all the different things you can do in there, studying Spanish is becoming more and more enjoyable.

In the video Steve and I talk about my stats in between giggling like two little school girls. I am not entirely sure why we did that, I am not used to seeing or hearing myself on video; I get shy (look at the handwringing – what’s that about?) and don’t particularly like it, but Steve makes these videos all the time, all of which is irrelevant as fun was had by all, even Alex our cameraman, colleague and the best non-Korean to speak Korean that I have ever met. (He is also the only one, but that doesn’t make his skills less impressive and he uses LingQ too). 

Once we are done giggling we actually talk about the last 30 days’ statistics. Turns out Steve is rather impressed by the number of LingQs that I have created. When I ask him how many LingQs I am supposed to create (something I should know), he says I am supposed to create roughly 400. At 1200 I have created 3 times as many. To him that’s the most important indicator because creating LingQs means that I am looking at words and trying to notice things, and not only that, it also means that I am covering a lot of content (I do that, not because I am a good student, but rather because I get bored easily and therefore look at many different lessons, but I don’t tell Steve that). I suppose this is a good lesson to anyone doing the 90-Day Challenge; create as many LingQs as you possibly can. Steve knows what he is talking about, he speaks so many different languages and he has learned nearly all of them using the LingQ method.

Before you run away thinking that this is nothing but shameless self-promotion, please take a look at the video. In it we actually talk about how LingQ isn’t completely flawless. A good example is when we talk about my hours of listening. As you can see from the image above, it looks as though I am not at all reaching my goal in that category. I have in fact been listening to my playlists on the LingQ iOS app a lot while working out at the gym lately, unfortunately there have been some syncing issues with the app lately so my offline listening time hasn’t been recording properly. I am supposed to put that in manually, but I totally forget, which I am sure other people do as well, luckily I can put it in at any time. This is something that will be dealt with in the next iOS update. I will personally look forward to that, anything that makes me and my stats look better is a good thing.

Overall I am doing much better than I thought, and I am quite proud of my statistics thus far, Steve asks me about my Spanish comprehension skills and I get a little perplexed because I am not quite sure what to say to that. How much am I supposed to understand at this point? 30 days into learning Spanish. It really isn’t a very long time, so my answer is that when I read and listen at the same time, I kind of understand a lot and when I just listen it is a different story. To my surprise Steve says that he has the same experience in learning Korean. When he reads simple content he understands a lot, but he is only able to understand difficult content if he reads and listens at the same time. I am pretty relieved by this admission, because if a language learner as experienced as Steve still experiences some of the same issues as me, then maybe I will in fact one day be able to habla español.


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  • Séamus
    February 24, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Hey, firstly keep up the good work! I’m currently studying Polish and using a Harry Potter book to do so. The content is beyond my current level but I understand and follow what is going when I read and listen at the same time. However, when I merely listen – I’ve no idea! It’s great to here others, especially Steve, have this is issue. I won’t give up as enjoy the story and the process and I have faith that this will eventually take me to high level in Polish.
    Good luck,

    • Lykke
      February 24, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      Harry Potter – Brilliant. That’s a great idea, especially if you read it in English first. Maybe I should do something like that too. I have never read Harry Potter, so I have to think of something else. PS. Séamus, what a cool name.

  • Carol
    February 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    I like the fact that proper names give you credit for a word. It is like getting a free known word. Tee Hee…

    • Lykke
      February 24, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Yes – I know ha ha ha. I try to do the right thing and click the ‘Ignore this word’ button, but sometimes I cheat 😉

  • Carol
    February 25, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    I did not know there was an Ignore button!! What is most encouraging was your struggle to get started. So I am going to study some more now. I thought you were great on camera! Thanks for making the video.

    • Lykke
      February 25, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Oh yes there is, or your can use the little X in the status bar. That’s the thing with LingQ – there are so many cool features that aren’t obvious enough. My job with this blog is not just learning Spanish, it is also trying to let other people know about these features while I figure them out.
      Thanks for your compliment 🙂

  • Carol
    February 25, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    We have all the Harry Potter books in French. They are my daughter’s. I am reading Madeline in French now, one paragraph at a time. I would like to read Harry Potter in Chinese too. That is my other big language interest.

  • mmaisonette
    March 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

    Hello, Lykke!

    That information is essential for any language learning and LingQ is doing a great job in provide this type of statistical progress, in my point of view.

    We tend to study and apply our efforts without any control, knowing that is generating a result once we achieve our goals. But my question is: and if we stuck in the learning process, what to do next? In which part of this process we need to employee more time and efforts? That is difficult to know, usually.

    Because this type of situation, when I start to study a language, I like to know how my progress is in that language, in numbers (beyond other factors, of course). That kind of information can help me know, exactly, in which point of my learning process I need to be more focused (for example: number of known words).

    Keep up with your learning program!



  • All Graduates | Japanese Translation Service
    April 7, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Great post on self-measuring your progress for language learning. A lot of people who do self-study often forget about it, and it is also wonderful that you will be encountering limitations in using LingQ iOS. This will help users know what they can do to go around such limitations and still continue with their language learning.

    • Lykke
      April 8, 2015 at 9:12 am

      I hope to do more posts like that, about the functionality of LingQ – thanks for the compliment 🙂

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