Known words in korean
I agree with the others in that specific word count is irrelevant and LingQ's word count for different levels is way too low. These levels could easily be 1.5-2x higher than they are currently. With that said, the word count is a really good way to track your progress over time, but the more important metric is words read. If you track words read then it's a better comparison language to language and overall it's much better way to measure ability in language. If you aim for 2-3 million words read then you'll be in pretty good shape.
Adding on to what Jkrogers stated, I use the known word count as a metric to track my own progress and not much else. That's all that matters anyways, you can't go to someone and tell them "I know 76,000 words in Korean!" and expect them to understand your vocabulary aptitude through such a figure alone because no one tracks the language ability of others with this method, all that matters to other people is how effectively you can communicate.
I also use it to track my own progress. however, in past languages since they didn't have particles that attached to other words it was easy to say to myself, ok i've learned x amount of words this week etc. however when particles are involved it's a bit harder because the same word could be counted as multiple words just because of the different particles added to it. :)
Personally I don't treat the word count as a metric of 'word count' but rather the number of variations of patterns I have seen in the language. I don't find a true metric of 'word count' to be particularly useful which I think is why I think the system was designed with a focus on 'patterns' rather than 'words'. The brain does poorly with words in isolation, even if you know the word, knowing it doesn't bring the emotion connection to the word.
So personally I don't pay much attention to the value of the metrics but to the words, patterns, and phrases because at the end of the day metrics don't teach me the language, the language itself is my teacher. It is more important to me that I am exposing myself to the language and making a consistent habit of it which has been a struggle for me lately. I do have a problem with their ranks of when you should call yourself intermediate 1/2, etc because since the focus is on 'patterns' not 'words, the numbers are too low. While my 'words/phrase' count has just broken 10K I don't feel I am intermediate yet and although I am able to speak to my Korean wife and her family is a small amount, it is still difficult to both produce and understand at times. And the feeling of understanding comes and goes based on the vocabulary I have acquired vs what they use with me and the speed at which they speak.
Languages take time and exposure to comprehensible input that is enjoyable as quoted from Dr. Stephen Krashen. So just focus on enjoying the act of reading by itself rather than metrics is probably the best way to go in my opinion. The metrics tell you if you are actually spending 'real' time with the language which I have failed at lately.
On the topic of whether I know a word or phrase or not is whether I feel the emotional connection to the meaning, it is a difficult thing to describe. It's basically feeling of knowing the word for what it represents without having to translate it in my head. It is almost like calling the word a Synonym to the word that if I chose to use the Korean word in English I would say it and recognize it without having to reference back to the original word.
So for me, words will stay in 1 or 2 until I feel very close connection to the word, if the connection is very strong but not enough to say the word is Known it I'll put it at 4 but the majority of words I "know" but the emotional connection feeling of "Knowing" isn't there completely yet I'll put at a 3. Once I truly feel I know and recognize the word for what it is, is when I mark as known. If I don't recognize the form of the word whether it be a new verb ending or particle subjugation, I might put it at a 3 or 4 depending on how I feel about that particular grammar construct. If all that I don't know is the grammar being applied then I immediately put it to at least a 3.
LingQ considers all words you put at a 4 or higher to be "Known" words. It is for this reason I put most words I am getting close to but I don't want to consider known yet at 3 instead of 4. Words I put at 4 are ones I still want to pay attention to because there is something about them that eludes me.
Thanks for the reply, that is a very well thought out response and after some thought I think I agree with you. :)
So far the only language I have used Lingq to learn is Swedish, and for that the word count was quite accurate but I see now I've been looking at it all wrong.
You say very well thought out but it was literally me spilling my thoughts out in a very random order, haha! But I am glad I could be of help. I don't know a lot about Swedish but I'm sure that the same rules would apply in some respect.
P. S. I was probably editing it while you were typing your response, haha!
lol Swedish is much like English in that regard. Each word is a unique word. Korean and Japanese have particles which attach to words so the word will be the same but it will have a particle attached to it to signify that it's a subject, or an object, or various other things.