Known Words Versus LingQs?

Humble_Learner us United States

Today I created 139 new LingQs but added only 3 words to my "Known Words" total. Is that normal? A healthy amount of progress? I notice that the known words totals fluctuate vis-à-vis promotion / demotion of LingQed words. For example, clicking #1, 2, 3 or 4 . . . Add LingQs and sometimes the known words total sinks. Kind of disheartening. Is this normal? At this rate, I'll never advance to intermediate.

March 14 at 05:34
  • ftornay es Spain

    It probably is. You can expect your lingq-to-know-words ratio to vary very substantially depending on several factors including your current level and simply random daily variations. Stats tend to go up in bursts, don't think that you're not progressing simply because it is not yet reflected in your numbers, you're getting used to the language and that will show up in time.

    March 17 at 13:48
    • Humble_Learner us United States


      Thanks very much for your intelligent response. I understand better now. And I definitely notice the fluctuations about which you wrote.

      You certainly have the polyglot bug! Lots of language exploration. Am guessing you're familiar with the Loeb Classics vis-à-vis Latin and ancient Greek. Glad that French mythology book triggered your language interests.

      Happy learning !!

      March 17 at 15:48
  • RychkovSS ru Russian Federation

    That's absolutely normal. One day statistics does not matter, look at what happened in a month or 90 days.

    To improve the ratio you could:

    1. Work on a easier material. When I get too many LingQs,/day it means that the text is too difficult for me.

    2. Reread texts at least once after some time to recognize the unknown words, and after another pause skim through the same text for the 3rd time to collect the "breadcrumbs" - another couple of words that you know.

    When you are a beginner in a language you have a higher LingQs/Known words ratio, then it will drop. One year ago I was getting 2500 learned words to 1500 LingQs a month. Now it's 4000 learned words to 1500 LingQs a month. And I put the same effort into learning.

    I simply recognize more new words now, since they are similar to what I've already learned.

    Monday at 13:48
    • Humble_Learner us United States

      Rychkov, thanks for your feedback. Helpful assertion about perspective, i.e., observing progress and trends over a month versus a day or two. Thanks also for the tips on the complexity of material to target for study. Will start watching the week-to-week and month-to-month trends to see how the known words vs. lingQs ratio evolves.

      BTW: Kudos on your language learning !! Wow. Commendable effort and achievement.

      Wednesday at 01:43
  • herbm us United States

    I think it isn't normal despite the other answer(s).

    It's pretty hard to read interesting material and not find more known words than that unless you are in a language with a completely different writing system and almost no cognates -- if you speak English (as you message would suggest) there are cognates or borrowed words in almost all languages.

    To create 139 LingQs you would probably have to process quite a few words -- unless it was your first foray into the language and you didn't recognize ANYTHING already.

    It's possible, but not normal unless you are in unusual circumstances.

    Learning French from English, I typically see about 900 new words as I create about 300 LingQs each day.

    It was a lot more new words in the beginning when I recognized the easier and more common words that French shares with English.

    It will vary with the material you are reading, with your own vocabulary, and with how many words you are choosing to LingQ -- I don't LingQ words I am sure that I know.

    Oddly when you first start out -- especially in a language with very few obvious cognates -- you won't know many "extra" words automatically, and when you achieve tens of thousands of words the "new words" become harder to locate unless they are more obscure and probably deserving of LingQs.

    Tuesday at 00:42
    • Humble_Learner us United States

      Thanks for your thoughtful feedback. Everything you wrote makes sense. With EVERY reading I see new, unfamiliar blue-coded words, and also cognates. Like you, I don't LingQ words I already know except to get them out of the way: blue, orange, yellow, pale yellow, then a checkmark. Unless a word initially appears blue, I ignore it because I probably already know it. That's the correct strategy, n'est-ce pas? That one day (139 vs. 3 lol) hasn't recurred, and sometimes the known words total vaults pretty well. I guess I simply need to suffer patience and observe the process over time.

      Like you! Wow: congratulations on your fluency. You've paid your dues, and have French fluency to show for it. Thanks again.

      Wednesday at 02:21
      • herbm us United States

        The strategy depends on your purpose for the material, sometimes I am merely looking for good things to link (I pump a lot of strange things into LinqQ with words more often phrases I know.)

        Yes, I don't look at the white words as carefully but I frequently do touch on the blue words I recognize if I can't clearly recall seeing them before to ensure they have the obvious meaning and aren't false friends.

        However, for the past month or more I've been linking mostly phrases, not words. My word count is pretty high so there aren't a lot of invididual words I find worth linking.

        With phrases I link even those I can figure out and many times if I know them already. I'm trying to build a repetoire of "structural phrases" so I give extra weight to those (locutions and periphrases) that can be reused in many contexts.

        For reading my main "books" (Deuil Interdic by Michael Connelly and Sapien: une brève histoire de l'humanité by Yuval Noah Harari) I do make a point of reading all of the words.

        I try to read a chapter or so in at least one of these two books each day, then go to bed with the ones I read and the upcoming chapters just play as I fall asleep.

        Note: I have no idea if "sleep learning" is an effective thing, but my method is to take advantage of the time between deciding to sleep and actually going to sleep -- and anytime I rouse to roll over during the night I get a few minutes more at zero time cost, then again when waking to get up.

        Also, I turned off "automatic LingQ" creation early on (maybe the first week) since I really didn't want a bunch of words I know to become LingQs and didn't want to keep un-LingQing them.

        My LingQs will hit 13,000 and my words will reach 39,000 tomorrow (too tired to push the last 100 or so through tonight.) I know almost all of the LingQs even though I haven't taken the time and trouble to go mark them -- that vocabulary area is one of the features of LingQ I dislike the most (though I love LingQ in case it isn't obvious.)

        And the really funny & interesting thing is that despite my very strong work here I am not really even close to the people who are in 1st place on the challenges.

        My biggest issue now is "hearing the meaning" without consciously translating when I listen to fast French. My speaking is awful but it improves noticably almost every day and I'm approaching a reasonable imitation of fluency or at least fluidity.

        I really thought that I would be able to watch and listen to French more easily by the time I knew this much and well before I could speak, but somehow my speaking improved faster.

        Wednesday at 04:02
        • Humble_Learner us United States

          Thanks for sharing your learning experience. Ah, yes: beware the faux ami. I also re-color a word if I don’t feel mastery. That will reduce my Known Words but oh, well.

          Phrases . . . You’re very advanced. I link several words in sequence to ascertain, hopefully, intended meaning. I also like to toy with various word combinations within a sentence, which sometimes reveals several meanings.

          Wise to create your body of structural phrases. French especially seems to delight in locutions and periphrases. Also reinforces and deepens your learning.

          Connelly’s a fabulous writer. The Sapien book looks good, too. Have a dual reader for Voltaire’s Candide, also an anthology of short stories. But as Steve K. has said: wait until you're an Intermediate 2 before reading; otherwise—trop travail. Ultimate goal: Zola and Proust.

          Le sommeil avec un petit . . . lire dans lit. Can you tell I don’t know French? lol Certainly wish sleep learning were possible. Had a tutor who advised French study before bedtime to make exposure to French my last conscious experience before nodding off. Liked the ritual if nothing else.

          Congratulations! Tucking in 39,000 words is a stellar achievement. You’ve worked hard. I hope you find many opportunities to use the language. Truly a splendid gift you have given yourself. It’s encouraging to “hear” you’ve progressed superbly, even if you’re not one of the top-performing wunderkinds.

          The competitions, par exemple, the 90-day challenges—and one’s overall rank—are good motivators to a point. But learning the language is the main thing. I have to remember that.

          “Hearing the meaning,” especially without translating. Seems like a bridge too far, but not for you. Am guessing you've worked with italki or LingQ tutors to improve speaking.

          You’re the model to emulate, Herbm. Am closing in on 6,000 words. Will feel like royalty when I reach Intermediate #1 at 6700. Being shut in (pandemic), I might as well marathon. Bonne chance. :-)

          Thursday at 00:37
          • herbm us United States

            Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement. I agree with the things you added and here are just a few answers or additions.

            Today is 45th day I've been here with a streak of almost all "double" or "fire" (I really don't consider 50 words my goal, but rather at least 100, and really 200.

            So that's about 900 words and 300 links per day.

            I work pretty fast and use dead time to do LingQ -- part of the reason I've complained so much about the flaws in the user interface -- they slow the progress that I could be making. Though I research a lot of words also (in multiple dictionaries, and chase links in Wictionairre which slows me quite bit. I think this has helped my overall comprehension but it certainly slowed my "5000 Anki" word completion.

            So that's about 900 words and 300 links per day.

            Sapiens may well be the single best book anyone could read if it is available in their mother tongue and target language.

            I am serious, if I could only have one book it would be that one.

            And I challenge anyone to find a better one because if that happens I'll read that too.

            Why? It literally covers the entire history of the Universe and especially the history of humanity across all fields and contexts, with quite a bit about other animals etc.

            It includes the gamut from the development of both agriculture and cooking to the creation of money and stock markets, banks and lending. Law and culture, and far more -- pretty much everything is at least touched upon.

            A beginner COULD read it with only 3000+ known words and a more advanced student could enjoy reading it many times over if they possess any interest in such topics.

            As to 'hard books' I am also reading "La Carte and Le Territoire" by Michel Houellebecq (well-beck) which is pretty literary.

            It's hard not in concept or literal vocabulary but in figures of speech and the manner of the presentation (largely stream of consciousness but fairly linear) -- I believe he is trying to push the language a bit (maybe that's just might poor understanding) and it vaguely reminds me of Ulysses by Joyce but it really isn't nearly as opaque as that, just a soupçon of the flavor.

            Yes, I too use the challenges or the word and LingQ counts almost solely to help motivate me to read one more page or finish one more lesson.

            It's about learning the language but I have nothing against well-done "game mechanics" which is pretty good here on LingQ.

            Glossika kicked my butt today. I tried to push 3 lessons and ended up doing 4 while at the same time the thing took a large jump in difficulty. An hour on the stationary bike and 30 minutes travel time to buy groceries got me through lesson 60. I have 96 days left to do about 252 lessons, as well as almost 3 levels of Rosetta Stone.

            The 96 days (June 30th, the end of my 6 month plan to fluency) aren't really a thing but merely my private version of "game mechanics" to push me to keep progressing.

            I use a tutor from Preply who is really inexpensive once a week. $6 for 45 minutes. Really he just gives me an excuse to talk as best I can for almost the entire time and he is interesting and at least seems interested my stories.

            Thursday at 03:41
            • Humble_Learner us United States

              Your learning commitment inspires. Excellent work ethic. Your study habits resemble Heinrich Schliemann’s. (Steve K. should do a youtube re Heinrich.)

              Thanks for espousing Sapiens. And Houellebecq. Fabulous writer. Magnificent wit.

              Glossika. I conducted the experiment, and it definitely has merit. While I lament your “journey into pain,” i.e., more learning than you bargained for, I celebrate your edification. Your Glossika episode underscores Schliemann’s strategy: steal precious moments and use them to learn the target language.

              Amazing similarities. I also set 6-month learning goals. Rosetta Stone is commendable. Another strategy we have in common: hit the target language from several angles, i.e., learn from several sources.

              Merci beaucoup for the intel re Preply. I am sooooooooooo there. Hot tip. Thank you, thank you. Globalization brought us inexpensive tutors, and technology popularized language learning. No downside to that. :-)

              Hey! You’re #6 on LingQs rankings over the last 7 days. I'm #13. I must defeat you! ;-)

              Thursday at 18:59