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Study: Any word repeated 160 times...

Hello Duolingo Community!

Firstly, I've just read study about learning language

(source: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/30/50/16864.abstract , more understandable version: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8200956/Cant-learn-a-foreign-language-Not-true-say-scientists.html)

And in simplicity it says: "Any word repeated 160 times will form whole new network of neurons".

I believe that our Duolingo experts know this study. And maybe that's why studying language through Duolingo is so effective! :)

Finally, I've got a point. A wish. I would love to see how many times I practiced specific word listed in my Vocabulary section. :)

January 23, 2013



If you click on a word in the vocabulary section you can see the number times you have seen it.


Yeah! I didn't know that :) Thank you! :)


That's awesome. I'm going to go look at my vocab section now.


I like your last idea. We could use it to experimentally to see how many repetitions it really does take us to learn a new word well, that is put it into long term memory.


That would personally drive me crazy. Repeating 160x?



I was curious about this topic. "How many times did I hear words like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook..." You know what I mean :)


I'm pretty sure that I have repeated some words that I didn't know at the beginning of my time with Duolingo more than 160 times. I just didn't notice it because I was focused on the new words in the examples.


I happen to think that the repetition of the simple nouns are extremely boring, I mean how many times does one need to repeat the word elefante to remember that is means elephant in Spanish. I would like to see an algorithm that tracks your proficiency for these types of words and replaces them with novel words to increase vocabulary.


I suspect that you are a native English speaker for whom remembering what elephant means is trivial after a few exposures. As such, remembering the forms associated with gender, number and accent marks are easier for you than for those that have never seen the word.

Naturally, many examples of the use of elephant are about some other element in the sentence which is made easier by by using a well understood word. How else to teach and reinforce more difficult concepts than by keeping some parts of the assignment at an easily understood level.

It seems to me that is the basic concept behind Duolingo.

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I don't think it's effective for us to give you each word 160 times. :) You should check out your vocabulary page as others have suggested. In the future we want to give you a more detailed view of your vocabulary over time.


I didn't know its possible to click on specific word. Thank you, Bren!


I have been learning Spanish for quite a few years now and as a general rules I only have to see a word 4 or 5 times before it sticks. If the word is memorable then it's only once or twice.


What if you only repeat it 159 times?


You should try that. But I am not responsible for any health or brain loss! :)


I see it .. that's good! I especially like that you can remove words. I was at the stage if I saw another Katze or Lehrer I was going to scream like I was on the big dipper...


Not just 160 times, but 160 times in fifteen minutes. What's that worth? 4 words per hour and a lot of stress as it would also mean to repeat the word every (15*60/160=) 5.6 seconds.

For my now about 1.000 spanish words I would have had to sit in front of a flickering screen for 250 hours only for the words, not speaking of any grammar.


In my opinion, the point is to remember the word for a lifetime with no additional repeating it in the future. The study itself is saying that 14 minutes for 160 repeats is the shortest time to remember a word (or more specifically: to create whole new network which responds the same as the most usual words)

I just wanted to say that according to the study, it's not effective to repeat any word after you hit that 160 line


Ok. See your point. Got stuck in a false argumentum e contrario.


Thank you for making me realize how quickly proficiency in a language can be acquired! Have a Lingot!

Four words per hour is almost 1.5k words per year with only an hour of practice each day. That's enough to cover the most common words in a language, i.e., to be proficient. In fact, that's more than the number of root words in Lojban (a constructed language that I'd really really like to see on Duolingo).

I suspect that spaced repetition (e.g., alternating between several words in a list of the week's vocabulary) would work better than simply repeating the same word over and over again. By mixing them up and having 23-hour breaks between sessions, I bet that 40 new words could be learned in a week of daily one-hour lessons. If the words are given in varying grammatical contexts, that's plenty to cover the basics of a topic or three.

From my initial experience of Duolingo, it seems to have the repetition down pretty well. However, repeating the exact same question multiple times in a lesson seems a bit excessive.

P.S., I'm sorry if bumping an old thread violates any rule/convention, but I felt like I had something new to contribute.


160 repetitions sounds right to me. I find that that's also true in my native language, English. I have a core of frequently used words that I access with no hesitation. But around the core is a cloud of words that I use less often. Those take a moment to recall. The less I use a word, the farther it goes out into the cloud and the longer it takes to retrieve it.

At the outer edges of the cloud are words that I've never used much or haven't used in a long time. Most of them are words that have fallen out of current usage during my life or were already out of common usage when I learned them. It's fascinating to observe which words have moved into the cloud and how far. I'm 55, old enough that I now regularly encounter words that I used to know well and use frequently, that have moved out into the cloud. I'm making a point of looking them up in dictionaries, jotting them down on notes that I put up at my desk, and doing little self-dialogues using the word, to bring them back into the core.

Knowing about that process makes me less anxious about learning new languages. My core starts out small and so does the cloud. But they both grow. And when I encounter a word that's in the cloud, instead of feeling stupid about having trouble with it, I just use it more and bring it closer to the core, .


I like your imagination. And I think that you're using right way to learn & re-call words. :)


Any word repeated 160 times but repeated knowingly! ;)


the typical human brain can process words around 500 WPM, would it be possible to speed up this process instead of the word being said 16ish times over 10 minutes to 160 times over 1 or 2 minutes? different voices saying the word for bonus points xD

or so its the word and the language translation so instead of just the word it would be "xxx means yyy"

possibility of semantic satiation which could cause impaired learning?

food for thought.


Wow! It's sounds worth a try to me! :)


Gimmmeee linnnnngggguuuuttttzzzzz puleez


They could make it an optional setting to see how many times


It's possible to see it in Vocabulary section when you click on specific word. I didn't know that before I started writing this topic.


thank you, this is really interesting!

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