You can now read 68.3% of all real Spanish text
So I've done the whole Spanish tree (a long time ago), but the % isn't even close to 100 yet. Is there a way to get more % (by only doing the tree part)?
Once you have learned all the words that Duolingo officially teaches in the tree, that percentage will not change (unless there is an update to the way it is calculated, which happened recently).
Although you will continue learning new words if you use Immersion, Duolingo currently doesn't add those words to your word count, and so can't use them to calculate how much of an article you can understand.
There's currently a test going on that changes that behavior for some of us. If OP has completed his tree and has a "you can understand" percentage in the 60s, he's definitely in that test group. For those in the test, the percentage seems to factor in the user's overall vocabulary strength. As an example, mine went from ~96% (whatever the percentage was before being added to the test group) to around 64%. I have been neglecting my tree lately, and about half of it had lost its gold status. As I restrengthen various words, my percentage is steadily climbing. I've begun to check it by doing a lesson after I do a few strengthen exercises each day, and find that it's increasing by a 0.3 or 0.4 % for every 3 strengthen exercises I do.
Thanks. I was wondering what was going on in Spanish. I returned today after a month-long break to see my percentage from from 96% to around 55%. I was taking the Salamanca A2 course someone from duolingo had recommended.
So if Duolingo doesn't teach you anymore words, where do the remaining % come from?
You can learn more words in Immersion if you want to keep using Duolingo, but Duolingo doesn't currently add new words from Immersion to your official word count. In Spanish, for example, Duolingo officially introduces 1,582 words in the tree. That count could go up with the current and hopefully future bonus lessons (such as Christmas, Idioms, Flirting).
Once you have learned all those 1,582 words, your word count doesn't increase. That doesn't mean you aren't learning new words via Duolingo Immersion or via other sources.
If I learn all 1582 words, will it show 100%? (If no, how does it calculate the remaining percentage?)
No. The percentage is based off of being able to read real Spanish text (not just sentences supplied by duolingo).
If you only knew 1582 English words, you wouldn't be expected to be able to read and understand 100% of any English website/book/magazine you came across.
There is no way* to make this percentage 100%. Even if you were a native speaker, you would never be able to read 100% of all native language articles. You may be able to reach 99.9%, but with over 1000000 words in the English language for example, you will never know 100% of them.
Answering the second part of your question... while I'm not sure exactly how they calculate the percentage, they probably use Frequency list. Basically, they look at how often a word is likely to appear in a text, compare it to words you know, and base a percentage off of that.
For example, if you know the word 'el' will generally be 5% of a generic text, and 'la' will be 4% of a generic text, you can guess that if you can translate 'el' and 'la' you will know 9% of all words in a real Spanish article (this is just an example with made-up numbers).
This doesn't mean you will understand anything the text says, but gives you a general idea how the percentage may be calculated.
For a while, my notice read that I could read 96.5%; then it flipped to 68.3% - which is actually way more accurate. I know I can read Spanish a lot more easily if I enjoy and know a bit about the subject. Word recognition drops significantly if the topic is an unknown to me. I don't think I learn a whole lot new words doing the exercises, but notice I'm recognizing more all the time in Immersion.
Finished my tree in April and I was 96.3%, I redid a lesson yesterday and I have fallen to about 68%. I was kinda surprised but assumed the calculation has changed for whatever reason.
I finished my tree two months ago, and I am still at 96.5%, as far as I know. Maybe the update changed that, but I can't recall that page coming up for me. But, your percentage is more accurate. I still learn new words every time I do Immersion.
It comes up when you redo a lesson (It doesn't come up when you do strengthen skills)
Have you checked recently? This change was done about 2 weeks ago.
They may be slowly phasing it in though.
I couldn't quite remember then, but I'm 99% certain that it hasn't changed for me. In fact, I haven't finished my second checkpoint in French, but I'm already up to 70% of "read-able" words.
My Spanish one hasn't changed yet. Could be an A/B tart or slow roll-out.
true, but I hope it's only a slow roll-out, and not a/b testing. It it's an a/b test, it means the number means nothing, and they are just experimenting to see which number is more 'encouraging', but I'd rather be given a correct value than an 'encouraging' one.
I think you can get higher than that on Duolingo, because it sometimes increases my percentage when I redo a lesson that helps me refresh my knowledge of some words.
Duolingo definitely won't get you to 100%, though. I think the first 1000 words get you to 75% or so text coverage, so I'd guess that Duolingo's vocabulary probably reasonably gets you to 80-85% (unless they teach more words than I realize).
From there on, you can do things like make and study flashcards of any vocabulary you're already sure you want/need to know depending on your personal intentions for the language. Beyond that, AFAIK, the most effective method for vocabulary acquisition is considered to be extensive reading.
How do they calculate the remaining % that I can't read yet then?
I went way overboard on the length of answering this, but you can get the gist from just the first few paragraphs. No real need to read the whole thing unless you're very curious :)
My understanding is that it's based on how common words are.
A very common example is that 'the' makes up something like 4-5% of a typical English text. If 'the' is the one and only word that you know, you're at 4-5% understanding of a typical English text.
The numbers WILL change depending on who's doing the word frequency research, because there's no single obviously perfect way to decide what counts as a single word. Usually forms of "to be" will be lumped together (are, is, was, were) as a word, and that kind of thing, but there are obviously times when a single set of letters can represent radically different meanings, and that sort of thing makes things complicated.
So the 1000 or so most commonly used words in English, make up something like 75% of a typical written text. For 2000 words you get maybe 80% or so of a typical text. You continue to get diminishing returns on up... I think it ends up being 12,000 or so words if you want to understand 95% of what you see in a typical text.
A couple of important points to understand, though: - Spoken language is usually less vocabulary-rich than written language, so a smaller pool of words can stretch farther. - Once you get past the real inescapable core of a language (that 1000 or so words that makes up the vast majority of what people say), you don't really necessarily need to get to 12000 (or whatever it is for a given language) to be able to function at a high level, unless you're REALLY planning to live in that language full time.
What you do end up needing is a vocabulary that closes matches what YOU intend to go forth and do with the language. If your plan is to go to Spain to become a graduate student in medieval Spanish literature, you're going to need to know a lot of the sorts of words that would show up in that literature, plus a lot of words that can be used to describe books, and authors, and that kind of thing.
In contrast, you can probably get by with only a passing knowledge of the sort of things someone planning to work for a Spanish ISP would need to know. They'd need a lot of vocabulary related to computer parts and networking.
Frequency lists are made based on the whole of what a language produces, but most of us only have an interest in some sub-section of that. You can focus your attention on the words that tend to be used within that field, and get to that 95% or whatever level of literacy within that area with a vocabulary that's far smaller than 12,000 words.
And, for the record, 95% is really really good. Actual native speakers who've lived their entire life in a culture don't know 100%. At 95% you're really well equipped to figure out what's going on based on context.
All of the above is why it doesn't really make sense for Duolingo to try to get us to 5,000 or 10,000 words or whatever. Because once you get past 1000, 1500, 2000 (exactly where you cut it off is open to dispute, but it's clear that you get diminishing returns as the numbers grow larger) you're teaching a lot of words that are going to be almost useless to most people, so you're really just wasting their time. At that point, it's time to go work with the native materials the interest you, so that you're spending your time and energy on the vocabulary you personally need.
I hope this helps :)
It seems like it doesn't start showing up until you're a good chunk of the way down the tree. I'm not sure exactly where, and this may be something that varies from one individual to another due to Duolingo's ongoing experimentation.
After you finish a lesson, it shows up
To understand 100% of spanish articles (or any language), you have to learn all spanish words.
The key to understand spanish to know the most commonly used words or phrases. Knowing the most frequently used words will further increase your compreshension, but not 100%. 100% comprehension means that you know every spanish articles that are industry-specific (e.g. scientific, technical, etc.)
DL currently gives you 1500+ words. Now, to increase the spanish words that your know, you need to read contemporary spanish articles, translate articles through immersion or listen to spanish speakers. Once you encountered a frequently used word, record it, memorize it, use it.
DL gives you the foundation, but you have build upon it.
¡Felicitaciones y Mejores Deseos!