The Super Challenge - Why 5,000 pages, or 150 hours?

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the1whoknocks
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The Super Challenge - Why 5,000 pages, or 150 hours?

Postby the1whoknocks » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:08 pm

Recently, I've found myself wondering about the reason behind choosing 5,000 pages and 150 hours of native media as the size of the Super Challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I think the challenge is a great idea, and that going through that amount of ‘books’ and media is a great start in the pursuit of improving language proficiency.

I was just wondering if it was based on something like, “after 5,000 pages (50 'books') the average user will have encountered X amount of words Y number of times. This is the amount of exposure needed to naturally become familiar with the first 2,000 words of any language.”

Or, maybe it is based on results from the average forum member's experience after time spent on task, i.e., on average, that’s how long it takes to notice a perceptible difference.

Either way, I’m grateful for the challenge. I’m just curious to learn how we may have arrived at those numbers.
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Re: The Super Challenge - Why 5,000 pages, or 150 hours?

Postby Serpent » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:35 pm

This is where it began.

After a couple of weeks we all agreed to change a book to 100 pages, for a more consistent comparison and to make it a more realistic goal (note that it was originally for beginners). From 2014 we changed it to 50 pages.

I do think that the goal is kinda arbitrary, and I've not read 5k or 10k book pages in English myself. But I find it very motivating anyway :)
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the1whoknocks
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Re: The Super Challenge - Why 5,000 pages, or 150 hours?

Postby the1whoknocks » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:28 am

Thanks a lot, Serpent. That link addressed all my questions, and it's interesting to see how that idea evolved.

I agree that the numbers appear to have been selected arbitrarily, but judging from comments from other members, the amount of input seems to be sufficient to drive at least some improvement. I'm looking forward to experiencing that myself.

Thanks again!
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Re: The Super Challenge - Why 5,000 pages, or 150 hours?

Postby Cavesa » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:01 pm

Yes, it is arbitrary, but it works. It does move us forward, it does motivate us to read/listen more, so it is great. Personally, I am more for 10000 pages as an SC, my usual goal, and 20000 as Super Super Challenge for enthusiasts (the usual double challenge). In general, we can all sign up for more or less. As long as it works for each of us, who cares :-)
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Re: The Super Challenge - Why 5,000 pages, or 150 hours?

Postby DaveBee » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:19 am

the1whoknocks wrote:I was just wondering if it was based on something like, “after 5,000 pages (50 'books') the average user will have encountered X amount of words Y number of times. This is the amount of exposure needed to naturally become familiar with the first 2,000 words of any language.”
There are studies with numbers like that.

I recall seeing a table of "most frequent 1000, 2000 etc words" against "encountered 5, 10, 20 times" linked to total number of words read. Unfortunately I can't find the thing! Grrr.

EDIT
Paul Nation's "How much input do you need to learn the most frequent 9,000 words?"[PDF] has something similar on p.5 of the PDF.

EDIT2
See also p.55 of Mr Nation's "What do you need to know to learn a foreign language" PDF. (Reineke has mentioned this book several times)
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