"I'm at 33,000, though I'm good at discerning root words and to me that counts for something, so that gauges more my ability to understand than how much vocabulary I really utilize."
I actually used to do this, but with Chinese dictionaries, back when I was in Chinese school and had to write essays and read passages/newspapers/news in Chinese for assignments. I'd have to look up a character, and then I would look up the radicals, and for all the characters I didn't know, I would look those up in a Chinese-to-English dictionary for a translation...
I love, love, love the study of the Chinese language.
"Of note, there is, by technicality, no such thing. No one speaks 'Chinese', it's not a language. If you study it, I presume you know that, so I only mention it because I find it a bit irritating (being half-Oriental) that people use that generalization. For the same reason I also hate being called half-Asian like India and Eastern Russia (among many other countries) don't exist. It's not about political correctness, it's about not being culturally ignorant, people who know should make a habit of helping people who don't know, to understand."