90-Day Challenge (Sep 1 - Dec 1)

Hey LingQers, I’m excited to partake in the 90-Day Challenge starting today.

Use this thread to ask any questions about the challenge, share your goals and updates on your progress, advice on how to find content and learn effectively.

My 90-Day Plan:

  • Background: I am returning to learning Spanish, after a few years off. I had reached an intermediate level, living in Colombia for 6 months. I could have decent conversations and felt comfortable speaking. But my vocabulary was quite limited. I even performed stand-up comedy in Spanish but understood almost nothing of the other performers. And since leaving Colombia I have just had sporadic conversations over the past few years.
  • Long-term goals: So my brother just got engaged to his Mexican girlfriend, so I want to be able to speak fluently with the family and give a speech in Spanish at his wedding. And I want to be able to read Don Quixote in Spanish.
  • 90-Day goals: I will be going to Mexico in November, so my goal is to get my Spanish to 6,000 Known words by then. And I want to be able to read El Otro by Borges.
  • How I will achieve this: I will use LingQ every day. This is non-negotiable. I will start in the morning, and then do some more before lunch & dinner. But absolutely must hit my modest LingQs created goal every day. And aim to spend at least 1 hour a day total LingQing, mostly with the MiniStories & Radialistas. And then creating music lessons from my Latin music Spotify playlist (importing from youtube videos with closed captions).

Hello Tommy and fellow 90 Day Challeng-er in Spanish. This is my “share your goals and updates on your progress” response. Just for a bit of fun for me and encouragement to you.

I too am trying to learn Spanish. I am a native English speaker from London, but now I live in the South of Spain. People say that it is easier to learn the language when you are in the country, and maybe it is for some, however, I find it very difficult to find Spanish who have the patience or commitment for anything other than “just getting by” in the language. Obviously one can pay for the lessons, but….

I too am trying to learn through reading books. There is the “Harry Potter” way, which seems to be quite popular and currently I flip between that and Forastera (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon. I have two E-readers and flip open to the same page, with one in the Spanish version and one in the English version and read / understand both at the same time. It is great for reading in the sun where a mobile or iPad screen would be impossible.

I joined the 90 challenge, to try to train myself into committing to doing anything in the language at least once a day for a period, in order to foster a habit. I noticed that when I started LingQ I had a flurry of activity, and then there was a drop off period of a few months with nothing at all! How did THAT happen? My year’s subscription finishes at the end of November so perfect for the 90 day challenge time line, so my long term goal is to justify year two’s sub and my short term goal is to foster a consistent habit that my husband recognises as “Spanish Time, not to be disturbed”. My immediate challenge is to try to work out how to get my coins for the day.

How are you doing? Have you remembered to use LingQ every day? I have already missed at least one day and we are only 6 days into the challenge. Oooh Err! I am starting again with the mini stories, so whizzing through “revision” and hoping to hit the challenge at the same time. Keep it up, whatever you are doing, and maybe I will see you on YouTube again giving encouragement to us 90 day-ers.


Buena suerte con el español.
You’re right that being in the country is no guarantee that you’ll learn the language: you still need to put in the solo work, which is mostly input-based. However, once your level is good enough, you can enormously benefit from immersion. If you live here and want to practice, my advice would be for you to join some activity you may enjoy: dancing, sport, trekking, …, which is intended for local people. In Spain, you can be sure that there will also be some kind of social gathering after the activity, which would provide further practice opportunities if you feel like taking part in them.
For example, pre-pandemic I went for a week-long kayak journey around Ladoga lake in Russia organized by a Russian agency. Your level is guaranteed to go over the roof by joining such kind of groups. Because you live in the country, you can afford to take it easier and less intensive, maybe a couple classes a week and still benefit from this.

I have the same experience in Germany. Just being in the country is not enough. First, you need to put enough language inside your language device to extract benefits from the immersion environment which I believe is the intermediate level for both reading and Listening. Below that level, it is not easy to pick up language by osmosis. People talk in dialects and speak sloppily. It all sounds empty noise on your ears.


Good points @asad100101 - Can’t expect just living in the country will make it easy to get from Beginner to Intermediate level.

That is a very interesting post about howtolearnspanish. Here are some key takeways about the report they cite:
Lesson 4. Time on task and the intensity of the learning experience appear crucial.

  • ie intense learning sessions may benefit you more

Lesson 7. The importance of “automaticity” in building learner skill and confidence in speaking and reading a language is more important than has been recognized by the SLA [Second Language Acquisition] field over the last two decades.

  • As Steve often suggests, re-listen to your lessons many many times, until they become automatic.

Lesson 8. Learners may not learn a linguistic form until they are “ready,” but FSI’s experience indicates that teachers and a well designed course can help learners become ready earlier.

  • The ministories are exactly this - lessons designed to help you learn linguistic forms, without explicity studying the forms in isolation

@tandrward pleased to hear about your journey and commitment to learn Spanish during this challenge!

I’m curious, have you already set aside the daily 'Spanish Time, not to be disturbed?" If so, when is it?

I have been able to hit my daily LingQ goal every day since the challenge started- now it’s built into my daily routine starting early in my morning and then again before lunch and dinner.

So you missed one day - not a big deal. But how can you prevent that from becoming a regular occurrence?

I second @ftornay advice on joining some activity. When I was in Colombia I was in a workout group, and the instructor refused to accommodate my low level of Spanish, which pushed me. But also some classmates were happy to help translate for me.

I also was living with one guy who spoke no English- so just to make friends, I was pushed to stretch my skills and he was pushed to speak slower and at a lower level to accommodate for me.

Another idea- most big cities have language meet ups. I’d suggest looking for language meetups in your city- Facebook & Meetup.com often have them listed.

Keep up the good work, and yes we will be doing weekly livestreams every week during the challenge. This week Eric Roberts from LingQ will be presenting on learning with novels on LingQ.

You can join the Zoom meeting by registering here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EAktjcXdSky9iuIq9WTi1g

Or just visit our Youtube channel or Facebook page at 10am Pacific tomorrow (Wednesday 7 Sept) - that’s 7pm Spain time :slight_smile:

Attention all Challengers: We are holding the next livestream tomorrow (Wed 7 Sept) at 10am Pacific time.

Eric Roberts from LingQ will be presenting on learning with novels on LingQ.

So if you like to read novels, definitely try to make it if you can.

You can register to join the Zoom call here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_EAktjcXdSky9iuIq9WTi1g

Otherwise, just visit our Youtube channel or Facebook page to join the livestream.


Thank you for your great suggestions @ftornay it was very encouraging. I once went to an Urban Sketching event, that was organised by someone Spanish and so all the attendees were Spanish, and they were very accommodating. Many tried to practice their English with me to help to include me and guided me when my Spanish was a little peculiar for them. It was fun, but sadly was just one event. Thank you for reminding me and you are right the fish restaurant was lovely…

Hello again @tommy_learner_success, in answer to setting aside some time, yes, it is usual for me to get up first, so while I prepare my breakfast I have started (due to this challenge) revising the mini story lessons that I have covered the previous time with the audio tab. Though I am preoccupied, I think Steve said that there is some value in it, so I am trying it out to see if my subconscious picks up anything. Fortunately, I have a spare room that we use for our hobbies which when the door is closed, gives an undeniable signal that it is “me time”. A cup of tea is usually ferried in, once in a while, to make sure that I am not over doing things.

I haven’t quite worked out how to increase the coins in this challenge though. I seem to be putting in, quite a number of hours of study, but there are so many people ranking higher than me. It seems to be the story of my life, the effort I put in, does not seem to reflect the outcome I expect. I will take your suggestion up, and try to find a language meet up. Maybe the library will have some ideas. I recently bumped into some ladies while I was walking the dog, who expressed an interest in a meet up over coffee. They had mentioned that they tried it before, but instead of only talking Spanish as agreed, the group soon reverted to speaking English which wasn’t really the point. I met these ladies again the other day, but it seems their commitment is just a wisp of smoke. Better to sit in the caffé with my two e-readers one in Spanish and the same in English.

@tandrward regarding your challenge status - Your primary goal is 10,000 coins, which seems like you are definitely on target to hit.

I took a look at your profile and noticed you only created 2 LingQs in the past week. So creating more LingQs is probably your best bet to getting your coins up, and also learning new words for your overall goal of learning Spanish.

Perhaps are you reading and listening to the same lessons over and over. If so, it’s probably best to open new listens.

Personally, I’ve been really enjoying the Radialistas course for Spanish. The guy with the deep voice is really fun to listen to. Doing a new lesson every day, and then adding the audio to my playlist to listen to throughout the day.

As for meet-ups, I would be happy to organize a Spanish online meet-up. We can see if others would want to join - maybe some native Spanish speakers too. Let me know if you’d be interested in that, and I will make a new thread to get others to join and we can find a good time.

I also have experienced in language meet-ups that it often reverts to English. I’ve found it helps to do cycles of 10 minutes one language, 10 minutes the other language. So everyone gets a chance to practice their target language.

All the best,

Dude. Watch telenovelas also. It’s brutal in the beginning but after a couple months you will pick it up and along with getting to 6,000 of the most common words it will take you over the finish line.

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Yup. This is key. You need a minimum baseline. I think it’s about 3,000 of the highest frequency words of listening comprehension. Without that you won’t understand enough to even get started. IMO you MUST get there first before doing anything else at all. I think of this stage as “the valley of despair” because there is no easy way to get past it without the brutal hard memorization work.


Thanks for the recc. I am going to start watching Bolívar series on Netflix- a historical drama about the life of Simon Bolivar.

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Hi: one word of possible warning: I don’t know how far along you are.

I mentioned telenovelas specifically and did not mention netflix series.

Reason being that telenovelas is targeted at a particular audience who probably don’t have a high vocabulary.

In my experience, netflix shows, in contrast are not targeted at the same low vocabulary audience.

Therefore… there is the possibility that netflix might be hard to understand. I wouldn’t want you to get discouraged.

As an example: I personally have been fluent in Spanish for more than a decade. I don’t need to translate and I don’t bother with looking up any words because in most average cases (news, in-person etc) I don’t need to.

BUT… Although I can generally understand most netflix shows, I recently tried to watch a netflix show called “diablero” and couldn’t follow it, it had way too much mexico city slang and jokes and wordplay I couldn’t catch.

So long story short… be warned that your mileage for understanding may vary on netflix… Telenovelas on the other hand most likely you will be able to follow any one of them…

Makes sense. Thanks for the warning :slight_smile:

Hey Challengers! This Wednesday Elizabeth Lebel (LingQ’s Communications Manager) will be presenting live on how she is reading a novel in French for her 90-Day Challenge.

So if you’re interested in learning how to read novels on LingQ (including how to find content to import), do come if you are available.

We are going live on Zoom (and Facebook & Youtube) at 4pm Pacific. You can register for the zoom event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEpceCgqTgoHNFUkzAG7f_INkahiAJKkUP1

We will have a breakout session for Zoom attendees. That means we will break off into small groups and discuss how we use LingQ, how our challenge and language learning in general is going and share advice.

Hope to see you guys if you can make it :slight_smile:

Hey Challengers, on yesterday’s livestream, Elle discussed some great e-book & audiobook resources. And a user named Beverly shared a really great list too. Find all the links here: E-Book & Audiobook Resources - Language Forum @ LingQ

Oh sorry for not responding to your lovely long reply. I have only just found this a month and a half after you posted. Apologies. Sometimes I get lost in LingQ and then this sort of thing drops off the list.

I enjoyed the 1st language hook-up today (Wed 3 November 2021), it is a shame that the pick-up was not great, but it was only the 1st one. The time was good for me too, maybe the next one will be inconvenient for me but better for others. It doesn’t put me off though, so that must be good. Thanks for organising it.

I may have shot myself in the foot with the coins though, I got a flag to say that my Avatar was lonely and I ended up getting lots of clothes for it until all my coins were spent. Hopefully they are special “Avatar” coins, or I have just ruined all my Challenge rankings. Whoops. I will log out and log back in again to see if the coins change. Humph.

Glad you enjoyed the conversation meetup! We will be making some changes to ensure a higher turnout.

And as for the coins, getting avatar clothes won’t affect your Challenge rankings.