A question to those who have experience reading with and without LingQ

Hi guys! I started reading quite recently and have not yet decided which reading method is the best for me so I’m kind of curious to learn about other people’s experience.
Before LingQ I read paperbacks skipping 99% of all unknown words. After I’ve read several books on related topics I’ve noticed that I learn some vocabulary from context and basically I’ve heard that reading many-many books this way actually helps you to increase vocabulary without even noticing it. I see two advantages in this method: 1) you don’t get disturbed creating lingqs (although it’s extremely easy but you sill have to move our attention from the text to choose the translation) and 2) I personally enjoy reading paperbacks much more than reading an e-book.
On the other hand, using LingQ makes me feel progress and I can look at a word and see if I’ve already met it before in different context which is kind of unnoticeable while reading a paperback.
So my question is: which method do you personally prefer and why? Do you feel that LingQ has an advantage over the traditional reading method (when words are skipped)?
Thank you in advance!


Back when I was a kid learning english, I learned most new words that I encountered through a mix of context, guessing and the fact that many word are the same or similar to my native swedish. Sometimes I would look a word up, and sometimes I would have an incorrect understanding of a word for a quite long time before I encountered it again.
A decade ago I was learning japanese and mostly relied on imported paperbacks for my reading input and looking back at it I couldnt go back to that now when I’ve gotten used to the convenience of lingq. When reading books before I would for every new word put down my book, look up the new word and its characters in an electronic dictionary, write it down and then later input it to some SRS for memorization. The next time I encountered the same word I might not remember that I had seen it before and would go through the whole process again unnecessarily. With Lingq, all of this is done by simply pressing the word. Not to mention how much easier it is to find interesting reading material electronically.


I couldn’t agree more with Ryrbo. Reading Italian in Lingq is like reading on steroids. I encourage everyone to use it for reading and to use it fully. I’ve been using Lingq for years and only recently, for example, have learned how to tag words so I can review them in a customizable fashion. I am sure that I read at LEAST twice as fast in Lingq which makes reading Italian that much closer to reading my native English. Lingq also encourages me to stretch myself as a reader. Because it makes reading easier and more fluent, I take on more demanding books.

I must say though that I’ve never tried just reading and not looking up the words at all hoping that the more I read the more I’ll understand them. Even as a child learning English and advancing in reading I looked up words all the time as soon as I knew how…

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To be honest, when I first started using Lingq to improve my mandarin on my tablet last month I got really annoyed that this wasn’t available back in 2005 when I studied japanese full time at my university. I remember paying quite a lot for a Palm pilot that I used for vocabulary review, and I would have to input all vocabulary manually and there was no good SRS to speak of. Lingq is the first language learning tool that provides everything I personally need and I’ve been recommending it left and right to people pretty much since day one. When I was younger I had more time to waste so I guess I never saw the time surrounding language learning, which pretty much went to keeping track of and organizing my vocabulary, as an issue. But now as a parent and full time worker, time is at a premium, and the number of known words per unit of time that I have gained using Lingq speaks for itself in my opinion.

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I tried extensive reading the old-fashioned way with a couple of German paperbacks. I ignored words i didn’t know and just tried to follow the story. However, my reading really took off when I found out I could buy some German titles for Kindle. I a million or so words that way. When I thought I could guess the meaning of a new word from context, I’d still often check it with the dictionary - which only takes a second or two. My reading was slower, but I felt like I was learning more.

Lingq isn’t really different than reading on the Kindle for me. What is different is having a record of words I’ve looked up before, a running count of words I’ve learned, etc. With the Lingq app on my tablet, there isn’t much difference in convenience. Both methods are far less frustrating to me than just reading away on paper and hoping that I’m learning. For learning, I prefer using e-reading over paper books and Lingq over standalone e-readers.


You learn the language by acquiring words, and you acquire words by reading. And for that you have to understand the great majority, or even almost all, of what you are reading in order to learn what you don’t understand. If you want to be technical, Professor Krashen calls this “comprehensible input.”

LingQ is first and foremost about LingQing, the built in online dictionaries which allow you to look up words and understand what you are reading. the LingQs don’t distract you from the text, they allow you to focus on the text so you actually know what you are reading.

Eventually you’ll learn so many words that you really don’t need to look any more up to enjoy what you are reading, listening to, orwatching. That’s when you read the paperbacks, for example.

If you want to read “unassisted” sooner, then you’re looking at graded reader with super easy content at first and then stepping up to actual native content.

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Reading books on LingQ in a foreign language is enjoyable and drives a huge amount of vocabulary growth for me. I simply wouldn’t read foreign language paper books or kindle books without having that easy access to the translations. I would be too frustrated, even once at a sufficiently high level that I could do so. I had more time and patience when I was younger but even then, after having read on LingQ, I don’t think I could go back.

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I think paper is fine for similar languages. But the further away you get, the bigger the advantage of reading online.


For me personally, seeing how many words I have read each month, amount of hours listened, etc… and now the new timeline feature just added. I find the constant reminder of seeing visually how much I have accomplished over the months, is what real drives me to keep learning. In comparison if Im only reading paperback books I dont know these sats and it may feel at times that im not actually making any progress. So that in a nutshell is why I enjoy using LingQ.

Also sorry (completely unrelated) How do I make a thread post?

Go to community → All forums
Select one of the forums and you’ll see a “new thread” button

One of the most informative and useful talks out of the polyglot conference lecture genre:

I use lingQ in the beginning and early intermediate phase, for conscious level-up efforts where I want to see the word count progress, or when the literature is very dense in ‘blues’. Other than that just reading ouside of lingQ is enough.


I read in all different interfaces, paper, Kindle, and LingQ depending on the language and book availability. Using LingQ as a primary interface speeds up the learning process a great deal, so the less comfortable I’m in a language, the more likely I’d use LingQ.

I also like combining Kindle and LingQ. I read a chunk of text on the Kindle first – this can be a paragraph, a page, or a chapter depending where I’m at in the language. Then I will go through the same chunk of text on Lingq, aiming at really just looking at yellow and blue words and lingqing and marking as needed. Then I go back to Kindle and read the next chunk.
I feel like this method combines the best of both words for me.