Am I just doing this all wrong?


I have done many lessons on LingQ where I read through the text and also listen using the little headphone thing at the bottom of the page.

However, I do not feel I am making any traction understanding or learning Spanish.

I am also using another competitor language app and have reverted to using it more frequently as while very imperfect, I feel I am learning something though in no way am I feeling this competitor app will get me fluent.

Is there some other way I am supposed to be using LingQ to become fluent?

This Steve Kaufmann guy makes it sound like a breeze but I am just not seeing it.

Thank you for your insight.

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I’m not sure. It may just be a quantity issue.

SLA is not an exact science, but I’d expect you’d need on the order of 1-2 million words read and hundreds of hours of listening to reach an intermediate level with LingQs approach for closely related languages. To reach advanced levels you might need double or triple that or possibly more. If it is your first time learning a foreign language, it will be more challenging to get started.

I’ve learned one language with lingQ and one without it, and in my experience learning with it is soooooo much better. That said, I think LingQ’s weakness is getting started. I know Steve says don’t bother with grammar and jump into mini-stories, and you definitely can do it that way. Still, I think a little basic grammar study, a podcast like Language Transfer (Spanish), youtube videos like Dreaming Spanish or even one of the other language apps could also useful early on to get a jump start and make input more comprehensible so you can get reading faster. Some people also use Anki (or other flash cards), and some think speaking early is good (e.g. with italki or a tutor).

For Spanish, I spent 20-30 minutes/day reading early on (maybe 500-1000 words per day), and now more like an hour (about 5000/day, which is slower than some others). I also listen in addition to that. Mostly when I’m doing other things like chores or commuting, which allows me to make efficient use of time.

I’d suggest you look at the approach shared by Peter Bormann in his
and in this post:

Good luck!



Thank you for your answer.

So just anyone can look up anyone’s profile and post it on the forum?

Anyway, whether one app or another, I have not missed a single day of Spanish training in over a year.

I should have been more clear. The question was about the technical aspect of what I am supposed to be doing within this LingQ app. Just listening and reading? If the answer is yes but more of it, so be it.

Many things listed in the answer are not about the app. In fact, if I can do all of those things without the app what is the point of an app I don’t feel I am gaining on?

Thank you.

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I agree that publicly posting someone else’s stats is probably not the best move and may not accurately reflect the work they have put in.

The answer you are looking for is self confirming. Read more, listen more, write more, talk more. There is no app that substitutes your desire and hard work. I also avoid the structured content, go the native stuff and force yourself to understand.


Just put in the time, I started learn Dutch language from 0. Just navigating some lesson and press just press listening it. Making Lingq, Lingq, Lingq. And do repetition. For not more than 1 month I can learn at least 200 Dutch word. That’s what I do. Also, please go to grammar section and read them too. It’s well written.


Yes. A limited view of our stats are on our profiles and any member can see it. You can see mine I deleted that from my post.

In any case, I wasn’t trying to put you on blast, criticize your stats, or suggest that was all that you did. You asked if you’re using lingQ wrong, so I looked to see how you were using it.

I mentioned the things you could do outside the app, because I think for beginners (especially if it is their first SLA experience) that diving into the mini-stories can be a lot to start with. Now, if you’ve got a year of daily practice under your belt, that advice may not apply.

You can also do reading and listening without the LingQ app, but that is where LingQ shines in my opinion. Reading while listening specifically. I could never have read the quantity I have in Spanish in the time I’ve spent on it without lingQ.

Yes, I’m suggesting just listening and reading but more if it. :slight_smile: If you have been studying a year, and you find the mini-stories a little boring, you could look for some content that interests you more. My reading pace picked up quite a bit when I read some translated versions of books I like in Spanish. Again, good luck!


The advice from others here is very good.

Language learning is a gradual process, the brain will do its part of the bargain if you allow it to.

Find material at your level, YouTube has lots that you can import. Then choose a short text, read and understand. Then listen and read. Then listen. Go to the next text, repeat. Then revise previous texts daily alongside a new text. Repetition is key. Don’t worry if you forget words, just look them up again, they will eventually stick.


The issue is that you don’t feel like you are making progress. If you are just reading, looking up unknown words, and then re-reading while listening, you’re making progress. You need quantity. Try to do 30 minutes to an hour per day for three months (i.e. 50-100 hours) and you’ll see a difference.

Yes. More listening and reading. If you don’t want to do it on LingQ, try just watching Dreaming Spanish on YouTube. The key is a regular consistency of 30 minutes to an hour each day for three months. If you give it that, then you’ll surely see a difference.


No language is a breeze, and Steve Kaufmann himself has said that language learning takes a whole lot of work. Also, most of language acquisition is subconscious, so you don’t consciously see the improvement that’s going on in your brain. But as time goes by, if you keep reading, you will understand more of what you’re reading. If there is a trick to LingQ, it’s to read a lot - I mean a LOT - in your target language. The more you immerse yourself in it, the faster you will learn.


I’ve been at LingQ for over a year. Almost all of that time was spent in Sentence View, reading and listening, plus a fair amount of repeating aloud or shadowing.

When I listen, it’s mostly on a sentence basis, not by hitting the Play button in the lower left.

This work adds up over time, though there are periods when it’s hard to feel one is making much progress.

I do recommend importing text for content you want to read. The Text-to-Speech is adequate (at least in French) for listening comprehension.

LingQ has lots of other features, but I haven’t found much use for them. Also be aware there are many bugs and poor design choices in LingQ that one must live with.

In recent months I have also found ChatGPT useful for questions about expressions, unusual word usage and breaking down phrases or sentences that look like word soup at first encounter.


@The_Atomic … How are you measuring progress? What makes you think the other app is helping you more?

I think there could be numerous reasons for this.

Let me first offer an opinion. In terms of vocabulary acquisition and rate of acquisition, I think hands down, LingQ and/or other input based models (that also allow for quick and easy look up of words and phrases) will allow you to aquire passive vocabulary quicker than any other method.

Having said that, that vocabulary is entirely dependent on what you are reading or listening to. If I’m reading content related to politics or science or some other topic, I may not be able to understand if someone is speaking to me about the weather. So your other app might be teaching you greetings and how to order food, but if you’ve chosen a lesson in LingQ about the aformentioned topics on politics or science…perhaps you feel those topics aren’t very helpful in your day to day usual conversations or interests. So you might not rate LingQ very beneficial at this point, although perhaps you’ve learned more words than the other app.

You can adjust this by looking for content already present regarding these more common vocabularies or phrases and importing it (or finding it in the library of LingQ). Any easy thing to do would be to ask Chat GPT to give you a dialogue for a particular situation you might typically run into and ask it to also give you further vocabulary and sentences and phrases that use this vocabulary, and then import it into LingQ as a lesson.

Others have mentioned Dreaming Spanish. I think it’s a great resource, but I really do like to see the words myself…You can import their videos using the LingQ browser extension. Whisper will create the transcription for you in Lingq (keep in mind this takes a little bit of time before the lesson appears in your “imported lesson”). So watch their video and then go through the transcript in LingQ and look up any words or sentences you don’t understand. Try to choose videos for your level to do this.

The other thing you might be seeing as an issue to you is that LingQ does not do anything specific to output (other than writing exchange). Perhaps the other app you are using does do this and you feel this is more progress for you because you are outputting. Keep in mind there are three skills you need…reading, listening, speaking, (and writing if this is important to you). So you could be making progress on reading/listening, but it doesn’t feel like progress compared to be able to say something? Then you could still do LingQ…or maybe you do both apps. LingQ is definitely not a one stop shop for all facets of language learning. Nor is any app in my opinion. All have their own strengths.

Keep in mind though that your passive vocabulary is, by necessity and practicality, going to be larger than your active (output) vocabulary. If you can say something, but you don’t understand what someone replies back to you then you are going to be lost after one sentence, regardless of whether you could recite Hamlet in your target language. So I would suggest that it’s very important to get your passive vocabulary very high as well as listening which LingQ definitely exercises the best.

Perhaps it is also how you are using LingQ. Are you repeating lessons? Are you moving forward to the next lesson only if you “know” all the words? How are you determining when you “know” a word?

I do have some basic suggestions to ponder (although everyone should play around and do what works best).

Read each lesson in sentence mode. Read the sentence, try to understand the meaning of the words and sentence as a whole. If not understood in its entirety, click the “show translation” button to show the meaning of the sentence as a whole. Look at the individual words and LingQ them (mark known or some yellow level). My suggestion would to be to mark it Known if you know the word’s meaning in this context (you can always change it back to yellow if you encounter it again and don’t understand it).

After doing this, read the sentence again trying to again understand with any of this newfound knowledge. If you don’t remember everything, don’t worry, maybe read the translation again and then move on to the next sentence. Keep doing this. You can also play the sound, and definitely in the beginning stages this important to listen and read to start working on the sounds and word(visual) linkage. You should also try to pronounce the sentence as you hear it. You can add or leave in any of these depending on your circumstances at the time (i.e. maybe you don’t want to practice pronunciation while you are reading/listening on the bus). Or maybe you just feel like reading.

If you are a beginner and your lessons are fairly short, then you might want to repeat them a few times (not necessarily at the same sitting). You should start to “know” some of these words with enough repetition. If you do decide to repeat lesson, do not make the mistake of staying on the same lesson until you feel you know all the words. You will severely limit your progress. Some words will stick easy, other words may take a long time and hundreds of repetitions in different contexts. It’s best to move on, because you will gain many hundreds of more easily sticking words. Allow that to happen rather than limiting yourself from learning based on the non sticking words.

You do NOT have to repeat lessons. You can move on. You will see the most common words over and over in different contexts.

Another thing you can do if you don’t want to repeat lessons but maybe want to get some repeated viewings of certain words is to go back into a lesson that you have already read, and hop to each yellow word and read the word in that sentence (and perhaps surrounding sentences). If you understand the word, mark it known. If not, move on to the next word. Doing this will save some time over reading the entire lesson again.

Sorry about the long post, but hopefully it’s helpful.


p.s. if speaking early is important to you, then you will have to practice that. LingQ does not help with this and you will have to use other methods to test. Either via tutors, language partners, speaking to yourself, speaking on camera, or other apps for example. You can work on some output via LingQ. One thing I’ve been doing is going through the mini stories, or other lessons within my native language (English). Sentence by sentence, trying to essentially translate from my native to the target…either speaking or thinking or writing. That will help with output. Perhaps then at the very end of one of these lessons, try to speak about the lesson as a whole. Doesn’t need to be verbatim for any of this…you just want to say whatever or however you can say it. If you don’t know, then look it up…DeepL, chatgpt, etc. You can LingQ into your target language in this manner…sentence translation won’t work unless you do some finagling, but for short phrases and words you can set the dictionary in to your target language.

Other output ideas you can do, non lingq related is to keep a daily or weekly journal. Pretend you are telling someone about your day…either try to speak it out or write it out, or both. Look up how to say things you don’t know in deepl or chatgpt. Once you are done you can use chatgpt to correct you or give you help on saying things in a better way. Or submit to writing exchange on LingQ and someone will hopefully review. Then you can try to recite and memorize some of these sentences. These will be words and phrases that you might use every day…or you can write and focus on those other words and phrases you currently use daily. Ask chatgpt how you would say them… Then import that into LingQ


That’s what happened to me in Turkish. Last March I started with the mini-stories, and found I could learn the words prettly easily (“Susan smiled at him. John sat down.”), but what were all those endings? I didn’t know. I got through 20 or 30 stories, but I wasn’t learning, so I stopped.

Last August, I found Language Transfer, and did their 44-lesson audio-only course in Turkish, then found another series of 100 lessons on Turkish grammar (mostly endings) and did that. Just 1-2 lessons a day, never more. After that I started the mini-stories again, and now I enjoy them. I know (or can figure out) all the endings. Each story has enough repitition that when I get to the questions at the end, I can just listen and answer them.

I’m a firm believer in the “comprehensible input” method, but for me it doesn’t work well at the very beginning. It might also depend on the language you’re learning. If it is fairly similar to one you know, maybe you’ll need less of the “grammar” stuff.


Absolutely right. The reason why it doesn’t work at the very beginning is that you’re not dealing with “comprehensible input” but with “incomprehensible input”. That’s why, in my opinion, it’s better to learn about the basics first and only then switch to LingQ (regardless of what Mr. Kaufmann thinks about it).


Yes. More listening and reading. If you don’t want to do it on LingQ, try just watching Dreaming Spanish on YouTube. So, in general, yes! that is correct thank you for your input .The key is a regular consistency of 30 minutes to an hour each day for three months. If you give it that, then you’ll surely see a difference.

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