Asking newcomers to try LingQ

We are sorting out the bugs that came with the new version. We are all users of the system and have a perspective as users. I would be very interested in hearing the reactions of first time users. Can you ask you friends to use the system, people who have not used the system before, and see what they do?

It should be people who are interested in learning a language for the test to be realistic.

Many thanks.

Though I signed up a long time ago, I am in effect a newcomer, as prior to the release of the new version, I have not made a real effort to use LingQ.

The reasons for this were varied, including the lack of features I desired, and what seemed to be a needless complexity to the web site.

The second issue has been resolved to my satisfaction.
The first remains to be seen – It seems several of the features I would like to see now exist, but at the moment at least one of them does not work (When importing a private lesson, I get a 500 error when trying to include a URL for audio)

The most significant feature that I find lacking is the ability to export the LingQs (ie Flashcards). I use an SRS program on my smartphone when I am away from the computer and it would be great to be able to include the words from LingQ.

As an alternative suggestion, perhaps a WAP and/or PDA compatible mobile version of the flashcard application.

I would be happy to answer and specific questions you might have on my “newbie experience”.


Thanks Paul,

I am glad you find the site easier. That was our goal, and we are going to refine what we have done and improve it.

With regard to features that either do not work or are not there yet.

  1. I know there is an issue with importing content right now, we are working on it. In any case you can import the text and deal with the sound separately for now. You will at least benefit from many of LingQ’s features, creating LingQs, highlighted LingQs, statistics, the emailed LingQs, flash cards etc.

  2. We have the intention to facilitate the exporting and importing of lists. We also intend to create simply applications to be available on cell phones and PDA’s. Again we are small with lots of things to do.

  3. For the time being you are able to receive your list of saved LingQs which are emailed on an SRS basis. I see the list on my Blackberry and review them in flash cards when I am a computer. We expect that a flash card system for hand helds will not be difficult it is just a matter of finding the time.

Our main area of concern right now is to get the newcomer to understand what to do and why it will help him or her learn.

I played a little with an old secondary account I used to make some tests.
One thing that I noticed and maybe is somewhat serious, is that it is not at all clear how a person can use lingq for free.The disposition there creates a strong impression that they will need to buy a course to really see how things work. I don’t think too many people are going to start by paying U$150 for something that they don’t even understand…
I guess this could be solved with an additional link in the “how to start” window with something like “how to study by myself” or something like that.


You can not really judge how a newbie will be affected in either of your existing accounts. In a brand new account there is the Welcome page, the Getting Started window and the Self-directed course appears as the first course in the Course list. Only after you have selected the Self-Directed course is it removed from the Course list. You already have the Self Directed course in your existing account since you had previously existing lessons in that account. New users do not.

At any rate, we will be running tests here shortly to see how newbies react to the site.

Newcomer note:

The features of a LingQ (status, tags, etc) are explained in the Help section of the Vocabulary screens.

However, the first time a new user encounters these features are when adding LingQs within a lesson. The Help available while in the Lesson view does not (IMHO) adequately explain LingQs.

Which brings me to another matter – The use of “LingQ” as both the name of the site, and as a “sound alike” reference to a hyperlinked vocabulary word is not the most intuitive of choices. Simply an observation, as I fail to offer a better solution.

Thanks for the input on the Help. We are looking at ways to explain the site better, although most people do not read help. We simply have to make it easier to use, and hopefully people will ask for help on the forum as well. I recommend that people get a tutor, at least in the beginning in order to learn how best to use the site. Advice from other learners at the Forum is also invaluable.

We are not about to change the name of the site nor the term for saving a word or phrase. When you create a LingQ you are helping to create links in your brain that will help you learn. It may not be intuitive to some, but that is what we have decided to go with.

lesspaul: yes “sound alike” i’m not exactly sure but i think the term is “onomatopoeia” - or close to it. not sure…

As for the topic of discussion: Youtube tutorial videos perhaps?

There would be a way to use jing or other recorders (some zoom in to a portion of the screen to allow the text to remain legible in youtube videos), then if needed a flash to avi/mpeg converter. Then upload it to youtube. I’ve seen it done with other tutorials such as music software. It would also use the audio of the person “driving” the video.

This would act as a tutorial as well as allowing people who haven’t used lingq before to get an idea of what it is about. I would say even doing an “entire” session of Who-Is-She? Perhaps even youtubing somebody going through parts 1-10 and putting that entire thing on youtube would be good. If people get hooked on the story they would perhaps join lingq to continue?


The name of the site was the first thing, that rouse my interest, when I came cross with this site. When I began exploring, I was amazed with “lingqing”, not just as tool for saving and reviewing new words/phrases, but the word itself. It does not confuse newcomers, I think it distinguish this site from others. When I saw “lingqing”, I thought that this site is well thought-out, and finally I had found what I want :slight_smile:

Hmm… My explanation is not very clear, but I think you understand what I mean…

soundalike = homonym or homophone. I think in the case of LingQ and LingQ (both spelled the same) they are homonyms.

Ah yes I think you’re right. LingQ and Link sound the same but are spelt differently. Therefore they are homonyms.


I’m sorry I have to correct:
homonyms are spelled the same so Helen is right to state the different meanings of LingQ are homonyms.
LingQ and link are spelled differently. They sound the same and are homophones.

Homonym: alike in name
Homophone: alike in sound

Oh bother, there I go sounding like a school teacher again!

Thanks darbanville - so LingQ is a homophone of Link.


I’m very new. I have known about LingQ for quite a while. I had a friend that introduced me to Steve’s Blog about a year ago. I also read Steve’s book, and really enjoyed it, because it reminded me of my own language learning experiences, and what has worked for me. I’ve been visiting Steve’s Blog for over a year…but I never tried out LingQ. Just a few weeks ago…I noticed a “free trial” button on Steve’s Blog…I had never seen it before. I decided that I had no excuse and might as well give LingQ a try. Here is my experience:

I found site registration to be extremely easy. The Welcome video was a nice touch, and I thought it did a very good job of helping me understand some of the basics of how this site can be helpful.

Finding “free” lessons was a little difficult, because at the start…the only options I had, were between which tutors I wanted to pay. Once I figured out how to add lessons to my profile, the welcome video was very instrumental in helping know how to get going.

I love how LingQ functions. I love the ability to highlight a word I don’t know, and get a quick definition. I think it is great how flashcards are made automatically. I also think it is great that both Audio and Text are available for each lesson, and either are easily downloaded into a portable format.

As a newbie…there are some things that are a bit dissatisfying to me. I’m not really happy with how LinQs are organized. If for example, I mark a LinQ as “known”, I would prefer that it goes into a “known” folder. This would be much easier for me, and would help when I want to focus on Flashcards of words I don’t know.

I’m also dissatisfied with the inability to toggle options on the flashcards, and the inability to transfer flashcards to a more portable format. To me…if I can’t take flashcards with me…they are pretty much useless. My time at the computer is much better spent, going over lesson material or chatting with a tutor.

Another issue of slight annoyance…is the way the forums are formatted. Most forums put the active threads at the top of each section of the forum. If there is an important thread, it is usually pinned at the top of the forum to make it easier to find. The “forums” section on the side of the “profile” page helps somewhat…but it only shows the 10 most recent posts…and one active thread could easily take up all of those slots.

I’m not sure how the Forums rate, in terms of importance, but if they are just “an afterthought”, I would encourage reevaluating that idea. “The Community” is probably one of the strongest aspects of LingQ that can truly make it a success over competitors. Making it easier to exchange information and offer support of each other should be of upmost importance.

LingQ has some great things going for it… and lots of potential. I’ve “dipped my toe” in the water…but I am still a little leary about coming all the way in. While there are certain aspects and convenience of the system that I like, I’m not convinced that even at $10 per month, my money is well invested. That is where I am at right now…but who knows…with time…things might change.


I’ve asked about forums before and Mark replied that they had to create the forum from a scratch to integrate it with the site.

Look up this thread:


Thanks for this valuable input. Most of your peeves are on our list.

We intend to allow you to sort your LingQs by status in the Vocab section.
We will improve Flash Cards and make them available on hand held devices.
Forum improvement is near the top of our list.
Improving Community interaction is also at the top of our list.

As to the value of what we offer at $10 a month, that is for each person to decide. Obviously to me, the return on money invested in terms of language learning is unrivaled. But then I am not exactly impartial.