Explaining LingQ, the site and the learning system

Here is an interesting post from Janna. I have started a new thread on this and would appreciate your ideas and comments.

I have many friends who would love to learn languages or are already learning languages and I am sure they would be great at using LingQ, and I have referred many of them to the site. The problem is many of them get to the site, excited to start using it, but even with the new layout and everything, it’s still confusing. They might understand how the SITE works, but they don’t understand how the SYSTEM works - that is, they don’t understand the LingQ system for learning a language. They don’t understand the idea of input-based language learning, the importance of reading & listening without staying too focused on grammar and the importance of learning vocabulary in context. I have tried explaining it to each of them individually but it is difficult and time-consuming and deters me from referring friends, since I don’t have the time or energy to teach every single potential user the ideas behind the system and what they should be doing to succeed. Therefore, I think it would really help if we had something BESIDES the existing tutorial that explains how the site operates, which would explain the LingQ system of language learning and the ideas behind it. I’m thinking something like what Ana has written in the Portuguese section, “Como usar o LingQ.” Because honestly I am lucky to have found that, it’s the reason why I use the site as much as I do today and have seen so much success with it…if I hadn’t found it I would probably still be confused and would have probably abandoned LingQ.

It took me awhile to actually start using lingq even though I’d known about it for awhile. Eventually I just came to the conclusion that I preferred input based learning after getting virtually nowhere in my Polish learning for over a year.

I mean, I could teach Polish grammar to another English speaker, I could explain the noun cases and I could explain the difference between perfective and imperfective verbs and a few other intricacies but I douldn’t understand to where my mother-in-law was trying to tell me she was going. I couldn’t understand when she asked what kind of soup she wanted me to make, and I could hardly shop at the store, until I jerry-rigged lingq to work for me.

I think just one of Steve’s videos would be enough. One that explains how to start learning a language (maybe a new one that focuses on lingq’s best attributes). Tutorials and scripted explanations are boring, Steve’s brazenness isn’t even if I don’t agree with it all the time. I’d like to take a poll to see how many people found lingq through youtube like I did.

Chris, and Janna, some time ago I did a series of videos explaining how to learn at LingQ. I did them in a number of languages. Are these helpful?

The first one is in English, Mandarin, Spanish and French, the second one in Portuguese Japanese Russian and German, and the third one in Swedish, Cantonese and Italian, We could make these available to people based on their native language, somewhere on the site.

We are also looking at other solutions.

I experienced the same as Chris. Only after viewing a lot of your youtube videos, I really got how the system worked.

I saw the first one in English. To me it’s pretty good, but not enough in order to persuade a newcomer.
In my opinion you need more detail explanation in all of these languages. You can put them in www.thelinguist.com also. Personally I like videos more than reading articles :slight_smile:

When I started with lingq, I meet no problem with how the Site works nor how the system works. I was enough curious, patient and motivate to use lingq. I was confident as soon as I begin to work with Lingq with the system. I needed to improve in english and I knew that the scolar education system was unsuccesful with me, so I had only to try, it couldn’t be worse than the education system, and I was very fastly convinced that Lingq system was my way to learn languages.

I came to LingQ via finding Steve’s book on The Linguist. For me, that was the best intro I could have had to what LingQ was all about. It is immensely readable and, quite important, a quick read. It more than outlines the approach and thinking behind ‘the system’ and convinced me to join up (and stick with it, despite some largely self-inflicted difficulty). If I were a newcomer to the site, a huge signpost to Steve’s book and somewhat slower tutorial, perhaps with interactive elements (?), might make the site compulsive even faster.

I found LingQ while searching for some Swedish content with both text and audio. And when I finally found LingQ I realised that it is what I want :slight_smile: Although it took me for a while really to understand and to accept LingQ method. Hmmm… Perhaps, not the LingQ method, but the fact that perfection is good, but fluency is much better :)))

Apart from the issue of making the site more user-friendly to people not familiar with Steve’s ideas, there is also the question of how come there are not more experienced language learners using LingQ?

Some time ago Steve mentioned that The Linguist was voted the Number 1 language blog. So there should really be a lot of people familiar with Steve’s ideas already. Also, the ideas of getting lots and lots of input, not worrying too much about grammar, etc. are familiar to those who frequent Antimoon, All Japanese All The Time, Spanish Only, all are sites with substantial followings. Why aren’t those people coming to and/or staying at LingQ?

It’s been quite a while since I first heard of LingQ, and I only joined less than a month ago. I was skeptical that LingQ could help me all that much. I mean, there are plenty of resources on the net. So who needs LingQ anyway?

Now I have come to appreciate that the power of LingQ is not in its separate components. No doubt one can find find better content, videos, audios, flash card/SRS tools, etc. elsewhere on the internet. The power of LingQ is in the convenience an integrated system offers. Sure I could do everything by myself, but LingQ saves me a of hassles, for a monthly fee that is more or less negigible. (Even in these economic hard times, it is hard to believe that US$10 a month is a lot of money to anyone serious about learning languages.) It didn’t take me long to convince myself that henceforth LingQ should form the core of my language learning routines.

I am aware that not everyone will be as easily convinced I was; and I don’t pretend to know the answer to this problem. However, I do think that 300 free LingQs are just not enough to get newcomers hooked to the habit of using the system. (I remember reading somewhere that Steve says saving 100 LingQs a day is not many, and 300 LingQs won’t last you that many days.) It can take people a long time to form new habits/overcome their biases. So a trial scheme that offers, say, 2000 free LingQs; or perhaps unlimited LingQs for 3 months, might work. Once someone has become a regular LingQ user, there’s everyone chance that he/she would stay for a long time to come.

In fact well over 90% of people who register at LingQ do nothing, save no LingQs. They are the people we want to reach. Anyone who saves 100 or 200 or 300 LingQs has understood the system usually stays.

Well put, Cantotango, I also think the integration of services is the best part of LingQ, since a lot of their services are available separately on the net. Although I have to say for me as a learner of Japanese and to lesser extent (now), French, the LingQ libraries are the best I have found on the net.

How about The Language Learner’s Manifesto. Does it help. Should every learner be required to learn it, one paragraph at a time? We can have it available in all languages.

The Language Learner’s Manifesto

Have you tried to learn another language ? How did it go? Are you still afraid to speak that language? Please study this and repeat it to yourself daily.

I can be FLUENT. My goal is to be FLUENT. My goal is not to be perfect. My goal is just to be FLUENT. I can be FLUENT and still make mistakes.

I need to make a fresh start. I will not think of rules of grammar. I will forget about quizzes and tests. I will forget all the times I made mistakes. I will forget about my native language. I will forget who I am. I will become a new person, speaking a new language. I will have fun with the language. I will focus on enjoying myself. That is how I will learn to become FLUENT. I know I can do it.

I know how I will learn. I will listen often, every day. I will let myself go. I will listen in the morning and listen at night. I will listen and let the language enter my mind. I will choose content that I like to listen to, where the voice is pleasant. I will listen to the sounds and the rhythm of the language. I will listen to the words and the phrases but I will not worry about what I do not understand. I will continue listening and enjoying the language. I will take my listening with me on the bus, on walks and even when I do other chores. Listening will help to make me FLUENT.

I will read what I am listening to. This will help me to understand. Sometimes what I read will be full of words and phrases that I do not know. I will save these and review them regularly. It does not matter that I quickly forget the meaning of these new words and phrase. If I keep listening, reading and reviewing them, they will eventually become a part of me. Sometimes I will read easy content where I know most of the words. I will do this for fun, and because it is helping the language become natural to me. Reading will help me to become FLUENT.

As I continue listening and reading, I will understand more and more of the language, naturally. This gives me a sense of achievement and power, as my brain gets used to the new language. This will encourage me to continue. It is important to continue, with energy and enthusiasm. It takes months to get used to a new language. It takes months to become FLUENT.

I am patient. I do not mind spending the time to become FLUENT in the new language because I enjoy doing it. I know that as I notice more and more words and phrases, I will be able to understand more and more of what I hear and read. If I understand what I hear and read, I will soon be able to speak and write. Until I can understand what I hear and read, I will not be able to speak and write well. But there is no hurry.

Even if I do not understand everything, I can practice repeating what I hear. I can repeat words, imitating the sounds. I can repeat phrases and sentences, imitating the rhythm. I can even read out loud. It does not matter that my pronunciation is not yet natural. Just repeating and reading out loud will help me to hear the sounds of the language and make me more comfortable. Gradually my pronunciation will improve and I will be able to speak with confidence and become FLUENT.

I will never say that I am no good. When I read and listen I will tell myself “nice going”, even if there are always some parts that are not clear. When I try to pronounce the new language and still make mistakes, I will not care. I know that I am improving, naturally. I will always be nice to myself. I will try not to be nervous. If I make a mistake I will say “never mind”. If I forget a word I will say “never mind.” If I have trouble saying what I want to say, I will tell myself " no problem". I will continue until I am FLUENT.

I will trust myself. I will be confident. I will treat myself with respect. I just need to keep going, no matter what. The more I listen and read, the more I study my words and phrases, the more I repeat, the more I enjoy the language, the sooner I will be FLUENT . I know I will succeed.

I have been reading “The Linguist on Language” blog for several months, perhaps even a year. I didn’t join earlier because

  1. I didn’t realize that the language libraries were so extensive.
  2. I thought that there was mostly beginner content in some languages.
  3. I wondered if this was a Buddhist site or associated with FG because of the English library listings.
  4. I was using the podcasts mostly for listening practice to keep up my languages.
  5. The comments on the blog didn’t accurately reflect what a large, great community you have here.
  6. I didn’t know that certain respected internet polyglots also posted here.

I don’t save many LingQs because I hate checking my e-mail so often. Usually I remember a word after I see it a few times, so I just jot it down and when I go out of town, I take my notebook and review the words.

I’m thinking about buying some points. Can I remain a “free” member and do this? I’d like to check sentences related to my field of work with native speakers.

The main reason why I save so many LingQ is for the yellow highlighting of these saved LingQs when they next appear. That is when I learn them. I usually only go through my flash cards once. I find it helpful to do so. If I am too busy I just scan them as a list.

We do not control the nature of the content, so there may be times when we have more biblical content or the communist manifesto or whatever. This tends to even itself out. However allowing people to contribute what they want is why these libraries are growing. Note that you can also import things of special interest to you.

If you are going to buy points you are better to become a Basic member since the points are then half price. You can always downgrade back to free whenever you want.

Note the following from the Buy Points page.

Do my points expire?
Yes, any unused points expire after 90 days.
How does the Points Discount work?
The undiscounted price of points is $20 for 1000 points. Paying accounts will get a discount of 50% and will pay $10 for 1000 points.

Thank-you for your comments, Steve and SanneT.

Is it possible to use points simply to ask for corrections /verifications unrelated to a podcast?

I know about LingQ now- that it has a variety of content, but initially I was very cautious because I thought it was related to a particular religion, so it’s possible that others may think the same thing.

You do not need points to ask questions. However, only paying members have the right to a answer by a tutor. On the other hand native speakers will often volunteer an answer on the forum.

The main reason to become a paying member are to be able to maintain a word and phrase inventory in excess of 300 (mine is 25,000 in Russian alone), and to buy points for discussions and writing correction.

We will shortly be increasing the relative advantages paying membership but the situation right now is as I described.

I have never heard from anyone that our site was perceived as a religious site. This is new.

Maitee, I put up the stuff related to Falun Gong and Yoga etc. They are Wikipedia articles. The have a critical take on the subject as well as providing background and description. Most people will see them as informational, just like they would see an average encyclopedia article.


You can have any text you want corrected. The writing submissions do not have to have anything to do with the lesson you are studying. Just click on the Write task or go to the Write page and submit your text.

Oh, I misunderstood Maitee.

By the way, when I go to the library I do no see any of the Falun Gong articles. I see quite a variety of content, and I would agree that these Wikipedia articles are quite acceptable content.