I’ve just added some terms to my vocabulary. I reviewed the words by using flashcards. But somehow, i can’t really memorize the words since the flashcard gives me an english term (=foreign language) and i can only recognise the word and try to give a translation in my own language (=dutch). So i can’t use it actively! So i was wondering…wouldn’t it be easy if you could choose whether the ‘hint’ or the ‘lingQed term’ is given when you pratise your vocabulary.
I also use another ‘vocabulary training program’ (in dutch) and you have this option there. It’s better…you can train both skills (recognizing and using) and then you don’t need to make all the flashcard again whereas the hint of another lingQ is the lingQed term of the new one.
What do you think about this?


Hoi Vincent, bij lingq zijn ook Nederlandse deelnemers, dus een deel van de woorden die je aan het leren bent zijn misschien al naar het Nederlands vertaald. Als je op de knop ‘user hints’ klikt bij het maken van een flashcard kun je zien of er misschien al een Nederlandse vertaling beschikbaar is. Mij heeft het soms geholpen.



Het gaat er niet om of de vertaling al dan niet in the Nederlands is of niet. Soms heb ik ook een ‘omschrijving’ van het Engelse woord in het Engels dan.
Maar het zou toch véél handiger zijn als het woord dat je aan het leren bent langs beide kanten kan laten ondervragen. Dan steek je er niet zoveel moeite in om steeds nieuwe flashcards te maken. (eigenlijk zijn ze niet nieuw, want het woord blijft hetzelfde, je verwisselt alleen ‘hint’ en ‘lingqed term’ van plaats.
Wat denk je daarvan?


Ja, als het automatisch zou kunnen dan zou dat natuurlijk een stuk handiger zijn. Ik type me nu een slag in de rondte…

So my question to the lingq team is:
can this be fixed or not?


  1. You can enter whatever you want in the Hint, including a term in your own language from whatever dictionary you want.
  2. Reversing the Flash Cards from the Hint is already on our to do list.
  3. We hope to have Dutch as a language in the future.

Sorry vinbelgium, I couldn’t read the Dutch… but I think your question is interesting…

One issue with the flashcard option that you’re proposing (“hint” >(phrase)>“lingQ”) is that the target “lingQ” probably will be more complex in production than in recognition. For example:

‘Jenny told mother robbery witnessed last night.’

You can guess 70% of the meaning. Now look at the way the sentence was actually produced:

‘Jenny told her mother about the robbery she witnessed last night.’

It is more complex to produce this sentence than to recognize its meaning.

Therefore, assuming LingQ had the “hint” >(phrase)>“lingQ” option, you would not only need the option of ‘LingQ-ing’ a cluster of words, for example “told her mother about” but you would also need to generate a definition or easy paraphrase … ideally as easily as you would for a single word.

Presently, only the recognition (“lingQ”>(phrase)>“hint”) sequence is possible with LingQ. I think it is to do with the underlying principles of LingQ which I will summarize with your question about activating vocabulary in mind. (Steve and Mark, correct me if I am wrong)

Learning to produce or “activate” a language is more like training to be a dancer or a tennis player than memorizing an extremely long shopping list. Therefore, just like in dancing or tennis, the best way to learn is by doing it. Participate in discussions and write about things that are important to you. Have native speaker (or native-like) tutors who will motivate you by correcting you without stopping the flow of the discourse.

However, an important difference between learning to play tennis and learning to produce a foreign language is that you can directly observe what other tennis players are doing and it is easy to break it down into sub skills, for example serving or ground strokes, which can be practised alone. Language, on the other hand, is more complex because it is learned from birth and it is by nature a spontaneous and wide ranging activity. The sub skills of producing language, therefore, are mostly hidden from conscious observation and what is known is extremely complex.

For example, to write this letter in a way that is acceptable in your mother tongue, I would need to learn to produce a wide array of Dutch expressions which work together and make sense at the word level, AND at the sentence level, AND the paragraph level, AND which are appropriate to the wider context (an internet discussion forum) and to the reader, (you). It is quite mind boggling that I can do that even in English, never mind understand HOW I do it.

Using flash cards going from “hint” >(phrase)>“lingQ” is a possible model for one thing that could happen in your mind when producing language but it might just interrupt the natural flow of what does happen. Furthermore, paying too much attention to the mechanics of how we produce the language–how we are saying something-- prevents us from paying attention to more important aspects of communication. When producing the foreign language, it is advisable to be absorbed in what our listener/reader is saying and ideas we are expressing.

According to the LingQ method, that kind of facility for a foreign language can be much more efficiently gained by consciously immersing yourself in the recognition of language texts . In my case, for Dutch (when it is available), I would have to start with 15 second dialogues and probably lingQ half the words in them. In a sense I would ‘drill’ these words and the underlying structure because I would need to listen 20-50 times, but it would be a recognition drill, I would not be worrying about production. After perhaps 3 months of steady work I might be ready to ‘play the game’ of speaking. For you, in English, you would need to join interesting discussions and write about things that are important to you. Or, second best would be to find a specific subject or two that interests you and try to go as deeply into it as you can in order to find new vocabulary to LingQ.

In a nutshell, (again, Steve and Mark, correct me if I am wrong) the flash cards are designed the way they are because immersing yourself in recognition of language is much more important than trying to consciously activate the vocab. I personally believe that this principles are largely correct.

The funny thing is, I actually have a tendency to go against these principles. I stubbornly hold on to the notion that I can speed up language production by consciously practising it while I am alone. But when I actually get to speak or write I usually pause much more than I expect. I also find that the stuff that really flows is the stuff that came in through the “side door”, the expressions that were peripheral to the ones I actuallyworked on. The stuff I tried to pull in the “front door” is either in fragments or nowhere to found.

Maybe I (and others) need to satisfy this need to “speed things up” in order to stay motivated. Just a thought.


When will this feature (reversing the flash cards from the hint) and Dutch be available here at lingq? I’m happy that it will be available anyway (I hope in the near future though).
When Dutch is available, will you need any tutors? Do you need qualifications to be one? I would like to be one. :slight_smile: hehe.

Dooo, i’m thinking about your opinion. I’ll write a reply soon (I don’t have much time now).


vin sorry, I went on for a long time in my post haha :0

Hi all,
dooo’s explanation is interesting… I am actually giving myself a hard time trying to memorize and activate all the words I don’t know, so maybe I’ll now make it easier on myself !

Anyway, for those who still want to reverse flash cards after that, I do it this way : just reduce your window so you can only see the word in your native language when you click on “check”. Then you scroll up to check the foreign word, you scroll down again to hide it again, and click on “oops” or “got it”. And start again (“check”) with the new word that appears.

We have no schedule for the introduction of this feature. It is not high on our priority list right now. There is simple too much to do.

I am not convinced it is that useful. I will tell you why.

  1. There are so many words to learn. It is more difficult and more time consuming to do the reverse Flash Card. It is more useful in my opinion to edit the sample phrase, and to search for more examples, in other words to see the many ways in which these words are used in the target language. The ability to go from your own language to the target language will come naturally.

  2. It is a futile task to try to nail words down in my opinion. Some you get right away , and some you will not get for a while. Given that you have a limited amount of time to spend on the language, I think you should go through the flash cards quickly.

  3. Going back from the Hint to a meaning in the target language is a little artificial. Any translation depends on the context, and doing it this way yo have no context. The hint is only there to give you a “hint” as to the meaning, on your way to learning. It will help you the next time you meet it in a different context, and the next time and the next.

Any given word in your own language will usually generate many terms in the target language. If you want to test yourself on going back from the Hint, you can enter them one by one in the Search feature in the Vocab section and see what you get. I must admit that I rarely do this because it takes too much time.

I tend to listen 60% of the time, read and save words 30% of the time, and review vocabulary 10% of the time.

Lylandra, that’s a genius lo-tech solution (if you want reverse flash card ability). I love it :0


We definitely would want you as a tutor for Dutch. The main thing for tutors at LingQ is to be familiar with our system, to speak their native language well, to be enthusiastic and encouraging to the learners, and to be able to handle conversations with up to 4 people on Skype and make sure everyone gets an equal chance to speak and to keep the conversation going. We have some instructions which I will send you once Dutch gets gong, which I hope will not be too far in the future.

Ok! You can remember that i’m available as a Dutch tutor.
I have another question:

What do you recommend an advanced speaker of English to enhance the vocabulary skills? Just listening and reading? I’ve experienced that when I’m reading an English text, I can understand almost everything.
I can understand the words, but i can’t use them actively!
So now I’m thinking of saving a lot of words and reviewing them.
Maybe writing is another good way?



It depends on your situation.

Reading and listening with a view to saving words and phrases that you want to use is a good strategy. You do not just need to save words that you do not know the meaning of. Save words and phrases that you know that you want to use.

Writing is very good, because you tend to be a little more adventurous in your use of words. What is more when you get the text corrected at LingQ you will be able to import it and save more key words and phrases.

Speaking is also important but you may not have a lot of opportunity to do that.

Make sure that in your reading and listening you are challenging yourself with somewhat difficult content. I would also focus on one area at a time. Do a long novel by someone who writes well. That will immerse you in that person’s style and vocabulary. Do nothing but economics or philosophy for a while. Where possible combine audio and text.

General comment:

One way to make discussions feel more productive or “vocabulary activating” could be to have discussion students open the “submit writing”, or any similar page where there is a word list with check boxes, and ask them to check off words as they use them. Then there could be a short feedback session focussed on the checked words at the end of the discussion. Students could even easily open their lingqs and edit their phrases during the feedback.


That is an excellent idea. The “submit writing” page shows their priority LingQs. It is there to encourage learners to use them while writing. However, learners can prepare all kinds of special lists of words from their Vocab section, using Tags for example, for discussion with their tutors. They can also use them in writing.

If I have a word, phrase or sentence where I am unsure, I give them the TAG “asking”. Then, when I have a 1 on 1 conversation I use this filter and can ask the tutor. I think that is what Steve means.

I had not thought of that idea, Irene, but it is a very good way to set aside words for discussion with a tutor. Thanks!

I take a lot of good suggestions from this thread.
Thank you all!