How do you lingq languages very similar / partially interintelligible to your own?

Say I’d like to learn French or Portuguese, and I already know Italian.

Given the similarity between romance languages, if I read a book like “The count of Montecristo”, I can understand everything by only looking up a couple of words on each page. If I only needed to get the gist of it, I could even do without the dictionary.

What bothers me is that I don’t really “know” all those words. They may have a slightly different shade of meaning, or even being “false friends”. And of course, I wouldn’t be able to use the word actively. Also, given the gamification side of the site, it feels like cheating.

On the other hand, adding and studying lingqs for thousand of words which I already 99% understand is tiring and frustrating, and gives me an ugly feeling I’m using my time very inefficiently. Especially considering that I’m almost exclusively interested in passive understanding.

If you found yourself in the same situation, how did you tackle this problem, and how did it work out? If you didn’t, how would you hypothetically deal with this problem?


I think it really depends on your goals and personal philosophy. I want to become sort of a “lay linguistic expert”, every word that I encounter is a potential word to learn. I only exclude place names that are literary the same such as London (in German and English) but would lingq Londra (Italian). Based on previous comments there are members who would not lingq words like Londra or variations of Latin and Greek based words.

I never study lingqs with the flashcard system because I find it excruciatingly boring, so our situations might be a tad different. Anyway, if you’re really know these similar words 99 % (figure of speech, I know) and read a lot you will become familiar with these differences quickly.

In terms of the gamification or “cheating” there are some people who take this very seriously but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. The general consensus seems to dictate that if you start out on, say a romance language and have previous knowledge it is perfectly fine to lingq (and make known) words that are obvious.


Not related to the discussion, but congratulations on your choice of avatar. Moomins (if that is the original name) is an exceptional comic.


Thanks, actually in Swedish it would be Mumin, I guess the s in the english name is because it is the plural indicator and the u is replaced by oo because of phonetic reasons.

I’m actually learning italian now and I am a native speaker of portuguese and I also know French. Even though I do understand a lot of it naturally, it is no way enough, not to read naturally, you can get the gist, but the gist is not enough. I am reading Il Padrino, even if I had only been learning italian for ten days, it has been a relatively easy reading, but I do have to look up words quite a lot.

If there is a “false friend” eventually it shows itself, you know? Eventually it will not make sense, so when I do not understand a phrase I was supposed to understand, I just look up each word and it gets clarified. To misunderstand and make mistakes is also a part of the journey.

I would add the words but set them to level 2 or 3. It actually feels like cheating when I DO add the words as LingQs, because I have daily goal of LingQs , not known words. I might go over them later and set them to known.