How do you study a language on LingQ when you only know a few words?

I find it easy to study languages such as French, Japanese and Polish because i already know a lot of words in those languages but i’m struggling with Hebrew and Arabic because I only know a few basic words in them so I need to click on every single word which is extremely boring and tiresome (plus I usually forget what they mean after a couple of minutes anyway). Do you guys use a different app to learn vocabulary before using LingQ?


I use a mixture of apps along with LingQ.

  • Memrise is good for quick memorization challenges, though you have to pay for the service to get more than the basics, which includes grammar.
  • Anki lets you make your own flashcards from the LingQs you save here, which I just realized, so long as you have the language loaded onto your smartphone or tablet and can type out what you need. (Learning how to do this with Japanese right now, and I use Microsoft Swiftkey for that.)

Well, I think you just brute force it, really, until it gets easier.

When I’d started learning Spanish first I listened to about 3-4 hours of Language Transfer and a couple of hundred words through Anki and got bored of both so I’d stopped learning. Roughly a year later I decided to pick up Spanish again but read a graded reader instead and it was really easy due to the amount of cognates and probably some of the vocabulary that stayed with me from the previous year. I’m still only intermediate in Spanish but can listen to intermediate podcasts/interviews/etc. without having to deal with too many unknown words.

I also recently started dabbling in French and here in comparison, in the beginning I needed to look up almost every word. I’d learned some words through Anki (Refold’s paid deck) before I started reading stories at LingQ, just a couple hundred, and I recognize many words thanks to Spanish, but in the beginning and in many of the mini stories I still read most of the words are still yellow. If I didn’t have a decent vocabulary from Spanish I imagine it would be a lot more tiresome and I’d spend even more time highlighting words. But the silver lining is that it really gets easier very quickly as long as you do it every day.

I’m not a huge fan of Anki and vocab practice outside of context (no, sentences don’t count) but it is very useful especially in the beginning so I’d suggest you do that while you’re still reading at LingQ and highlighting words. You can think of Anki as something that doesn’t work on its own but will boost how quickly you progress at LingQ (or wherever else you read/listen). That’s how I think of it anyway.

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I mainly study Mandarin (intermediate-ish) but have recently started re-learning some basic Japanese for work and am having a similar experience. At first, I had to reset my Japanese stats as I couldn’t remember how to read any hiragana/katakana, but that didn’t really matter though because I was clicking every word to see what it meant/how to say etc. anyway. quite a slog. After that, and this may be a bit blasphemous, I started spending more of my Japanese time using Duolingo, purely because it’s a more user-friendly way (in my opinion) of getting over the initial period of not knowing any words/characters etc. Also, when I first started studying Japanese for the first time, I also used Anki to try and quickly increase my basic vocab, so that I could start using Lingq with less hassle. If I wanted to invest more time in Japanese I would prob use Anki again until I could start reading through the mini stories without my brain falling to bits after one sentence.

Not that I have much experience using lingq on a language I don’t know anything about, but Steve also has some videos on it.

I think you can choose to either bruto force your way through, or start by getting notions of the language. What I would do is: Look at some youtube videos explaining basic grammar concepts, read some basic textbooks or maybe an asimil guide or the like. You could then power through some flashcards using software such as anki and learn the 100 to 1000 most common words.

Then start with the simple stuff: mini stories, asimil, easy stories you can find online.

I would add in addition to the other comments, at least for Hebrew…when you start out why don’t you start to write out of some of the simpler words and lead up for there. I’m thinking that getting iuse to the writing and just the act of doing it may be one further way to really entrench/ingrain these words in your memory.

I’m not an expert, but I would recommend you get a lot of comprehensible input on youtube in your target language first.
To get a feeling for the language.

With Hebrew I learned the first 2,000 most common words using an app. Then I jumped on LingQ. And just slowly little by little struggled through dialogue. And I bought a living language course.

Don’t worry about forgetting words, that’s normal, especially at the very beginning. I’d stick with simple sentences and just listen to them over and over. I’ve never used the short stories on here but I’d imagine they’re good for that. Stories are always best because of the relistenability (I think I just made up that word). Unfortunately, without visual clues you’re going to have to look up most words at the start, it can’t really be avoided. It won’t always be like that though. GL.