How to start from zero

Hello everyone,

I’m just starting my Japanese language learning journey. I’m starting from ground zero and have essentially no vocabulary. I’m intrigued by the LingQ system/concept, so I’m trying it out for a month. Every word I come to is new and I highlight everything it seems. Any suggestions on how to proceed? Should I return when I have a little more of a base to build on or just keep on forging ahead?

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The biggest thing is understanding that the way you learn on LingQ is probably different than you are used to learning.

LingQ is about immersion, immersion from day 1. You read and listen to content and flood your brain with your new language. Your brain will learn if you feed it. As you learn, you will gradually be able to learn from content you are interested in and will direct your own learning either in our library or by finding your own sources to import from. Just read, listen and enjoy the journey.

Here is how it works:

  1. Open an interesting lesson from your Lesson Feed. Choose something that looks interesting. Set your level to a range of levels so you see a variety of content. You can try different lessons until you find something you like. Don’t look for a set order, there isn’t one and it’s unnecessary. Spend a lot of time on the LingQ Mini Stories since they emphasize the most common patterns. Then, look for other lessons that you are interested in since it will be more motivating and effective.

  2. Read the lesson, clicking on any unknown words

  3. Add meanings for these words by clicking one of the popular meanings shown or, if you don’t like these, checking the attached dictionaries and creating your own. This is called creating LingQs.

  4. Add the audio to your Playlist and listen many times

  5. When you have time, re-read the lesson and click on your yellow words (LingQs) to review.

  6. Gradually increase the status of your LingQs. It is this process of seeing the words you are learning in context and in multiple different contexts that will be most effective at driving comprehension and vocabulary growth. Don’t worry too much about specific “learning” type activities. It is the listening and reading that is mostly all you need. Your brain will learn if you feed it! :wink:

  7. Move on to new lessons regularly. Don’t wait until you have perfect comprehension. It will all become clear over time with more exposure, like the fog gradually clearing.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.


You should try to find some Japanese-specific advice on the forums. I only made the first brushes with that language a long time ago, but LingQ’s word-focused approach fits more naturally with some languages than others. For example, English has a relatively simple grammar and core programming, but an extremely rich vocabulary with many synonyms which are not exactly alike. Japanese is famously mysterious in this regard, with particles and a word order that can be difficult to grasp. So it might be helpful to supplement LingQ with some other resources or english language explanations of things at the beginning. However, we’ve all become soft in modern times, and I’m sure its possible to learn with LingQ alone, which is just a much more convenient version of the only thing there was before the proliferation of new products

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Maybe use one of the AI sites (ChatGPT and so on) to make a simple two sentence dialogue with repetitive sentence structure. For example: Do you like candy? Yes I like candy. But in your target language of course. Import the sentences and see if that helps. You could just do one sentence even . If the sentences are too dry you could try injecting some humor into them. Good luck.

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