How to use LingQ? Is a listening (and understanding) only approach possible with LingQ?

I am totally new to Lingq, I just wondering how to use it.
If i undertood it right, Lingq uses a reading based approach, i need to read (and listen) a lot
and create flash cards (lingqs), which also requires reading skills.

Well i think, the natural way is only listening (and understanding) in the first step.
Reading comes much much later.
I want to focus only on listening (and later on speaking, and evetually much later on reading) first.
My main goal is to understand casual conversations.
Is such an approach possible with lingq?

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If you feel that listening only in the beginning is a good approach and it works for you, then go for it. I am not sure I agree with you but then again I have some ways of doing things that others would find mental each to his/her own. Lingq has a huge library of content (depending on language), that you can download. and listen to when ever you want

I don’t see any reason why listening only would be out of the question, lingq does encourage people to read a lot and I think the greatest virtue of lingq is that it facilitates reading. But I think that most lingqers and Steve agree that part of being an independent language learner is to know yourself and what works for you.


If you choose a particular lesson and open it. you’ll see a musical note icon in the upper right hand corner. Clicking on that puts it in your “Playlist” You can add all the individual lessons in that group one at a time to your playlist. Then if you click on the first one you entered it will play the audio without showing the text. You can select up to 100 tracks and they will play continuously. I think there’s even a repeat function.

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Well, I’m also not sure whether it is a good idea, but as reading seems to be a way too difficult for me (e.g. chinese),
so i have a feeling, it might be an option.
So i’m also interested, if anybody has some experience with it.

The idea is that reading actually helps you because it’s easier and gives you a clearer idea of the vocabulary and phoneme inventory in the language. My advice would be for you to read pinyin. Or even better, I’d:

  • Begin reading texts in characters with the pinyin on top. Lingq has the option of adding them automatically.
  • Concentrate on reading the piniyin while you listen for a couple times. Then just listen to the lesson several times (use a playlist as explained by bison3)
  • Now and then have a look at the characters and get familiar with the most usual ones
  • When you feel like it, learn to write a few common characters, using the stroke order, learn a bit about radicals, …
    That way, you’ll learn to understand way faster (because your leveraging your present reading skill in the Latin alphabet), you’ll get used to pinyin (which will help you make sense of Mandarin pronunciation) and you’ll be able to understand some characters, which will come in handy (e.g. for reading information signs, recognizing some proper names, etc.), even if you never actually become fluent reading them.

Though a “listening only” approach can work, it’s nowhere near as effective as a gradual reading and listening method will be. There are courses out there that focus on a “listening only” methodology such as Primsleur. I’ve tried it and found it a lot slower, and less impactful as compared to something like Assimil, or LingQ which offer reading and listening components.

Reading allows you to understand listening a lot faster, which means you can listen to (and read) more complex things a lot sooner.

Also, in my opinion, there is some confusion out there on what constitutes a “casual conversation” vs. a “basic conversation.”

A “basic conversation” is greetings, weather, dining, personal background – yes, you may be able to (slowly) learn those from listening only. On the other hand an actual “casual conversation” may include discussing the plot details of an Avengers movie, or talking about politics and current events. And to understand and participate in those, you’ll need to read a fair amount of various source material – news, books, etc.


Yes, the difference between a ‘basic conversation’ and ‘a casual conversation’ is very big! Without reading you will stay for ever on the vasic level.
Moreover, listening and reading at the same time can speed your success greatly!
But in any case you have to be patient, very patient if you would like really to obtain a new language.


I don’t see the point of using lingq if listening is your main or only way to learn.
I agree. Listening is the natural way.

I am using lingq just for some weeks and I am much more listening than reading.
What I really appreciate is, that I can listen in an endles loop, so I am listening even while I fall asleep sometimes …

and I with the playlist I can decide, how much I want to listen and when lingq shall repeat the stuff
so for me lingq works really well also in listening!

PS: Have a look at a video from Jeff Brown,

he does not rely on reading at all - akquiring arabic without knowing any signs

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Thank you!
Very useful hints. Although you don’t even speak chinese ?!
Unfortunately my android app seems to display pinyin not always. Is it a bug?
(I might skip such lessons.)

It’s an interesting video. He doesn’t rely on reading, but it seems he does really heavily on speaking with language partners in a structured way, which is different from learning from “listening only.” Really, what he’s advocating for here, is a tutoring exchange with very specific exercises – almost like having a professional language tutor.

Technically, everything he’s saying is correct, and the method he outlines is solid. But for me, I’d much rather read regular books on my own than going over a children’s book with a language partner.


Well, the point is, Lingq is the only source i know with a lot of authentic audio materials (including translations) with different levels.

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I dabbled in Chinese for a few months before I travelled to China, where. I spent one further month. I learned enough to survive in the country (I think I reached about A2-ish level) and I’ve forgotten most of it. My suggestions are also based on my experience learning other languages with different scripts.
Because I haven’t studied Chinese with any consistency on Lingq, I’m not sure how reliable the Pinyin feature really is. Maybe someone can comment on this?
I wish you success in your learning has tv shows, series and movies in mandarin, korean, japanese, maybe cantonese and subtitles in many languages - all for free with a lot of ads or for a fee.

You could also try youtube, cctv and many courses.


Hi and welcome :slight_smile:

How do you expect to understand when you rely completely on listening? You will need some stepping stones. Listening only is not natural, I think. A toddler can make use of the spoken language and a context, the combination of both creates comprehensible input.
A grown-up language learner can replace the physical world the baby’s context is made of with written words in his/her mother tongue.


Look at the video of Jeff Brown suggested by @JoWe.
It is possibly possible, but i’m not sure it is the most effective way.

Thank you for sharing it!
Its an awesome video very inspiring.

In my opinion listening only without someone to talk to is not the best way to learn a language

It is not possible just by listening on your own. He has to have someone to talk to, as he did in the video.

" My main goal is to understand casual conversations. Is such an approach possible with lingq"

Yes. :slight_smile: But you have to read and listen A LOT. Listening is great but if you listen to lessons that are too difficult, well, you won’t go very far. Reading helps A LOT because you are actively learning new vocabulary. Afterwards, if you listen to the lesson that you’ve just read, listening becomes a lot more meaningful.