How you started with LingQ and where you are now?

Hi,

Could you take a moment to tell me when you started learning languages and how you progressed and where you are now?

I would like to see something like this:

September 2008 - Began learning French, 20 minutes a day

February 2009 - know 500 words, understand very little

July 2009 - Now reading newspapers without online dictionary

January 2010 - Beginning to speak the language

2012 - Understand everything being said and can speak with ease

That would be nice to see how everyone progressed with LingQ.

Thanks

Been learning German for 1 year at Lingq. Went from knowing zero words to knowing 26,500 words. I would say I have averaged about 1-2 hrs per day listening and reading. My comprehension is pretty good as I can read a lot of newspaper articles and listen to many tv programs and get the general idea of what they are saying. I intend to give it another year and reach 50,000 words. This year I also hope to start focusing more on grammar and starting with simple conversations. I have discovered that learning a language really takes full dedication and is something that you have to weave into your daily routine.

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I started at LingQ because I needed to pass a French exam. That was 5 years ago. I can without hesitation say that LingQ changed my language learning life. I am now much better at all my L2s than I have ever been. Even better than when I used to live abroad. I have not used much discipline. I think the major force is LingQ’s open community and the tone set by Steve and Mark.

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I came here to get better at Spanish and start Czech. I joined yesterday though so I’ll have to upgrade my account soon so I can start my journey.

I have only been using LingQ a short time (about a week, I think), but after the first day I knew that it was the best method for learning a language that I had ever seen and I immediately upgraded my account. I have studied Spanish and Japanese for many years, as well as dabbling in Mandarin, Portuguese and Italian.

LingQ is a very powerful tool for learning languages. You just have to pick content that you are excited about and put in the time reading and listening every day. I look forward to the progress I am sure I will make using this system.

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A month later, I almost have 1,000 words, I’m getting slightly better at reading and listening. I will put in about 30 minutes to an hour a day to get better at these and then hopefully after 6 months I have about 5,000 words and I can understand most things.

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Started last September in German. Used Lingq a lot but not every day. Never went over about 4,000 words here but it doesn’t reflect what I really know. Did a lot of work in these 6 months zu hause reading, listening and poring over Hammers German Grammar. Watched a lot of bad German TV with subtitles, grabbed every film and podcast I could find. Moved to Berlin and work in a German environment and speak every day. Plan on C2 exam in 6 months, it will take a while as German is still for me something for work and when out, still consume too much English media plus mostly only English speaking friends. Biggest thing was listening, understanding what people are saying, its like coming through a thick soupy fog, things fall into place, placement of ab, hin, zu etc which used to baffle and weird me out now start to make sense. That was the oddest thing probably. Learning a language is probably the strangest thing to ever happen to my brain, cannot wait to start the next (Französisch wegen meine Freundin!)

Steves advice, reading, listening and noticing…well it works, for me anyway. Ta Steve!

@omad84

That’s a great accomplishment. Congratulations!

I discovered LingQ earlier this year, and has been very satisfied so far. My Swedish was somewhere at a post-beginner level by then, and I completely lost my interest in learning because I always feel that language learning should be fun and encouraging, and not the other way around.

Now my Swedish vocabulary is 8000+ according to LingQ. My reading ability is probably between B1 and B2, and my listening skill is most likely somewhere between A2 and B1. I’m still not able to understand Swedish radio at a normal speed comfortably, but I have an impression that my listening comprehension skill improves a lot ever since my vocabulary went beyond 6000. I’m planning to increase that number to 20,000 by the end of next year and see where I will end up with.

I need to mention that I’ve also spent quite a lot of my time working on my English, not to mention that I’ve dabbled a bit in Italian and Esperanto. It’s certain that I could have achieved more had I been focusing on just one language, but the joy of playing with languages the lingq way has always been hard to resist.

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Edit: I can’t decide if this post is more promotional or preachy. Sorry, I didn’t mean for it to be either.

I had two high school Spanish classes some 12 or 13 years ago. I consider their impact negligible. I found LingQ in June 2011 and started Spanish in earnest that September. I don’t know why, but I immediately saw the potential in LingQ’s system. Most people expect language learning to be about following a script: Lesson 15 comes after 14, of course. LingQ is about offering possibilities. With it’s software and quality content (some sifting required) I felt I only needed to put in the time.

Side note–> I think LingQ hasn’t skyrocketed in popularity because the potential buyer needs to see it working in their minds. For most they want the prescription: Lesson 1, 2, … with constant correction and super simple, underwhelming examples. Seeing that there’s another way is step 1. Part of that step is realizing that LingQ’s software is revolutionary in that it’s nothing like language class (in the US at least). First they (most people) need to get out of the rut of thinking that the language class methods are the only way to learn a language. Step 2 is seeing the potential of LingQing words. All new words are blue. You mark a word and it shows up in later texts as yellow and sometime later you move it to known. It’s deceptively simple. How could that work? Unfortunately no one I’ve mentioned LingQ to has stuck with it. I believe it’s the combination of these two steps that are so difficult for most people to cope with (They can’t convince themselves that it’s a simple, but very long, process.).

I was using LingQ very consistently for a full year in Spanish before venturing into other languages (while continuing Spanish by watching shows/movies and reading novels). I’ve now watched whole series (plural) and read (past tense) many novels (Don’t you love English?). Recently I’ve read Juego de Tronos (Game of Thrones), by far the hardest book I’ve encountered so far. And I did not use a dictionary while reading. I did look up words after the fact with LingQ because it was so easy.

It feels great to be able to pick up a book and just read. It reminds me of how fun is was to learn English by reading novel after novel (yes, I’m a native English speaker). Despite what people like to say, kids don’t learn English by the time they’re ___ (whatever age). English learning continues on through school years even for native English speakers. There is no summit to climb; it’s a never-ending gentle slope. Somebody, somewhere must know this. Why else give 5th and 6th graders packet after packet of grammar exercises? I don’t think the packets are at all worth the time, but why make them part of the curriculum if students aren’t still learning English?

It’s quite a disservice to tell someone simply, “I (or even worse you) don’t have an ear for languages/accents/etc.” If you say, “I haven’t yet developed an ear for…” then that’s completely different. But I had the belief growing up that certain people had an ear for languages and others didn’t, as if it were black and white. Kids pick up horrible things like that. My high school friend once said, “It’s not fair; our (basketball) team has no black players.” Too bad I went to such a small high school and didn’t have much choice in friends.

Somehow I went from not having a clue that anyone in ‘El Internado’ had different accents to immediately recognizing the similarity between the character Caro’s accent and the singer Kat Dahlia’s accent and thus realizing that I had been noticing the difference. I heard Dahlia’s Spanish version of “Gangsta” and wondered, “Is this the Caro woman singing this song?” And then when that one actor (Lucas’ mom) said her first line I had a grin from ear to ear because I recognized an Argentinian accent (and she didn’t say ‘che’ either). I do miss subtleties in accents. But something as simple as discerning basic accents (Argentinian, Cuban, etc) is so reassuring. Some people aren’t sure they’ll ever get to that point. I wasn’t.

I’d love to be able to say I got to point A after this much time, point B after this much… But it doesn’t work that way. At what point could you understand every line of all movies in English? There isn’t anything close to a direct answer. Same with my Spanish. Sorry.

Long story short: After two years (averaging probably two hours a day, no joke) of using LingQ for Spanish (and Portuguese, French, and others. I couldn’t help it!) I’ve noticed that I can read full-length novels and watch TV shows without help. I don’t understand every line. My comprehension for shows isn’t perfect, but I understand most sentences and follow the plot easily most times. There are moments when I say, “Huh!?” and rewind and then move on with my life when I still don’t get it.

I tutor kids in math and one day a kid asked me to help him with a few Spanish drills. He said I sounded like his Spanish teacher (a native Spanish speaker). Cool! Praise from a non-native speaker is one thing, but sometimes I even get praised for my explanations of Spanish grammar by native speakers on the LingQ forums. Very surprising, especially since I’ve paid no special attention to grammar and still have done almost zero speaking or writing. Go figure! I don’t mean to suggest that I’m close to perfect, because I’m far, far from it. Sometimes I wonder if I’m getting better at all, but then I notice some sign that I am and it feels great. And if I can feel the difference in my abilities, then there probably is a difference (kinda like if you can smell yourself, you must smell bad).

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KCB - Would you be able to talk if you wanted to? surely no?? very interesting post by the way, also did you just use contecnt from the lingQ site, i know you said you read novels but did you import these novels in to LingQ or were they seperate? Thanks

@Tuquiero I can only speculate, but I suspect I would work out my biggest weaknesses very fast if I started speaking a bunch. Even though I don’t speak, sometimes I first think it in Spanish, so I don’t doubt I could get into Spanish mode very quickly.

At first it was 100% lingq content. Nowadays it’s about 10%. I import digital copies of books when I can get ahold of them, but when I read in Spanish (as opposed to skimming for yellow words) it’s outside of lingq. Every novel I’ve read has been read separately even though sometimes I ‘lingq’ them before or after.