I still just... don't get the point of lingq

Greetings all. I’ve had a paid membership on Lingq for a while now. My Chinese has nearly 5000 known words, and yet I feel like I gotten absolutely nothing out of creating lingqs. I’ll open up a lesson, go through it changing the colour of new words and recently learnt words, but while I do this, I’m not actually learning anything, just clicking buttons. Then I’ll listen to the lesson once or twice, read it, then listen again. I feel like reading and listening to the lesson is where I actually learn, but non of it requires any lingq features. I’ve watched the tutorial videos where lingqing is explaining, but it looks like nothing more than changing the colour of words pointlessly. But the fact remains that thousands of people are using linq, so I’m trying to figure out how they benefit from. If I can’t, I’ll just end up cancelling my membership as I think the content is mostly community provided and so is available free?

I find that just going through the process of Lingqing words helps to remember them. Every now and again I realise that I picked up a new word as a consequence of it having been Lingqed.

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The reason why I use LingQ is because I don’t have to rely on a dictionary when reading. In a sense I am when encountering new words, but looking them up in LingQ vs. the traditional way is so much faster. Also, when I forget the new word (which often happens very quickly) I just need to click it; no need to look it up again. So LingQ for me is a personalized “grammar” or “reader”. I don’t bother with the different shades of yellow though - I only use 1 and 4.



Every time I see a yellow word I know that’s the word I still don’t know and it seems I’ll never learn it. Sometimes I change the color to white (5) because I think I know the word while it came through all shades of yellow, but in some month when I meet this word again I understand I forgot it again :slight_smile:
I tried to go through the list of the lingqed words but they all remain unknown for me or I will have to revert them to lower status later.

But I have web browser plugins or desktop programs with dictionary popups that I can use, so even when I’m reading in the Lingq interface, I use those anyway.

Alright, I hear what you say. In your case I would probably not use LingQ, but there are a few reasons why I think a system like LingQ is better than browser plugins such as Rikaichan for Japanese. Those are (in no particular order):

(1) I can pick and choose my own definitions. Most of the time I just need one or two words to define the meaning. Pop-up dictionaries can be overwhelming.

(2) The colours: WHITE - it gives me a sense of accomplishment, seeing those white words I have “conquered”; BLUE - it’s good for selecting a text to study. Sometimes I want something light with a few unknown words, and othertimes I want something more heavy; YELLOW - it’s nice to get a reminder of “I have seen this word before, but I’m not expected to know it just yet”. And as Steve has pointed out, it helps one notice.

(3) The word counter. I’m well aware it’s not an accurate representation of one’s true word knowledge, even so it’s a great tool for measuring progress.


I think one of the things that keeps me coming back to LingQ is that it really does quantify your knowledge of the language. As someone studying their first foreign language, I find this really helps motivate me to study every night, and to see how far I’ve managed to progress.

Without the statistics and the ‘known word’ count, I don’t think I’d be as motivated to really devote an hour to learning each night, and I certainly think that I’d be more anxious about how I was progressing, and whether I was studying effectively.


I have been using LingQ for two and a half years and it is by far the best learning tool there is (for me anyway).

My number one piece of advice: don’t just Lingq words. Lingq phrases. 2, 3, 4 word combinations. And lots of them. Hundreds, thousands of them. In Spanish I have made 55,000 phrasal lingQs. What this does is draws your attention to how words are used (which prepositions go with which verbs etc.). LingQ is about “getting used to” and “noticing” patterns. Use the LingQ tool to highlight those patterns.

It’s not for everyone, but I haven’t found anything that comes close in value for money or usefulness.


LingQing the phrases is the most useful idea. I like using LingQs for phrases but not for every single word.

I am baffled - how do you know that “no” learning is taking place when you create LingQs? Don’t you choose appropriate hints or tag your vocab? Efficient language learners are interested and pay attention, apart from putting in the time it takes. Learning takes place when we are motivated and (sorry to repeat myself) interested in the content and words on the page. What is the pint of “clicking words” on LingQ without paying attention to the text?


Everyone has their own individual goals and motivations. I primarily use LingQ for submitting writing – or more recently transcriptions of audio-video – to native (Dutch) members for correction. And I also work with others, not only on correcting their grammar, but on their writing style, if they are advanced enough in English. That’s how I earn and spend most of my exchange points and it works wonderfully for me. Lots of cool people from all over the world on here learning English.

If LingQ were only limited to the LingQ “method,” I probably wouldn’t be a big fan of this site either. But I find this site really flexible and I benefit from it immensely because, at least in my experience, the community of people I have found on here enjoy helping others every bit as much as I enjoy helping the people who have asked for my help. Perhaps if you start writing, chatting, speaking in Chinese (Mandarin? Cantonese?) about things that interest you in the Chinese culture and begin communicating more with the Chinese community on here you will get more out of this site. Have you ever joined a chat on SharedTalk?
— Bruce

p.s. I highly recommend this book: “The Last Days of Old Beijing” by Michael Meyer.

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Not only that, but for somebody like me (a beginner), the element of discovery when lingqing phrases and words really keeps me engaged.

You could argue that this can be done without Lingq, but it’s convenient. I’ve got lingq on my phone/iPad, my statistics tracked. Even the trivial stuff like the avatar!

Now, if we say, “Sure, but you get that for free. No need to subscribe.”

There are two things for me with that:

  1. I want to support LingQ. If I love the service enough to use it so much, I want to contribute in order for it to continue.

  2. Again, convenience. I see a word/phrase, I want to LingQ without care for limits.

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