LingQ: joined-up learning for hard-up solo learners?

I would just like to say hello! I have been trying to teach myself Russian for two years now, but I have very little free time (three small children) and very little spare money (guess why?). My resources have come via the internet, free podcasts, audio books, penfriends etc. I even found a program that creates flash cards to help you learn vocabulary.

The problem I have is this: It is hard to find slowly spoken, simple Russian on the internet, that you can play while reading a transcript. And then you have to copy and paste words into a dictionary program to find out what they mean, then copy and paste them into another program to make flash cards and learn them…And my penfriends are penfriends, they aren’t tutors and they get bored explaining my mistakes.

The result is, all the words I can read I can’t pronounce, the words I can pronounce I can’t spell and I can’t write or speak a sentence unless I have found it in a book. I’m sure you know what I mean Steve, it sound like you have had similar experiences.

I like the look of this site and have spent several days exploring it. Its big strength for me is the simplicity of the joined-up reading / listening / lookup vocabulary / create flashcard process. I like the library of materials and hope you will manage to expand it over time.

Many things about the site, however are not immediately obvious. I am not sure which of the services I can use with my free membership, and what I would have to upgrade to to get a personal tutor correcting my pronunciation and grammar mistakes. I’m concerned about committing to membership fees as I am on a budget. I might well be prepared to spend cold, hard cash on upgrading my membership but I would need to be clear what I was getting and the time I would need to commit to get the most out of it. A bit more explanation of the tutoring would be appreciated by those of us who like a bit of structure to our learning.

I have read somewhere on the forum that you can upload your own material to the library. Is there any chance of getting credits in exchange for providing you copyright-free material for public use?


Most of the self-learning activities, the content, the vocabulary activities, the Flash Cards, the emails of words that you are learning etc, etc. are free. You need to pay points if you wish to talk to a tutor or have writing corrected.

There is lots of easy content in Russian available in the Library, and some also exist in English to get you started.

You can upload whatever you want for your own use. If you want to share content with others is must be free of copyright. You can earn points for doing so based on usage.

This site is not heavy on grammar. In my experience time spent trying to remember rules of Russian grammar and the exceptions is better spent listening, reading and increasing your vocabulary.

The tutors speak to you and provide you with a report, including a list of words and phrases to import into your vocab list and work on. Of course they can explain things as required. When you write you get a detailed report with your mistakes highlighted and a clean version with correct phrases, also highlighted. You Import this into the system and study it.

Start by just using the site. Try the tutors for a few sessions, and see how you like them. It is not a great commitment. We will be starting more structured courses in a short while.

Well, I’ve been using the site for about a week and I do like the audio - text - flashcard part. I can see that paying for a membership might be a very good idea.

My next questions are: what are the differences between the Basic and the Plus membership? Do you get 3 000 points per month included in the Plus membership, and you only have to pay for points once you exceed that limit? Or is 3000 points the maximum number of points you can buy in a month, and on the basic you can’t buy any (er…surely not?)

Can you ask a tutor questions with both packages? Come to that, can you ask a tutor questions even on the free package?

Do you have to buy points if you are on the free package and want to talk to a tutor?

If you are on the free package, can you buy points and have written work corrected by a tutor?

I’m sorry if these questions are answered somewhere already, but I can only find the diagramme here: and I don’t find it very clear.

I think the option of having structured courses, and the option to switch fairly easily between structured and unstructured learning, would be a definite plus. Some of us tend to get our lives disrupted by babies and things and it makes it hard to plan beyond a couple of months!

Keep up the good work!

Hi skyblueteapot,

Yes, you get 3000 points a month as a Plus member and you can buy more after that. You can buy as many points as you like at every membership level. Free members, however, pay 50% more for points.

You can ask Tutors questions and receive a monthly progress report as a Plus or Premium member. Free and Basic members do not receive any tutoring unless they use points to submit writing or join conversations.

We do plan to introduce structured courses in the near future. We have tried to make our payment system as flexible as possible. At the same time, by making a commitment you are more likely to follow through and complete your goals.

Thanks for the feedback and good luck!

Right, I’ve been thinking about this. With all membership levels you can buy points and have your speaking and/or writing corrected. If you budget, let’s say, $40 dollars a month you get: 2000 points on the free membership (plus a rather limited number of active assignments), 3000 on the basic or the premium with 3000 points thrown in. 3000 points is enough for 900 words of written assignments, 1.5 hours of 1 on 1 conversation or 6 hours of 4 on 1 conversation.

Also it looks like you can study more than one language at once, splitting your time and points as you choose between them. For a multiple language learner that’s really useful (I want to keep up with my German too)!

Of course the 4 on 1 does rather depend on there being 4 learners at a similar level all wanting to study at once. How many people are studying beginners’ Russian right now?

I shall have to go and say hi in the Russian and German forums next!

Thanks for all your really prompt and helpful answers to all my newbie questions!

Apparently you can earn points on the site by providing content and tutoring. Can you earn them any other way?

That’s a pretty good summary. Those are the ways to earn points. The only other way is to be in our top ten most active learners in a month. The most active learners receive points awards.