Lingqing vs textbooks - "survey"

I’d be interested to know, how many of you use textbooks and actively study grammar.
If you do, how much time do you dedicate to this activity in comparison to LingQ.

I mostly use LingQ these days for my “active languages” Russian and Portuguese. I also watch a lot of random stuff on youtube.

In Russian I am following a mooc which covers grammar, but for Portuguese I hardly touch any grammar books or tables.


German is my only language after Urdu (native language) I have not learned a single thing about grammar; how many pronouns are there, articles, tenses, word order, etc. No flipping idea. However, my subconscious mind is decoding German sentences into sensible meanings is a positive sign; For the last three months or so I have been doing “intensive reading” via Anki where I analyze a particular sentence and see how prepositions, different verbs tenses, and collocations are used. It is called “Sentence Mining”. I spend 30-45 minutes every day on it. It is a nice break away from focused listening and reading.
I have bought a few full-length novels in bilingual format; EN-DE. which I will be reading soon. For example, Die Schreckliche Deutsche Sparche by Mark twain; Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. etc
These bilingual books can be a great source of “unassisted reading” and also for noticing different verb tenses and other grammar points.
In addition to this, if I come across a particular collocation or a full-length sentence that I think is important while watching the Televisions series - that goes to my Anki collection.
I always have my Anki application open when watching something in German; I have put these mini habits on autopilot so I do not have to think about it the second time around.


I’d love to hear more about “sentence mining” and how you use it with Anki, which is an app I’ve tried but couldn’t see the value of in addition to Lingq. I’m impressed that you do this with television series, though. I limit the kind of sentence parsing you describe to written material.

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I did use grammar books before using LingQ with German. But since I’ve started using LingQ I’m not using a grammar book anymore. BUT I should and I will.

Unlike @asad, I’m able to read but not to decode and remember the use of most of grammar stuff and so on. It doesn’t stick into my mind. So right now I’m doing it in small pieces and writing notes on LingQ inside all those tiny words that are so important.

I use ANKI as well for writing sentences I think are important and for writing tiny pieces of grammar rules when I think are important. Or simply sentences that are connected to grammar meaning.

I have the intention to read again a grammar book I have and I read at the beginning to fix some grammar later, after I’ll have more vocabulary in mind. I can see that now that I’m able to read a single sentence a little bit faster I’m also able to understand a lot better of the sentence structure. So, it’s all good.

And I have the intention, once I trained myself to better audio comprehension to listen to German native speakers, Youtubers, that explain grammar stuff. But I’m doing it in relax way, without stress, so I train my listening at the same time I focus a bit on grammar as well.

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Hi Safran. I’m a big fan of LingQ but actually, I don’t think it’s the best tool for beginners. I prefer to start with textbooks (like Assimil because the texts are fully translated and you can use it both ways). IMO LingQ is a great place if you’re looking for intermediate/advanced content and want to practice extensive reading. But for a start I think intensive reading using textbooks with audio is more efficient. Grammar helped me a lot with the portuguese verbs, I don’t see how I could to without those verb tables actually. Anyway, I’m not a polyglot, so, maybe I’m wrong.


It depends on the language. I’m getting back into French after a roughly 20 year hiatus. I never really spoke it or anything but I took a few classes in college and read a Harry Potter book I think. Anyway, I don’t know French grammar at all but I can still understand it well enough when I read that I’m not bothered by it. So grammar isn’t much of a focus with me but I did listen to a YouTube video on grammar while driving to get take out. This seemed to work well. I think I’ll just listen to podcast / YouTube videos while doing something else as needed.

Japanese on the other hand… I just was so lost with this language that I had to get a good intermediate level of grammar to even start reading. Probably because there’s no spaces between the words so I couldn’t even figure out where words start and end if I don’t know that much. It took years and was very painful. I didn’t use LingQ then. I know LingQ has an option to insert spaces between the words for Asian scripts.


With language – you can download the whole subtitles as a pdf in bilingual format e.g German-English - go to settings; select your audio and subtitle, translation languages. Click on “Export button” and also select “Machine translation” Then again right-click on it; choose “Print” and save the file in pdf in bilingual format. From there you can add “German sentence/your target language” in the question field and “its corresponding translation” in English in the answer field in Anki. For more info on sentence Mining: Sentence items (cards) in SRS | Antimoon

The spoken form of the language is kinda different from written language; you need to know hundreds of collocations by heart; German native speakers use them all the time. I am living in Germany and I can vouch for that. Television series and movies are a great source for that. With tools like the above makes your life easier as a foreign language learner without living in your target language country. I believe that it is true for any other foreign language not just for German.

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My current language I have not used textbooks to actively study grammar to any real extent. OCCASIONALLY, in particular in the earlier stages and from time to time now, if I’m not really sure why something is the way it is, I may take a look at a grammar book I have to just get a glimpse on the idea. But I don’t do anything beyond that.

In the beginning, I also used Assimil (I imported into LingQ). While I did read the lessons through LingQ, I also read the book itself where there were grammar points sprinkled here and there. I read them, I read the “grammar” reviews every 7th chapter, but that’s it. I didn’t study it further except perhaps the occasional look up if I was curious as noted above.

My interest is strictly to learn the language. To be able to read, watching movies/tv shows, be able to understand my gf’s family, etc. I’m not taking the language for school, or interested in testing so I feel STUDYING the grammar is not necessarily helpful. I’m mostly going with the notion that Steve Kaufmann espouses and that’s not to study or worry much about it. WIth enough exposure the grammar becomes evident in most cases with a lookup here and there maybe to understand what’s going on a bit.

This resonates in my mind because when learning our native language, although we did have some grammar obviously through classes and textbooks, I really don’t feel the bulk of my understanding of how the language works happened until all that kind of stuff was done. i.e. I feel like I learned more when we got into more reading, creative writing, or essays for various subjects. Most people probably don’t even remember the grammar rules per se, or know the parts of speech or this and that, but they mostly get it right because they’ve seen and heard things said hundreds and thousands of time.

Just my thoughts.



Import Assimil into LingQ. Have the best of both worlds =)

Admittedly, it’s a bit of a pain, but the new “Superpack” versions, the mp3’s have the text all subtitled. Need to format a little, but easily imported. I’ve done this for German and Spanish. (private of course).

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Interesting, thanks! That must be a lot of work indeed^^.

I used to actively study Korean grammar when I first started learning the language, but now I do most of my learning in Lingq. I try to absorb it naturally by reading and listening. Occasionally, I will check up a grammar point in my book, but that’s about it.

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During my my first 90 day Spanish challenge where i was looking to make a big “breakthrough” (to use Master Steve’s languages), I did use a textbook 1/3 of the time. (One hour reading and listening, 1/2 hour for “bottom up” activities as he called them). In the years following, I would review specific sections as needed or desired. I also got a cheap Dover Classics thin volume that I went through a few times very quickly.

I started Latin on January 5 so I am 100% textbook right now. There is an AWFUL LOT to keep track of. and I think I’m retaining less of it sicne I’m not doing the exercises ("Ain’t nobody got time for 'dat). When I am done reading the “rules” portion of the book, I’ll make sure I have the declension more or less memorized, along with a few of the tenses (maybe Present, Perfect, Imperfect, and Future). Then I’ll start reading on LingQ and I’m sure I’ll have to check the book A LOT to see what’s going on withwhatever I am reading.

I took 4 years of Spanish in high school, but this had a lot of wasted time. If I did self-study from day 1 with LingQ then I probably could have reached the same level in like 300 hours, and I don’t think I’d spend more than 50 hours on grammar.

Before LingQ I spent about 100 hours on grammar. Most of these hours were probably helpful. Since then, I haven’t done any grammar study and rely on reading only to learn grammar.

I have done zero grammar but I’m aware of grammatical concepts from Spanish and can identify situations that would fit the grammar.

I have done zero grammar and haven’t read enough to get very far, but I have picked up grammatical clues just from decoding sentences. When I eventually take Arabic seriously then I’ll probably flip through some grammar lessons just to get a better idea of how this language is put together (increase awareness), but I don’t have any intention of memorizing anything.


I do both grammar and Lingq. My twice weekly Russian lessons focus on grammar and speaking. I feel like my understanding of grammar has mostly grown through my lessons. I am much more proficient with cases because of my lessons.

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I have considered getting Russian lessons, but I don’t know. Are they worth it at my stage of Russian learning? I feel like I already have a good understanding of cases, but I would like better sentence structure and grammar. Should I just wait for college in a few years, or would it be better to get a tutor/teacher now? I use Real Russian Club as a sort of tutor, anyways.

So far I have made no attempt to formally learn any grammar in Russian. I have watched some youtube videos with grammar explanations in them but mostly because the teachers speak slowly instead of with the attempt to memorize or imbibe the grammar.

I can understand it more or less OK (that is, my brain is somehow providing me with a sense of what is being said) but I cannot replicate it. I can string words together in a sentence but with no cases, declensions or anything.

Long story short I am coming to the conclusion that there is only so far you can get with an input heavy avoid-the-grammar method when trying to learn a grammar heavy language like russian if you want to be able to speak.

That said I am stubborn so I intend not to study grammar books at all and see if I can figure it out by paying attention or just maybe by shadowing. We’ll see.

I have exactly the same situation as you, though mine is Russian and not German. I can understand the speakers well enough but a large chunk of the grammar doesn’t stick. Different verb conjugations I more or less understand how they are constructed but I still feel like I have to hear them a few times to really get it without having to pause and think about it. The cases, however, I vaguely understand what they are for but can’t remember how they work. To me it just seems like the ends of the words randomly change somehow. Luckily the roots of the words are the same so I can still recognize the words and I can deduce the meaning of the sentences. But speak, nope.

“coming to the conclusion” after how many hours of input?

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