My LingQ Work Flow

New blog entry here:

I tried to write this with new users in mind, don’t know whether I succeeded. I thought it was an interesting topic because everyone uses LingQ differently, and it is not immediately obvious to beginners how powerful LingQ can be.

My LingQ Work Flow

One of the really powerful things about learning languages with LingQ is that the system is very flexible and each learner uses it in a different way. It is not a structured set of lessons or exercises, but a set of tools that enhance your own learning. Here I set out how I use LingQ at the moment, and the thinking behind what I do.

  1. Open a new lesson.

I have only begun to learn French so I am finding all my lessons in LingQ’s large free library, but later on I will be importing my own material.

  1. Review the blue words.

The words highlighted in blue are words I have not encountered before. I start by going through the lesson just looking at these unknown words and deciding whether they are (a) words I need to learn, (b) words I already know, or (c) proper nouns or words in a different language that I can ignore. Words of the first kind I will turn to yellow, creating a “LingQ”. Every instance of that word will now appear as yellow in all my lessons. Everything else turns white and is no longer highlighted.

  1. Review the yellow words.

I now work through the lesson again just looking at the yellow words (the highlighted “lingqs”. These are a mix of (a) unknown words that I have just turned yellow, (b) old yellow words that I am learning and (c) phrases. At this point I ignore the phrases. If I am feeling more confident about the meaning of a yellow word, I will bump it up a level. All yellow words start on level 1, a bright yellow, and then move up to level 4, getting paler until they reach level 4, turn completely white and are considered known.

  1. Read and highlight phrases.

With all blue words turned yellow, and all yellow words reviewed, I am now ready to properly read the text. Starting at the beginning again I work through the lesson. As I do so I highlight phrases (making “lingqs”, turning them yellow). I am very generous at this point, highlighting any group of two or three words that hasn’t already been highlighted. Why do I do this? I am trying to pay attention to how words combine with other words. The grammar and syntax of the language. If these are common and correct phrases, then I will keep seeing these highlighted, and will gradually learn these relationships. This is really important, and is the most powerful tool at LingQ. It is how I learn grammar and complex vocabulary - contextually.

For example, I may know the word “ticket” and the word “office”, but I will highlight the expression “ticket office” and gradually learn the contexts in which this expression is used. I know the prepositions “in” and “on”, and the nouns “taxi” and “bus”, but by highlighting the expressions “on the bus” and “in the taxi”, I will learn not to say “in the bus” or “on the taxi”. I know the pronouns and the verb “to make” but by highlighting “I make” and “he makes” I will learn not to say “I makes” and “he make”. To reiterate: highlighting phrases is the most powerful tool at LingQ.

  1. Listen and read.

I now read through the lesson one more time, but this time listening to the audio as well. I have got all those highlighted phrases to help me keep up with the dialogue, and if I notice anything else I might add a few more.

  1. Download the audio to listen without the text.

Did I enjoy the text? Was it interesting? Was the audio clear and nice to listen to? If so I will now download the audio to listen to on the go. But I will only do this if I think I am going to find it interesting and enjoyable to listen again. And all that reading and noticing is going to make it easier for me to hear those new words and phrases.

Do you use LingQ? How do you make the system work for you?


Thank you for this post! I joined LingQ end of last year as I had begun doing this style of learning but was doing it the old fashioned way: printed paper, audio on phone, pencil in hand.

LingQ provides a more efficient way of doing that process for me. I don’t have to copy text to word, format it, double space it for extra room and print it out. I don’t have to get my phone out and consult multiple dictionaries to look up a word: LingQ shows me many possible translations provided by both users and online dictionaries.

Of course words showing up in future texts retain the colored indication of how well I thought I knew it last time I read it, and it retains my chosen meaning from before.

Theres also the automatic flashcards which once again save me time.

I’m always looking to try optimize my language learning because if I’m going to be doing this for years then small savings really will add up. My current flow for new texts is:

Do a quick pass over the text - skipping some bits - mostly looking to get meaning for unknown words.
Do a read of text trying to understand as I read, referencing the English translation if I have to.
Listen to it multiple times trying to hear the words and follow as best I can.

If I am returning to an older text:

Do a read of it trying not to look at the meaning of the words if I can help it. See how much I remember.
Read again - this time checking LingQs and repeating words to myself.
Listen to it multiple times trying to hear the words.

Its early days for me both using LingQ and the approach I began before finding LingQ. Whether this focus on volume of input will work out better than my previous attempt of using workbooks and lessons show better results? We’ll see in a year I guess!

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