New Learner Guide

Welcome to LingQ!

You've made a great decision... LingQ is a powerful tool for language learning.
This is a guide, not a rule book. Most successful LingQers tend to find an approach that works well for them. We created this guide to help you do that. You’ll see videos, screenshots, and words to help you best use LingQ to learn a language.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from, how old you are, or how long you’ve been studying, anyone can learn a language with LingQ.
On LingQ, you will primarily learn through reading and listening to authentic, compelling content in your target language. While reading, you will save every word that you don't know to your list of words to learn. And over time, you will learn a lot of words and phrases.

Watch this video to get a brief overview of "how to LingQ"...

A Different Way to Learn - Immersion

The way you learn on LingQ is probably different than what you are used to. LingQ is all about immersion from day 1. You read and listen to content, flooding your brain with your new language. As you learn, you will gradually be able to learn from content you are interested in and will direct your own learning either from the LingQ Library, or by importing content. Just ready, listen and enjoy the journey.

Learn about the most important functions of LingQ

Library - Choosing Lessons

LingQ's huge Library of content gives you nearly endless options to learn your target language by reading and listening to compelling content on topics you're interested in. The Library is organized into shelves of various topics and content formats. Scroll through these shelves to find lessons and courses (series of lessons) to study with.

Guided Course Shelf
If you prefer a more structured learning plan, then the Guided Course shelf is an excellent place to go. Choose your level and select a course. Go through each lesson and then move on to the next course.

Explore, Experiment, Have Fun
After a few Guided Courses or whenever you feel like it, scroll around the other shelves to find lessons and courses that seem interesting to you. Learning a language can be really fun when you study content you're interested in. And when learning a language is fun, you're much more likely to succeed!
Select a range of levels
We recommend you set your Library levels slider to a range. For instance, if you're Intermediate, then setting your levels slider from Beginner 2 to Advanced 1 will show you some lessons/courses that are slightly easy for you and some that are somewhat challenging.
How to Search within a shelf
  • Click All (web) or View All (mobile) to the right of the shelf name
  • Enter a keyword to find courses/lessons on a particular topic of interest
  • You can also sort the lessons & courses on each shelf by:
    • Relevance, Likes, Date added, Alphabetically and % of New Words
    • Level
    • Your desired accent (for Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic & Persian)

For more details on the Library, watch this video:

Reader - Doing Lessons

Once you open a lesson, you will enter the LingQ Reader. Here you will be reading and listening to content to learn the language. While reading, you will be creating LingQs to fill in the gaps in your understanding.

How the LingQ Reader works:
  • New words are blue - Click on all the blue words you don't know, and save a meaning for each word. This is called creating LingQs.
  • LingQs are yellow - Click on any LingQ to see its meaning or add a new meaning. When you come across a yellow word and know its meaning, change its status to Known by clicking the checkmark.
  • Known words are white - The more words you know, the higher your potential in the language.
  • Words you ignore are also white. You can ignore a word by clicking the trash can icon.

So your goal is to turn blue words into LingQs and eventually move LingQs to Known.

Status of LingQs
LingQs start with status 1 (unfamiliar); as you become more familiar with the word, increase its status. If you get the word correct twice in a row during review exercises, the status will automatically increase by 1.

Listen to lesson audio
Listening is a crucial and often under practiced skill in language learning. It's recommended to listen to the audio many times until you understand 70-80% of what you hear without relying on text.

Listening Mode
When you open Listening Mode, you'll see a karaoke-style text scroll while the lesson audio plays. Some people like to turn on Listening Mode to listen & read before LingQing the text. Of course, you'll likely find an approach that works for you.

To open listening mode, first click play on the lesson audio (Headphones icon on mobile, or the white triangle in blue circle on Web) and then:
- On mobile: drag up on the lesson audio box
- On Web: click the expand icon in the lesson audio box

Reviewing LingQs within the Reader
Clicking the little flashcard icon in the bottom right corner of the reader will bring up some options to review your LingQs with vocab exercises.

For more details on the LingQ reader, watch this video:
Using the LingQ 5.0 Reader - iOS
*The video shows the iOS app, so there may be minor differences when using the Web or Android app.

Playlists - Immerse yourself in the sounds of your language, wherever & whenever

Most successful LingQers tends to spend the bulk of their learning time on listening for two reasons:
  1. To master listening (that is, understanding the spoken language) is usually more complex than reading. So it requires more time.
2. It is much easier to fit in listening throughout your day than reading, LingQing & doing vocab review exercises. You can listen to lesson audio while doing mundane tasks (like working out, doing laundry, or commuting to work).

LingQ's Playlists feature allows you to listen to lesson audio on the go. After completing a lesson, LingQ will add the lesson audio to your default Active Playlist.

You can also create other playlists. Some ideas for different types of playlists are included in the Sample Study Plans section below.

Stats - Tracking your progress on LingQ

All language learning activity you do on LingQ is automatically tracked. So you get some valuable statistics on how you are learning and improving, which can help you stay motivated!

Here are some essential things to be aware of:

Known Words
It is the primary metric used on LingQ to measure your progress. How many known words are needed to reach the next level varies from language to language. Of course, if you're just getting started with LingQ, this number will be 0, even if you already have a base in the language. As you do more lessons, this number will increase. It represents how many words in the language you know.

These are the words you are learning. Words you see in a lesson but don't understand, so you look up and save their meanings. You will learn these words over time. The more LingQs you create, the more you expose yourself to new words to improve your base in the language.

How do you maintain your Streak?
Your streak represents how many consecutive days you've hit your Daily Goal in Coins earned. This is the number shown next to the fire icon at the top of the Library page. If you miss your Streak, you can use coins to repair your streak. But try to hit your Streak every day to make consistent progress!

How do you earn Coins?
You earn coins for reading, listening, adding Known Words, creating LingQs & increasing the status of LingQs (either manually or through Review exercises). To see a detailed breakdown of how you earn coins, go here:
How to earn coins?

How to see a more detailed breakdown your stats
  • On Web, click the dropdown menu next to the Streak (fire) icon
  • On mobile, click on the box that shows your Streak (fire icon), and daily Coins earned count.

To learn more about Stats, watch this video:

Vocabulary - Your personal database of words and phrases

Every LingQ you create in your lessons will be saved to your Vocabulary list, which you can review with flashcard exercises.

What makes LingQ so powerful is that you learn these words in the context of meaningful stories and then review them with various exercises to help make the words and phrases stick even better.

You can do review exercises either from the Vocabulary tab or by clicking the flashcard icon within the lesson Reader.

Spaced Repetition System (SRS)
Our brains retain information more effectively when we space out our learning over time. To leverage this, LingQ's SRS is designed to show you newly created LingQs and lower status LingQs more frequently, while older LingQs and higher status LingQs are shown less often.

Automatic Status Increases
If you answer a review exercise for a given LingQ correct two times in a row, then the status of that LingQ will automatically increase by 1.

Changing Review Settings
If you go to App Settings and choose Review, you can adjust a few critical settings.
  • How many cards are shown for each Review session
  • The types of activities shown in each review session

What are the different types of review activities?
  • Flashcard: This shows the word in your target language, and you have to guess what the translation is.
  • Reverse Flashcard: This shows you the translation, and you have to guess what the word in the target language is.
  • Cloze test: This is a fill-in-the-blank exercise. A phrase from the lesson where you created the LingQ is shown, and you choose among the options the appropriate LingQ.
  • Multiple choice: You are shown a LingQ in your target language and have to select the appropriate translation among four options.
  • Dictation: The LingQ is spoken, and you have to type the word's correct spelling.

When should you review LingQs?
It's a good idea to review LingQs soon after creating them (within the lessons themselves). As you create lots and lots of LingQs, it will become nearly impossible to review all your LingQs regularly. So most of your practice and learning will take place in lessons themselves.

To learn more about Vocabulary, watch this video:

Importing - How to create your own lessons from content around the web

LingQ's Import function allows you to easily create lessons from content you find across the web. Some common uses include:
  • Youtube videos
  • Blog posts
  • Netflix subtitles
  • Song audio + lyrics
  • e-books

Creating your lessons based on content you are genuinely interested in makes language learning super fun and incredibly effective!

There are two main ways to import: Manual imports or imports using the Import Extension.

Import Extension
The import extension allows you to create lessons automatically with just a few clicks. If you're on a desktop, you will need to download the extension for your browser.

Manual Imports
Open the manual import page by clicking the 'Import' button on the Library tab. You can add text and audio, timestamp the audio to text and even add notes & translations.

Tutorial videos:

For a more detailed guide to Importing on LingQ, go here.

Settings - Personalizing The LingQ app

In Settings, you will find many options for adjusting how LingQ looks, feels, and functions to tailor the app to your needs and preferences.

How to open Settings
- Web: Click on your profile image in the upper right of the Header bar, and then choose Settings from the dropdown menu
- Mobile: Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the app.

To learn more about some of the more valuable Settings to consider changing, watch this video:
Advanced Reader (How to personalize LingQ 5.0) - iOS
*This video shows the iOS app, so there may be some minor differences compared to the Android & web apps.*

Phrase LingQs- A major key to thinking/sounding more like a native speaker

Ideas are communicated differently in every language. Phrases, or groups of two or more words, are very important to learn. And creating Phrase LingQs will help you sound more like a native speaker.

Creating Phrase LingQs is very simple. Simply tap and hold on the first word of the phrase you want to LingQ and drag to the last word.

To see a video demonstration of creating Phrase LingQs, watch this video:
*This video shows the iOS app, so there may be minor differences compared to the Android & web apps.*

Challenges - Hit your targets & make a breakthrough

Each language on LingQ has monthly & 90-Day Challenges to motivate you toward making significant progress in your language. Whether you are inspired to beat out the other competitors or carry through on your commitments, the Challenges will help you get closer to your next proficiency level...
  • Streak with Steve: Maintain your Streak for 90-days straight
  • 90-Day Challenge: Hit your coins target over the 90-day period to complete this challenge.
  • Hard Core 90-Day Challenge: If you are committed to improving your reading & listening skills while exposing yourself to new words & regularly turning new words into known words, the Hard Core challenge will help you immensely. Instead of 1 Coins Target, you'll have 5 targets to hit!
  • Monthly LingQing Challenge: Pretty simple - create as many LingQs as you can in one month.

How to sign up for Challenges
- On Web: Go to the Community tab and then choose Challenges.
- On Mobile: Go to the More tab and then choose Challenges.

Challenges start on the first day of each month. And you can sign up from 5 days before the month starts until 5 days before the month ends (at which point you can sign up for the next months' challenges).

The LingQ Community - Connect with other LingQers and practice writing

LingQ is not only a powerful tool for language learning, but it's also an active community of avid language learners. The LingQ Community supports and encourages you throughout the learning journey.

You're not in this language learning journey alone!

Tutors - Practice conversations with native speakers

When you're ready to start talking, having conversations with native speakers is a fantastic way to improve your speaking ability.

LingQ tutors can help you identify gaps in your conversation skills or answer any questions you have. And just spending time conversing in the language is crucial if being conversationally fluent is your ultimate goal.

You can sign up for a tutor conversation by clicking the Tutors tab on the web app.

Tutors in LingQ

To learn more about Tutors on LingQ, go here.

7 Mistakes to avoid if you want to be successful

The LingQ approach to learning a language is different from how most people are used to studying languages, either from foreign language classes in school or from using other language apps.
Here are 7 mistakes that many people make when learning a language. Understanding these will help you avoid them, so you have the best chance of succeeding on LingQ.

Mistake #1 They Don’t Spend Enough Time With The Target Language

Learning a language takes time. There’s no way around it. The more quality time you spend with your target language, the better you’ll do.

On LingQ, you will primarily listen to and read content in your target language. We recommend spending at least an hour every day with your language for the best results. That doesn’t mean drilling flashcards and grammar rules for an hour.

Most people are busy these days and don’t have time to sit down and study for an hour every day? No problem! Most successful LingQers spend most of their time listening. You can add lesson audio to your playlist to listen on the go, at the gym, while doing dishes, or on your morning commute.

Immerse yourself in the language with whatever sources you have at your disposal - and with LingQ, you’ll have a lot of them!
Language Learning - 7 Secrets of Success: #1 Spend The Time

Mistake #2 They Don’t Focus On Things They Like To Do

If you don’t enjoy studying the language, you won’t put in the time needed to learn. So it’s essential to spend your time on things you like doing.

With LingQ’s vast library of content, you are sure to find topics that interest you and presenter voices that sound like music to your ears. Furthermore, LingQ’s import feature allows you to create your lessons from content you find around the web (i.e., e-books, YouTube videos, Netflix subtitles, songs, etc.).

To be a successful language learner, focus on activities you enjoy!
Language Learning - 7 Secrets of Success: #2 Do What You Like To Do

Mistake #3 They Don’t Make A Conscious Effort To Notice

The ability to notice is probably the single most significant difference between successful and unsuccessful language learners.

How do you develop the ability to notice in your target language? First off, you need to get a lot of exposure to the language.

When reading, try to notice phrases that seem important. Creating LingQs for words and phrases will save them to your database. Then you’ll see these words and phrases elsewhere, and slowly but surely, they will help you think in your target language.

Also, you have to pay attention to how the language is pronounced. Realize that a word with the same spellings in two languages will likely sound very different. Pay attention to these differences. Listening (a lot) and imitating what you hear will help you immensely.

We recommend you listen to a single lesson over and over until you understand about 70-80% of it. This repetition will help your brain immensely. But of course, if you get bored, move on to the next lesson (Remember Mistake #2).
Language Learning - 7 Secrets of Success: #3 Learn To Notice

Mistake #4 They Focus Too Much On Grammar Instead Of Acquiring Words

Acquiring vocabulary is much more important than learning grammar. If you learn a lot of words through listening and reading to content on LingQ, the most common & useful grammar rules will naturally fall into place.

It's a good idea to review grammar rules occasionally, but your primary emphasis should be on acquiring words. This is why the number 1 metric of progress on LingQ is Known Words.

Too many learners stress out unnecessarily about grammar and being perfect. Don't let that happen to you. Just get a little better every day. If you are consistently having trouble with a grammar rule, look it up (the LingQ grammar guides are there to help) or ask a tutor. Just get a little better every day.

Don't get too bogged down with grammar. Grammar is nothing but correct usage. It will develop naturally over time. So focus your efforts on words. And pay attention to how words are commonly stringed together in the language.
Language Learning - 7 Secrets of Success: #4 Words Over Grammar

Mistake #5 They Aren’t Patient Enough

Many learners get frustrated when they forget words or don't understand a story they've listened to multiple times or haven't mastered grammatical concepts. Forgetting, misunderstanding & misuse are normal parts of the language learning process.

One day you may feel like you're understanding and speaking great. And the next day, you may feel like you've taken a step back. This is normal. As long as you regularly engage with the language, trust that you are improving.

Frustration and anxiety can hamper your learning. Relax and be patient!
Language Learning - 7 Secrets of Success: #5 Be Patient

Mistake #6 They Don’t Have The Right Tools

Proper tools make any endeavor easier. By using LingQ, you have some powerful tools for language learning at your exposal.

LingQ gives you tools for reading, listening, reviewing vocabulary, submitting writing, and having private conversations with tutors. There are also grammar guides for most languages to help you master grammar concepts. And all your activity is automatically measured, so you get clear feedback on your work and progress.

When you get to a more advanced level, importing external content into LingQ (e-books, Youtube videos, anything that you are genuinely interested in) will help take your learning to a higher level.

If you are committed to learning a language, investing in good tools will allow you to reach your goals much more reliably.
Language Learning - 7 Secrets of Success: #5 Get The Tools

Mistake #7 They Don’t Take Charge Of Their Own Learning

Learning takes place within your mind. Only by taking control of your learning journey will you become a comfortable, fluent speaker in the language. If you’re struggling with something, look it up, ask a tutor or just let it go, and trust that you will figure it out over time.
Language Learning - 7 Secrets of Success: #7 Become an Independent Learner

Sample Study Plans

Over time you'll find a study strategy way that works for you, but in the meantime, here are some ideas to follow.

Daily Learning Flow

  1. Choose a lesson at (or near) your level that seems interesting.
  2. Listen to the audio, making a mental note of what you understand.
  3. After listening, read the text and create LingQs for words you don’t know. Did your understanding of the lesson change/improve after reading?
  4. Review LingQs on each page (click the flashcard icon in the lower right corner of the Reader and choose Review page).
  5. Later in the day, listen to the lesson audio again, as many times needed until you understand 70-80% of it. Or as your time allows.

You may want to listen first, as laid out above. Or you may want to read first and then listen. It's up to you.

Weekly Learning Flow

  1. Repeat the Daily Learning Flow every day for a week, continuing through the course you've chosen.
  2. If you decide you don't like the course, find another course you like.
  3. If you miss a day or don't complete the flow one day, don't stress. But also don't build a habit of inactivity. Recommit to completing the flow tomorrow.
  4. At least once during the week, submit a piece of writing. What should you write? A review or summary of your favorite lesson so far on LingQ. A journal entry. Anything you feel motivated to write about.
  5. If you feel ready to start talking, sign up for a conversation with a Tutor.

Playlist Ideas

  • A playlist for all the lessons in a given course
  • A playlist for audio you want to listen to later.
  • A playlist for a given topic/theme (ie songs or history).
  • An Easy Playlist vs. a Hard Playlist. You can listen to the Easy Playlist on 1.1-2X speed. And you can listen to the Hard Playlist at .75-.9X speed. And when a lesson becomes easy, move it from the Hard to the Easy playlist.


Where do I start? What is lesson 1?

If you prefer a guided learning path to follow, go to the Guided Courses shelf and choose a course at your level. Go through each lesson and then move on to the next course.

After a few guided courses, we recommend you explore some lessons/courses on other shelves and try to find content that matches your real-world interests.

When should I move on to the next lesson?

The short answer is "whenever you're comfortable." In general, if you understand 70-80% of the lesson when listening to it, you should move on. If you don't understand much of the lesson, continue listening and reading (especially listening) to the lesson until you feel more comfortable with it. But do whatever keeps you motivated. If you are bored and want to move on sooner, definitely do so. You need to see words in many contexts before you can learn them.

What do free users get? What do you paid users get?

As a free user, you have access to all standard lessons - that's thousands of hours of audio and accompanying text for fully supported languages. But you are limited to creating only 20 LingQs and importing 5 lessons.

When you upgrade to a paid user, you are no longer limited. You can create as many LingQs and import as many lessons as you, among other benefits (like offline mobile access).

How do I learn grammar on LingQ?

First, it's important to understand that grammar is nothing but the correct usage of words & phrases. Most commonly used grammar concepts tend to develop naturally over time through lots of reading and listening.

Many young children, for instance, who never received grammar instruction, tend to make minor grammar mistakes. But those tend to correct over time, even without grammar instruction, at least for simple language.

So your first goal should be acquiring words. Grammar should be secondary because you can't use grammar (correct usage of words) if you don't know any words.

Still, grammar is useful, especially for communicating complex ideas. And many learners like to learn through abstractions (an advantage but also a danger that adults have vs. children).

Every fully-supported language on LingQ comes with a Grammar Guide and lessons and courses on grammar for different levels. To find grammar courses & lessons, navigate to the Grammar shelf within the Library.

I keep forgetting things. How can I remember better?

Trying to be perfect is one of the main dangers in language learning. Forgetting is normal. Try not to stress out about it. Repetition will help you. Review your newly created LingQs soon after you create them. And most importantly, spend a lot of time reading and listening. Relax. Have fun. And trust that things will fall into place eventually.

I'm a Senior Citizen, can I use LingQ?

It doesn't matter where you're from, how old you are, or how long you've been studying; anyone can learn a language with LingQ!

Language education for seniors can slow brain degeneration and promote active aging.

LingQ can feel overwhelming at first because it's a highly sophisticated "choose your journey" tool. You do not have to use all functions at first, or even at all!

Focus on reading and listening to lessons, clicking blue words, and creating LingQs.

And you can learn more functions as you progress.

How can I change/add my dictionary language?

You can change/add dictionary languages from the Reader settings. See more here.

We're here to help you

You can find more helpful info in the rest of our Knowledge Base:

If you have any technical issues with the LingQ app, please reach out to

And if you are struggling to find your way or if you want some personalized advice/tips on how to best use LingQ to learn your language, please reach out to me -

I hope this guide has been helpful!

Happy LingQing,

Tommy Pruchinski
Head of Learner Success