Number of lingqs available to non-paying members

I hope I am posting this in the right place. I’m a language enthusiast currently devoting most of my life to learning Arabic, and have become fairly obsessed with exploring various methodologies, techniques, and materials. I stumbled on lingQ a while back, signed up, played with it a bit, and filed it away for future exploration. The recent conversations between you guys and Benny the Irishman drew me in and caused me to come back and explore things here a bit more. I am actually finding that I agree with a decent amount of what this method advocates, especially in terms of what should be done with the bulk of studying time. However, there are still a few things that suggest to me that the lingQ method would not be ideal for me (specifically the emphasis on flashcards, which I really dislike, and the lack of emphasis on grammar even for very complex languages, which as an Arabist I can only shake my head at). I am open to the idea that I’m wrong, and I would like to give lingQ something of an evaluation period at some point to see what I find.

However, that’s probably not going to happen under the current system here, because the number of lingqs available to non-paying members is simply too small for an effective evaluation, in my opinion. I seem to remember that one was allowed more when I first signed up (500?). I am curious as to why that changed. I assume there was an economic motivation, and of course I’m not going to tell you how to run your business. Nevertheless, I hope you will consider my input (hah!) on this matter. I would be much more likely to give lingq more of a go if either non-paying members were allowed more lingqs or if there was some sort of a trial basic membership option available.


Welcome to LingQ Woodpecker! Always nice to meet fellow language enthusiasts.

I don’t actually use flashcards very much. They aren’t a necessary part of LingQ, but they are there if you want them. A lot of people do.

Trial basic membership: you could just pay $10 and try it out for a month. It really is very easy to downgrade or cancel your membership at any time.

Lack of emphasis on grammar: well, it’s up to the LingQ members to provide lessons which emphasise grammar. In the Japanese library there are a lot of grammar-based lessons, in the Russian there are quite a few. I don’t know what there is in the English library but I’ll add some when I find my microphone and get some inspirarion :wink:

When I first discovered LingQ it looked so friendly and helpful that I spent weeks looking for the catch ;-D The catch is that it is only as good as the input from the people who use it. As we get more members who love discussing grammar, we get more grammar-based lessons.

I’ve found flashcard as a necessary part since I’ve started with Chinese.

Mm…actually I find them really helpful with Japanese. I don’t bother with them for Russian because, by the time I’ve seen a word in all its possible conjugations, that’s already a lot of repetitions :wink:

" the number of lingqs available to non-paying members is simply too small for an effective evaluation, in my opinion."

A point that seems to get lost in discussions about the the membership structure of LingQ is that you don’t have to commit to more than one month at a time. You can pay $10, get your unlimited lingqs for a month and then if you don’t like it go back down to Free. For most people in the developed world who have access to a computer and the internet, a one time payment of $10 is not that much money.

As far as grammar goes, nothing prevents people from buying a small grammar book as a companion to LingQ. I do.

Flashcards are there for those who want them. I use them, at first for words, then more for phrases. I benefit most from the yellow highlighting of previously saved words. But to each his or her own.

As to the membership conditions, we recently changed and are not about to change again.

I understand that the flashcards aren’t necessarily an integral part of the process, but the lingqs clearly are, as the site is named after them.

My main point was that I’m not going to spend $10 just to try something properly when I can walk down my street in Cairo and buy six or seven books (or 125 felafel sandwiches) with that money. I recognize that you probably don’t care and would rather stick to your business model. I’m poorer than most of your users, I’m sure. It doesn’t bother me and and I don’t expect to be catered to, it just means I’m very, very tight-fisted about this sort of thing. As such, you probably won’t be getting my custom anytime soon. Just wanted to mention it to y’all.

In response to this:
“For most people in the developed world who have access to a computer and the internet, a one time payment of $10 is not that much money.”
I have gathered from my look around the forums that you don’t plan on limiting yourselves to languages spoken in the developed world for long. There seems to be a pretty strong demand for Arabic, for example, but presumably for that to work out you’d require a decent number of Arab users. Furthermore, there’s a huge demand here for education in European languages, and the schools (except for the very expensive immersion schools) are quite awful. I would know, I volunteer as an English teacher at an alternative education center. My point is that there’s a big, big demand for what this site provides in places like this. The problem is, I promise you, that $10 IS in fact a lot of money for many of my neighbors, especially for something unproven and on the net. I really could buy three or four nice, concrete English or French course-books with that money (and I’m recognizably foreign, so I’m probably getting ripped off). :wink: Just food for thought.


Our immediate need is to generate enough revenue to cover our costs. If that means that there are many people in Cairo who will not be able to use our paying services, that is unfortunate but will not cause us to change our policy. These people are free to use all of our audio and text content, in all ten languages, free of charge. They can participate on our community, find friends, set up language exchange with other members etc., all using a platform and resources that they did not create or contribute to.

If you have compared LingQ to buying books or felafel sandwiches in Cairo, and have concluded that LingQ at $10 a month is too expensive, then the issue is not the one month. It is the cost of the service,compared to other things that you would rather do with your money. No problem. Your choice.

Incidentally, we have always had members, paying members, from the Arab world.

@Woodpecker, I pretty convinced that $10 bring me more at LingQ as some books- the internet is much more effective for language learning.

Junair, that hasn’t been my experience so far, which is kind of my point. :stuck_out_tongue:

Steve, I obviously don’t know where your members are from or how many are paying. I was just responding to the comment about the developed world, as much of the Middle East I know is definitely still developing. And again, I obviously don’t know your business model and cannot and will not tell you how you should run your company. I was merely sharing some information that I had at my disposal because I thought you might find it of some small value.

I am still curious about one thing, though. For services such as this, something along the lines of “try out a basic membership free for your first two weeks” is fairly standard. I assume it’s something you’ve considered, and obviously have decided to avoid. Why? (If my econ-major prying has gone too far with that question, feel free to send me on my way.) :wink:

We have tried a variety of approaches and have had the greatest success since we made the latest changes. It is not so much a matter of why it works, but rather of what works.

Once we get Arabic up and running on LingQ there will be the opportunity for Arab speakers to earn points tutoring students of Arabic on LingQ. How big that opportunity will be will depend on the demand for Arabic.

@ Steve:
Since the latest round of changes to LingQ, we have had a LingQ group on facebook and a LingQ group on YouTube. I have also been regularly sacrificing black cockerels. Who knows which of these has helped LingQ’s fortunes the most? I shall keep up the work with the cockerels just to be on the safe side :wink:

If I may add my two cents to this…

Here is my experience with LingQ, so far:
I joined in January and was a non-paying member for three months. I started using paid services about a week ago. I did it when I realized how much have lingq helped me with my Russian. When I started learning Russian again, in December, (I was learning it in school for some time, but quite long ago and have forgotten too much…), all I was doing for four months was: being unhappy with tutors, changing them, being frustrated with the long lessons, skipping lessons because I just wasn’t feeling good during the classes…and, occasionally, reading some texts on lingq. I would read some texts maybe twice, or three times a week, I wasn’t even saving lingqs, I would just check unknown words every time I see them… And then, suddenly, at the beginning of March, I found out that I can read Anna Karenina! And even more, I realized that most of the words that I wouldn’t understand three months ago, are the words that I was encountering in the texts read on lingq. So, I realized that lingq method works great for me. Now I started having 15min conversation and sending writings for correction, and it is just amazing how effortlessly I feel my learning is (in two languages). (I still wouldn’t use lingq to start a language from the scratch, I think I still need some very basics of the language clearly explained, like maybe MT basic course). And it is very addictive :). Once you realize that you can talk for 15mins in your new language (and get very informative feedbacks on your mistakes), you want to do it again and again! :slight_smile:

And now to the paying point - I’ve seen lingq working for me, so I do not have a problem to pay for it. And I want it to be even better (and I want it to develop that software for Arabic soon :wink: ), and I’m happy to pay for it. If you need more lingqs, doesn’t that mean that they are working for you? :slight_smile:

but, about this:
“For services such as this, something along the lines of “try out a basic membership free for your first two weeks” is fairly standard.”

In my opinion, lingq should stay as it is and not restrict those who cannot pay at all on two weeks usage. I know v e r y w e ll that here are many people out there who can get the hold on the computer and internet, but still cannot pay 10$ per month. I was in that situation, not that long ago - my mom borrowed money to get me my first computer, there were no credit cards, paypal doesn’t recognize your country, I was already paying my internet 10$ per month (which already was a noticeable expense) and so on… But, even somebody in such situation can still use basic lingq services for free (and basic can still do a lot, as I’ve seen for my Russian). Maybe Steve and lingq company see free membership as a marketing thing only, way to get paying members, but I am actually quite happy with how free membership is organized - it is not time restricted, allows people who cannot pay to still learn a lot, and, as already said, they can search for language partners and so on. And I am happy to be a paying member (now, when I can afford it), if that means that lingq stays partially free and available to everyone ( I’m being child of the communism, obviously :smiley: ).


We feel that there is a lot of value there for free users, and we are not planning to change membership conditions again.

That’s great. As I said (in, maybe, too many words in previous post) - in my opinion, current system seems both effective and more than fair. (so, I do not see how “two weeks free and then you have to pay”, that woodpecker mentioned, would be a better solution…)

I meant two weeks of basic membership free in addition to what is already here, not in replacement of the current system. I just think that would get more people (well, or just me, I don’t actually know) to give paying a try.