Question and Note on Free to Premium LingQ

As a long time premium user, I often recommend LingQ to people who are interested in upping their language game. Of course their first question is price – the spoiled brats of the “free, free, gimme, gimme” generation.

Anyway, my question is this: What can a current free user do with the site when they sign up? I know you can only create 20 lingqs, but what happens after you’ve created those? Does that mean you can no longer look up words and mark them known?

I seem to remember that when I started on LingQ we could keep reading and looking up words and mark them known if we wanted to, but we couldn’t mark them yellow / create LingQs after 20. That seemed like the right approach to me, as the site was useful enough to keep using, yet showed me how much more useful it would be if I had a premium account.

I know this is a tricky subject, because of course you want to make money and have people go premium as early as possible, but I just wanted to bring it up to see what the current free option is for people who’d wanna try LingQ before going premium.


Free accounts are limited to 20 LingQs they can create, as you have said. However they are still able to read and listen all available lessons on the site and they can mark unlimited number of words as known.
However once when they reach LingQs limit, they no longer have access to user hints and dictionaries.


I have noticed that most people aren’t serious about language learning. I have recommended LingQ to at least 50 people (I’m not exaggerating, if anything to more people), and only 6 of them have become a premium member. If someone isn’t willing to pay about 9 dollars a month for learning a language, but does so to buy something usless, he or she wouldn’t learn the language even if they had the best resources. With that being said, I think that LingQ should focus on making people believe that comprehensible input is the way to go, because I know some people that are serious about learning, but just take classes because they believe it’s too good to be true. Maybe the way to make them believe that this system works is extending the free trial, who knows. Btw when I started using LingQ, I stopped once I couldn’t LingQ anymore. I wasn’t planning on becoming a premium member. A few days later I spoke Italian, and I noticed that I was using some of the words that I had learned on the little trial, so I knew that the system worked and I got it. Maybe a little longer free trial could make people realize that it works, and that it isn’t just another one of those sites that advertise themselves as the best thing the world has ever seen. For most people, learning through comprehensible input seams like something out of this world, so they just need to stick long enough for them to realize that it is real. They need to reach a certain level of trust in the method before they put their credit card into it, and sometimes the free trial ends before they do so. Just some thoughts, I know the LingQ team has been working on this since they started.


I guess part of the reason is also because Lingq is so heavily geared towards readers (introverts). People are of course social creatures, we all need social interaction in order to be healthy to an extent, I am not sure if this is the reason why reading for pleasure is seen as weird. I am slightly getting sidetracked but your post made me think about what I find enjoyable in language learning and the misconceptions that people have about me as an introvert.

I assume that for many people speaking is the only rewarding thing about language learning. Everything else is sort of a choir, I am of course generalizing but I think that might help to explain why Lingq is not as popular as one would assume.


I think you’re onto something there. I completely agree that it’s a lack of confidence in the system, but I don’t agree so much about people not being as serious about language learning. I feel as though some people would rather spend $9 on something some others might see as useless but that they know for sure they would enjoy rather than spending $100’s on something they’re not 100% sure will work and they’re not 100% sure they’ll even keep using, even if it does average out to $9/mo. Some of us are SUPER broke and can’t afford to spend that much money in one go. I was thinking of subscribing to another service for $10/month but knowing that I could cancel my subscription at any time made it more appealing, even though they offer WAY less than what LingQ has to offer. LingQ is a KILLER deal, the issue is not all of us have that much money up front, and the lack of confidence in the system makes it a lot harder to fork it up.
I totally believe in the method, but there are other (free) ways to go about immersion/input learning, so I need to know that this system is the best or at least a better/more convenient way to do it. (I’ll be the first to admit, the other methods, although free, are a bit of a pain in the butt).

I think people have been so geared towards believing that you need SRS or a bunch of questions testing your knowledge at the end of a chapter…For that matter that there needs to be a structured course with grammar, questions, etc. They don’t realize how powerful the reading/listening concept is…and it’s sometimes a little less tangible what you have accomplished on a day to day basis. Although if you trust it as you say, the # of known words, or # of lingqs, or # of words read is that measure of accomplishment. Even fundamentally, just that bit of exposure for the day or moment is a step forward.

You don’t even need LingQ to use the reading/listening combo…you can read online articles with google translate extension and popup for example. Or in the kindle app you can load language translation. Or if you’re old school, read and write down the vocabulary. You give up that track of progress that LingQ provides as well as the ease of working through a text. However, despite all this you don’t really see people suggesting this much in something like the reddit forums…it’s usually people talking about using some conventional app, course, or SRS. Or they all want to learn by watching movies. The concept of just reading/listening doesn’t quite seem to click in their minds.


Yessss, another method I heard about that I’ve been using is creating a secondary youtube account and following ONLY youtubers of your target language and tricking the algorithm into thinking you’re a speaker of that language. I try to only watch ones that also have subtitles in that language as well (not auto generated b/c I’ve seen how badly it can butcher captions for English, so I don’t trust it in any other languages either haha!). But as I said, it’s a pain in the butt to set up. . . .

I think what people like about using language learning apps is that they quantify and gamify the language learning process which can help with motivation. It’s very hard when you hit that plateau and you feel like you’re not learning anything or that you’re possibly even getting worse, especially if you’re left to your own devices without a clue how to go about learning a language, no guidance, and little time to go about figuring out your own methods. Having a pre-made system and a proven method to follow takes a lot of the guess-work out of learning languages. And there’s TONS of great resources out there to learn how to learn a language but when you’re pressed for time, you just wanna get right down to the nitty gritty and learn the language without doing the research and learning how to learn part. I think that’s where a lot of games like Drops and DuoLingo come in, and even LingQ b/c they give you a way to track progress, and then give you goals and small wins that keep you motivated to reach bigger wins.

Wowww, anyways, sorry, I got way side-tracked haha, but basically yeah, I agree with you, it needs to be made more widely known how effective comprehensible input learning is for language acquisition!

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