Starting a language, with or without a book

I am interested in your opinions and experience. Do you learn the languages only on LingQ and with the help of the internet, or do you have additional course-books, and if you have both, whats your experience on both approaches?

I do have languages, where I only have books, because they are not yet on LingQ, I cannot say much about my experience there, because I just started.

I do have languages, where there is a book and LingQ, and I have made most of my progress here, starting of with a book (the old way, this was before I knew LingQ) and then changing to just reading and listening. Even if I only started the books, the progress is remarkably.

And then there is Finnish. I do not have a book there, but I wanted to give it a try. But to tell the truth, before I found this homepage, I did not like learning only on the internet, but I am flexible, and I wanted to try it anyway, although I am not accustomed, to all this. But Finnish is for me the hardest part, my progress is not very huge, I just learned 10 words, I do have lots of linqs though, but I wont recognize any of them, and I cannot remember one word, when I shut down my laptop.

OK, I sometimes do have the feeling, that I close a lesson and do not remember any of the words there, even if I have started with a book, but this happens with difficult languages, like Japanese, and is probably normal, I guess, I hope…

Well I think it is natural that there are easier and harder languages, and this is a personal thing, though I do see a connection with my way of learning, or maybe I just have the wrong approach to Finnish?

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Hi Safran-
I think that LingQ is great to learn new words in context, to listen to pronounciation, to practice skills such as listening and reading… but in addition to this I think it should be better to have at least a basic grammar book. Especially if you’re studying a particulary hard language, with difficult rules, and the like…
I can’t tell you much about Finnish but for me German is a difficult language and I started learning it on a course-book. I discoverd LingQ only after I had already bought the book but I think they are two complementary things!
Good luck with Finnish and all the other languages- bye :slight_smile:

I always like to get myself a book as well, even though I spend 90% of my time with LingQ related activities.

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I just started learning Russian, and I originally planned to start with Assimil, so I bought the Russian Assimil and tried to get started. I opened the book and tried to go through the first dialogue. I found it such a pain in the Hintern to keep having to flick to the dictionary at the back to look up words, and having to listen to the audio for the dialogue to get the pronunciation that I very quickly gave up and came to LingQ. I found that having the instant access to user hints, dictionaries, and Google TTS made things much easier for me. I just started using Assimil again, and I really like it, mostly because I find it much more manageable now. My answer is this: I will always start a language at LingQ, and then once I have a basic knowledge of the language (~100 words or so), I will combine it with other materials.

Interesting Colin. Although Assimil is popular with many learners, I don’t really like it as a beginner book. I don’t like having to refer to translations. I find many of their notes not helpful, and the progression of their lessons can be quite steep. I prefer Teach Yourself as a book since it offers a glossary to help you through the lessons, rather than translations. On the other hand I prefer the audio at Assimil since it has only the target language.

For Romanian, I much preferred the content at LingQ, Eating Out, Who is She, and my pattern sentences, to the content at TY. However, for easy and repeated reference while sitting in the bath tub etc. , the book is quite handy. There is something reassuring about a book, for an oldtimer like me.

However, the more I get used to my iPad, with all of my lessons in iLingQ, and with a great grammar book in PDF that I copied to the Kindle app on my iPad, (iPhone) I have less and less use for books. In my next language I will load up my iPad and probably not have to buy a book, although I do like holding them in my hands.

I like the content of Assimil, but there are some things that I do not like about it. As you say, the progression is very steep, the format of the pages is very complicated (I think Robert talked about this in one of his YouTube videos), and there is a huge amount packed onto each page. I also find their translations to be difficult sometimes. For example, in the first dialogue, the fifth line is

Вы куда?

The German translation of this (should 'ave got the English one, I know) is

Wohin [gehen] Sie/[geht] ihr (Sie/ihr wohin)?

And the next line is

Я домой. А вы доьой?

which is translated as

Ich [gehe] nach Hause. Und Sie/ihr, [gehen Sie/geht ihr] [auch] nach Hause (ich nach Hause. und Sie/ihr nach Hause)?

I see what they are getting at, but can’t they make it a little clearer? I had to stare at these lines before I could unravel them.

[edit: is it ok for me to reproduce these lines here like this? If not, I can delete them.]

No problem.

I think like language learning in general, starting a language with or without a book is still something personal.

I started learning Italian about one month ago. At first I wanted to try it entirely on LingQ without a book. It didn’t work well. I was constantly troubled by the “strangeness” of this language - I guess it’s because Italian is the first Romance language that I’ve ever learned, so a lot of language constructs such as the position of pronouns, verb conjugations etc are all too different to me. So I went to my local library and borrowed a Living Language book. I went through a few chapters, and within a week, I’m able to put that book down and use LingQ primarily.

Interesting proposals and experiences,

I will continue with Finnish on LingQ, and I will check if my library has some courses, maybe I can borrow one there, for a month as an additional help

I like my books too, and I wanted to continue with all my courses in the future, but I wasn’t sure about the right moment. Unfortunately most of the courses you can buy here are pretty much about buying stuff and other unusful vocab. As I will probably never even see one of the countries I do not see any reason to learn this vocabulary. I want to read their newspapers and listen to their radio, and a conversation here and there could be nice, but thats about it. I will never ever buy shoes abroad, thats for sure, as I seldom buy them here…

@Safran - I can’t agree more, about buying shoes etc :slight_smile:

I typically just skip any content that I don’t like, until I have a specific need. I used to have a Swedish teacher. She loves everything food, and she keeps challenging me words about food in Swedish - an apple, an orange, the oranges, etc… I couldn’t care less. LingQ is such a relief in that regard.