I absolutely adore lingQ and wish I used it sooner. My only issue with it at the moment is for lingQing seperable verbs (trennbare Verben) for German. The phrase option is not suitable and I wish there was a way to lingQ them on their own. I also think the spaced repetition review could be a bit better and maybe more like anki.
Glad you asked. I think that the method to increase vocabulary through reading is simply brilliant for people who love to read, and I am definitely in that tribe. Also, the possibility of importing books and web pages is priceless, since it allows me to read exactly what I want and like. Next, the whole idea of tracking the number of words you know in each language as well as the ability to create lingqs is phenomenal. Last, Steve’s youtube videos are outstanding, and he definitely changed the way I think about language learning. While I don’t necessarily agree 100% with everything he says, the more I listen to him the closer my opinions move in the direction he sets. Because of these features, I have a hard time thinking about a reason why I would ever leave lingq, as it is also the reason why I keep recommending lingq to every single person I know who is trying to learn a language.
What follows now are what I perceive as the weak points, but just because they outnumber the positive points it doesn’t mean that I find that they outweight them. Again, I think that the lingq method is simply brilliant. With that being said, here is the list:
- Whenever I think of lingq as a whole, I always have the image of an app that tries to do too much rather than nailing the areas where it is strongest. This has a number of negative consequences, such as making it hard for users to really get a single, concise message about its main strength (there are just way too many things for us to remember). Actually, not being able to say in a single sentence what lingq does is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons why lingq is not much more popular than it currently is. Seriously, given the amazing method it introduced, it’s just impressive that lingq is not known by every single language learner. Again, I think that a severe refocusing would help, but that would require a Steve Jobs kind of leadership. In addition, by trying to do too many things lingq necessarily ends up with a number of weak spots that prevent it from providing a perfect user experience. The next three points are, from my personal experience, examples of these weaknesses.
- I love to import reading material, and my own material is essentially all I use even for languages I don’t know well at all. Bearing in mind that importing multiple types of files (pdf, txt, epub, etc) is very complex, I keep hitting bugs all the time. In the beginning I reached out for help from Zoran (who is great, btw), but the number of bugs is so big that now I ended up finding my own little set of software tools to address them. Since I work with programming languages, that is not a big issue for me, but that would not be the case for people who might not be that familiar with these tools, and I imagine that they would get frustrated pretty fast.
- The interface gets the job done for both the Web app and the android interfaces (the ones I personally use), but when you compare lingq’s usability and “beauty/coolness” with other apps it is really rough around the edges. For example, in my opinion memrise doesn’t accomplish 5% of what lingq does in terms of language learning, but they just nailed their interface. Granted, they probably have a much larger programming team, but they are also incredibly focused on their functionality. Is function more important than image? Absolutely, but image counts and, in my opinion, it is really lacking here…
- Regarding the list of things I don’t use, I do realize that this is mostly a matter of preference, but here it is along with the reasons of why I don’t use them: (a) audio - I prefer to get audiobooks and the corresponding text-based book into lingq. I use audiobooks/traditional ebooks simply because they give me more freedom to choose content that is more meaningful to me; (b) tutors - I use verbling because there is more choice and the prices are better. I believe this happened because they are solely focused on tutors and also because they were able to create a kind of open market that encourages competition; (c) gamification - as I said I find it phenomenal to be able to see how many words I know, since that allows me to set short and long-term goals for myself, but the other stuff (coins, avatar shape and clothing, apples, competitions) is something that is just confusing to me; (d) writing - I see that you can write and have your peers or tutors correct it, but since there doesn’t seem to be a lot of emphasis on that functionality I never even tried it. I have been thinking about using fiverr to correct my writing, but haven’t really gotten to that and so I can’t comment on what would be a good alternative.
In sum, in my opinion lingq is a work of genius when it comes to vocabulary acquistion, hands down the best app around, and Steve Kaufmann is a language learning genius. But having so much additional stuff around lingq makes it lose focus and, I believe, confuses users who can’t really put a finger on that gem. Does it take courage to cut stuff and re-focus? You bet, a Steve Jobs kind of courage.
Oh boy, I definitely agree with both suggestions.
Lingq is by far the best language learning tool I’ve found and I think I would have given up learning Russian long ago without it.
- The language learning system/method/concept.
- Activity apple.
- Stats. You can never have too many stats.
- The bugs.
- Coins/avatar need a revamp or just get rid of them tbh
- Maintain my streak by hitting listening targets.
- Set my own targets.
- Be able to “pin” or “favourite” courses to make them easier to find.
- Indicate the percentage of yellow words in a lesson.
- Be able to download transcripts along with audio in the playlist for use offline.
- Be able to create multiple playlists.
- Import from Youtube, extract the subtitles and audio automatically.
The previous version of LingQ was the best (because I can use the Classic mode). It was intuitive enough for me.
The new version frustrates me. I still do not understand most newest features.
It looks like good old features were cut off and I don’t know what for the new featureas are.
Anyway, LingQ is my favorite site, I spend a lot of time on it every day.
I would describe all my thoughts but it would be too much.
I absolutely HATE paging moves to known or probably more accurately, I hate that I can’t undo it. I know it can be disabled in the settings for a lesson but I never notice it needs to be changed until it has already done it. I want it permanently this off as I use various devices and start new lessons or have a button to reverse it. I want a global setting to never turn that feature on under any circumstances anytime that I am using LingQ on any device, even for new lessons.
I would love LingQ to automatically assign the first three definitions from content reversal to define unknown (blue) words as a default rather than having to manually search dictionaries or select definitions from others, which might not be accurate. If I don’t like the default content reversal definition THEN I can search the other sources. I have found that content reversal is excellent and the definitions are definitely a great start if not spot on. I waste too much time searching for definitions when the software could automatically assign decent definitions for me that I can override as needed.
Unless I’m missing it, I’m not seeing sentence mode in the android app. If it is there, why is it so hard to find? If it is not, why am I paying the same price as others and don’t get the full feature set?
If I paste in a lesson full of text but it lacks the audio, I still should be able to hear it read back via text-to-speech in the same way that we can hear the native speaker playback. I should even be able to adjust the playback speed. Even google translate will read back random text that you paste in. Yes, I know I can highlight words and phrases and limited text to hear it. But, I want it to just read it all and even allow it to be put into the playback list just like a lesson that has audio. It’s obvious not a native but it’s better than nothing.
Why does the program only work in portrait mode (android platform at least)? LingQ is the only app out of hundreds of apps on my device that can’t rotate. Sometimes landscape is better such as when I am using my treadmill. Otherwise my device might fall off the stand.
Why is it if when using LingQ on my android Samsung tablet, and I switch to another app temporarily then return to lingQ my text-to-speech language switches to English (I’m learning Portuguese)? When that happens I have to exit the entire lesson and reenter the lesson. For some reason it seems to lose track of what language the text of speech is supposed to use if you switch apps then return.
There is certainly more…