Testimonial: Today I truly spoke French for the first time (or any other foreign language)

Je suis plein de joie, plein de bonheur aujourd’hui.

LingQ promises a break through or money back in 90 days (if you meet your goals each day.)

TLDR; 15 days at LingQ was a very big part of it: 24,000 words, 5351 LingQs.

So I will officially state: LingQ your money is safe. I do NOT deserve my money back no matter what happens from here:

I actually spoke another human language for the first time after 55 years of trying and working to do that.

THANK YOU Johan, Hugo, Genevieve, et tous.

And the rest of the story, but unless you are studying Englishyou really should stop reading this and
GO study NOW.) :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I am cheap. I bought a year membership 15 days ago and asked the staff incessant questions (receiving patient answers.)

A few days after I started my French reading went from almost fluent to approximately as fluent aa a slight above average (U.S.) high school student.

I’ve done that before, in Spanish, on my own, and LingQ helps but that was already well within my grasp so I won’t concede that break-through to them.

However, after a lifetime of studying languages for years at a time, and always being “one of the best students”, studying smart, and ultimately never learning how to speak a language something changed.

I am 67 years old and first tried learning French at 12 – listening to Living Languages vinyl records on a table top player, and using only the crappy (even in those days) 1/4" dictionary and phrase book that came along with it.

As far as I was concerned I was really learning French 55 years ago, and when started studying in school that was like a christmas present every time class begain.

Nothing happened in the sense of “learning to USE the language” however.

  • Rien
  • Ничего
  • هیچ چی
  • Wala
  • Không có gì
  • Nichts
  • Niets
  • Nashi
  • Méiyǒu
  • لا شيئ
  • Nada
    I am not a polyglot. I could get a beer, a hotel, a train, or a meal in French, Russian, German, Nederlands, Spanish, and MAYBE Arabic. I put in the work in many of them.

Quit Vietnamese only because they called off the whole darn war, closed the language classe and shipped me to Germany. (Really)

For Farsi &Tagalog I never really had any resources (it was 1967, shopping malls were new invention.)

In Germany I came closest. Took a one month 8 hour per day course (had to miss half of it due to being pulled for duty) but did ALL of the work anyway. I came close to reading and after two years in the country could chat enough to pretend a bit.

But I lived on post, not with the Germans, and had I no audio resources, really very few books at all either.

I will admit that for Mandarin and Japanese I did not put in hours a day for months and years like I have done with the others.

Arabic was different. I put in the hours for the first time had resources, especially a computer and to some extent the Internet. But that was 2002, in the dark ages of the Internet

Google was two years away from their initial public stock offering and YouTube would not be born until 3 years later.

Smart phones really were not a thing. Actually a smart phone was on that could hold 100 contacts and maybe do 5 function calculator operations.

I had an unconnected PDA that could load dictionaries I bought from my PC.

My computer, search skills, Rosetta Stone (I am still a fan even today and use it regularly), a Satellite TV Arabic subscriptions (special attenna) and a LOT of hard work almost worked.

Truthfully, Rosetta Stone and Paulker (thx guy) were my secret weapons. Pauker was an early forerunner (and free, open source) to Anki. Most importantly it could handle non-ascii, non-European characters, even right to left for Arabic.

And yes, Excel was another important tool for creating CSV files to load flashcards.

I did not learn to use Arabic. I didn’t fail. I didn’t quit easily, but after a year of serious daily study it was clear that I wasn’t going to learn Arabic home, alone.

There are significant reasons for Arabic etc. being much, much harder than European languages for Americans.

And the common misperceptions are wrong. It’s not learning the characters (skip than and use a keyboard – took a week.) It’s not learning right to left – heck I am left handed so these languages were designed FOR me. It’s not the lack of cognates although that makes the early days a bit slower while you load flashcards into your memory store so you can really begin to learn from context.

It’s the pronunciation problem, lack of short vowels being written and the fact that the short vowels change depending on the part of speech of the word root. You can’t really pronounce it until you know the grammar and you can’t really learn the grammer if you can’t read it – unless you learn it orally.

It is highly likely this is a major part of the reason for illiteracy being so high in Arabic speaking countries – sure there are other reasons but this is an important one. (By the way they do put the short vowels in books for very young children.)

When I learned Spanish it took me less than 3 months to be a fluent reader at the adult level but my hopes of learning to speak a language without living among people who spoke it constantly were so dim that I made zero attempt to convert reading to speaking. (My choice.)

I worked hard. My tools and methods were becoming awesome. The method worked. I read. Reading good books is always a joy, but it was very special to feel independent and successful for the first time. (circa 2005.)

It amazed me to read in another language. Fluently. I didn’t need an dictionary more than anyone does in there native language and I was happy to use a Spanish Spanish dictionary.

By the way, Same Language Dictionaries are awesome and more effective once you can read a bit.

TRY Wikitionairre or your favorit version of Wiktionary.org.

But I could not speak. I have to ask Google translate to tell my Spanish speaking landscaper what tasks should be implemented. And for his part, he is a citizen and he can’t answer me without his American wife to translate.

Starting Dec 1, my wife and I decided to ‘re-learn French’. We really started working at it about Christmas and I made a full commitment to succeed this time on Jan 1, 2020.

Feel free to discount any of my progress due to studying French for 4 1/2 years some 55 years ago. You can count the month of December also.

However, I will assure you that within days of starting 2 months ago study, I was already doing a years worth of “high school French” every 2 weeks or so.


So that brings me to two weeks ago, 15 days to be exact. I knew that success was possible, but decied that LingQ was worth a try, and of course I am the crazy guy who will DO THE WORK if you promise me a refund.

  • Day #15 at LingQ.
  • 2 months of serious modern study.
  • 5000 words at 85% mature in Anki
  • 1 1/2 levels of Rosetta Stone (I slacked a bit on that)
  • Countless podcasts, audio books, and random YouTube videos
  • We watched TV and movies we didn’t understand very well in French.
  • Au Service a la France is hilarious and fantastic even if you don’t understand 3/4s of it. We watch all episodes twice with French subtitles.
  • I am reading and listening to “Sapiens – A Brève Histoire de l’Humanité” over and over and believe it to be the single best “big books” one can use. If Sapiens is available in your language – get both. It covers EVERYTHING HUMAN and everything in the Universe and it is fascinating for it’s own sake.
  • Today was my 4th tutor session (45 minutes) and I’ve done 3 voice chats with nice French speakers. (Need to do more.)
    It happened today.

My French is not good, it doesn’ even rise to just plain bad. It’s attrocious.

Je parle le francais comme un neanderthal d’Allemagne.
(There’s a joke about a Spanish cow in their for francophones.)

I was frustrated. Highly stressed. It was almost like lifting weights or going to boxing practice.

But like weights you must put in the time and effort. Like boxing you must make mistakes, get hit and keep on fighting with real human beings who fortunately are your friends and enjoying it as much as you do.

I spoke French. Fluently at the LOWEST POSSIBLE LEVEL to call it fluent.

Not just because I stayed “in French” – I have done that 2 or 3 times before but this was different.

Today, I didn’t NEED to retreat to English.

The French language was butchered. My tutor probably has to put ice cubes on his ears tonight.

For 50 minutes (he didn’t call time) I talked. He spoke only a little. I told him fractured stories about my life. Some of those I would want to tell any new friend.

He asked me question on topics I did not plan to discuss. I answered. He understood.

Be clear: It wasn’t pretty and he had to help and be patient at times, but:

15 days at LingQ was a very big part of it: 24,000 words, 5351 LingQs.

So I will officially state: LingQ your money is safe. I do NOT deserve my money back no matter what happens from here:

I spoke another human language for the first time after 55 years of trying and working to do that.

I SPOKE FRENCH and on some level was comfortable despite the stress.

So I apologize if this sounds like bragging. It is not. I want to say thank you.

THANK YOU Johan, Hugo, Genevieve, et tous.

I am happy
…and I still have 4+ months remaining on my current goals timeline.

Thx to everyone who participates and makes this site possible.



Thanks for sharing Herb. Very interesting and glad to see Lingq is working great for you. I think it’s an amazing tool. I’m nowhere near where your at, but I know I wouldn’t be close to where I am currently without Lingq.

Some days you fee like you aren’t getting anywhere but steady progress is always being made. Then you might go to some website, magazine or book that you hadn’t picked up in awhile because last time you could make heads or tails of it, only this time when you look at it, you can read it! Maybe not all of it, but you get the real sense of the jump in progress you’ve made.

The great thing about Lingq too is it’s fun. I’m reading and listening to things of interest and making more progress than I would’ve with any other method.


Yes (to all except to not being close to me.)

A month ago, I wasn’t “close” to where I am now except that it was only a month away.

I have a very agressive plan to read fluently by April 1, listen to TV, movies, news fluently by May, and speak fluently (not perfectly) by July 1. See my post title “Personal Accountability” if you have inteerst.

It would be reasonable for me to claim the reading goal met but I am waiting for a bit more skill. In any case it will be well withing the goal.

On the topic of revisiting a source or content: Just last week I was annoyed by the “muffled” or “garbled” quality of my primary reading book despite having each a point wherre iwth effort I could almost understand it fully.

So much so that I chaned out seveal headsets trying to “remove the distortion”, checked my phone players, and even invoked the “Equalizer” in VLC attempting to filter it out.

I’ve listened every night since then but last night the distortion had simply disappeared. So obviously so that it’s necessary for me to go back to earlier chapters and prove that the sound has change or my hearing has changed.

This will be really interesting if it my hearing because that will mean that my auditory processing circuits that occure BEFORE language decoding have improved outside of my conscious involvement.

Notincing the creation of actual neural nets is a rare and precious occurence.

Good luck to you. Keep up what works and find ways to improve what you are already doing within the framework of your goals and resources.