The naked truth about adding languages at LingQ

We regularly get requests to add features, functions, and additional languages at LingQ. We have limited resources and have to be careful where we spend our time and effort. Adding Korean was not trivial in terms of programming as Boris can attest. We had a few start up issues which required further development. Subsequent languages may be smoother.

However, we also have to create the logo and colour for the language and worry about content. For the Korean I contacted various people, including a visit to the local Korean language newspaper with “biolife”, one of our LingQ members who lives in Vancouver and is fluent in Korean. We are hoping to get some of their free-lance writers to record stories they have written and for which they own the copyright. Still, despite the contributions of Hyun Wu Sun of “Talk to me in Korean”, and James, our library still looks pretty bare. Someone joining LingQ for Korean has a right to feel disappointed. It does not make us look good.

I am always in favour of more languages and more features. It is more fun. However, Mark is responsible for making sure that LingQ gets onto a sound footing economically. No one else is responsible. So when we get comments like the following on the LingQ blog, we just throw up our hands.

"In my opinion it is a disgrace that Steve still refuses to add Dutch as a language at LingQ

(I simply refuse to believe that there is a higher demand for something like Korean!)"

Leaving aside the fact that there are a lot more Korean speakers in the world than Dutch speakers, we are simply not obliged to add any languages. LingQ is not a community facility pad for by tax-payers somewhere.

The bottom line to us has to be whether adding languages will increase our membership, and eventually paid membership.

If we add Czech, Dutch, or Polish, or even larger languages like Arabic, Turkish, Indonesian, Thai, Farsi, Vietnamese, will we get enough content? Are there a significant number of people out there who are prepared to join LingQ to study these languages? How do we get the word out?

Korean was the clear cut winner in our recent competition. So far the Korean experiment has been a little bit disappointing. The best way to ensure more languages, or new features, at LingQ is for everyone to try to encourage more people to join LingQ, to understand the system and to use it, not only for Korean but for all languages. The more members we have, the more content we will have in all languages, the better the interaction at the Forum, and the more resources we at LingQ will have to develop and improve.

Your point is clear, Steve. I wish more people were paying members of LingQ. I keep posting my referral link on my Facebook wall, but no one has joined in the last couple of weeks.
As for me, I am willing to learn any European language that will be added!

Thanks for your support Mike!!

I have nothing but admiration for your personal success story and that of LingQ Steve. That people are demanding you instate Dutch as the latest language on LingQ is quite frankly ridiculous. What astounds me even more is that they allow it to outweigh the huge successes of LingQ in the area of online language learning. I think most people here understand how difficult it is to install new languages at LingQ, as well as the limited resources available to you in contrast with the multi-million dollar coroporations like Rosetta Stone. I think I speak for the vast majority of the members here when I say thank you for everything you and Mark have already done for all us aspiring polyglots, and if and when you decide to add more languages then we will be grateful for whatever you choose :slight_smile:

I quite agree with you David, and I’m very thankful to Steve and Mark, but I’ll be even more grateful if the coming languages are European ones! :slight_smile:

That’s weird :S I would love it if you add Dutch, but I understand that 1. definitely a lot more people learn Korean (or Turkish, Arabic, etc), 2. it’s not that simple to add a language. I’m not a paying member but I’m only 16… I don’t have that much money to spend, haha. And I should spend my money on… going out or something… but I rather study languages, actually :smiley:

Well, it seems you’ll definitely get enough content if you add Czech – but on the whole I agree with you. Unfortunately, I don’t find it all that odd that people are treating this free (to them) resource as though it should provide them everything they could possibly want. It’s the age-old problem of the commons. But I’m sure that those who are in it for the long haul will be much more understanding. :slight_smile:

Too bad there was not a clearly defined target for minimum accumulated materials in order to make a proper LingQ library. If this were published it would be up to all who clamour for “X” language to back it up with materials. Of course you would still have to consider the drawing power of the language itself.

There is a risk if too many people come and use lingq that the server does not follow.

Did you consider to make a software people could use offline ? we could have the mp3, the text and all the lingqs and known words in our computer and only use internet for the dictionary part.

I say no to dutch - they hate us too much and they do not make a difference between football and kung fu

“if too many people come and use lingq”

I think that is the kind of problem they WANT to have… in any case I would suggest that those asking for new languages host the files themselves, or least linkto where they are hosted, rather than uploading them to LingQ

“Did you consider to make a software people could use offline ?”

I think that would be nice, but wouldn’t that make cross referencing LingQs throughout the library too difficult?

There is no problem with too many people suing the site. We have optimized it and the site is much faster. We only need to add servers which is not a great cost.

We have an off-line application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and will eventually make it available for other users. However, the main functions have to be online.

I do not judge a people by 11 soccer players, or even a few of them.

We might insist on our main three LingQ beginner series being done, with male and female voices.

I am not sure what you mean by cross referencing ?

Lingq could keep a database of mp3 and texts and/or links to mp3 and text - for people to download from.

The software would make the work with the colorisation the counting etc offline -

Of course people could use mp3 and texts that are not referenced in lingq and target any language they want - as long as they get material for that language

I think the problem is that most people forget you’re a small company with limited resources and can’t yet afford the kind of publicity and manpower to advertise LingQ in all corners of the globe and have every little glitch or problem instantly worked out with 24-hour customer service. Maybe I’m guilty of asking for new features and things myself sometimes, but I always try to remember how much hard work you guys have poured and continue to pour into this project. It’s quite awe-inspiring, really, I mean I’ve been with this site literally since the first day it came out in beta version a good three and a half years ago and look where it is now.

I’m also enjoying watching Lingq develop; I’ve been here a year now and appreciate the experience.

I am really digging the Korean and I am very happy with the service. I am listening to the “Talk to me in Korean” podcasts to get early beginner material while the library here builds up and I am looking forward to being able to understand more that just set phrases soon. The script is a challenge but I am already starting to find some of the keys a little more easily even though I am still not even at the “hunt and peck” level on the keyboard yet. It’s more like send out the search parties to all four corners of the keyboard to hunt down the letters to make up the syllables to put together word after painstaking word! I went to Korea Town in L.A. on my summer vacation this year and was delighted with the friendly people we met who helped me find the Korean bookshop where I was amazed at the amount of print material that was available. I picked up a few books that I can’t read yet but are now calling me to keep learning! Also, @Pierre, please don’t slam the Dutch at this sensitive time in their history . Although I understand the Dutch speakers and the French speakers have a longstanding rivalry over language in your country, in the Netherlands, many Dutch are already very depressed about the soccer match (it looked like Prince W. of Orange was at the point of crying after it was finally over) and also, the Dutch language is already under pressure with so few native speakers. And since almost all of the native speakers already speak English, very few people can be bothered to learn it. I have over a hundred first and second generation Canadian Dutch (or is it Dutch-Canadian?) cousins and I am the only one I know of who has much interest in the language and even I can’t speak it very well! Wat jammer toch!

While I think that people being rude about adding languages is tasteless, I am also one of the people waiting for one of those minority languages…

I think that it should be expected that in a new language content would be added slowly. Overtime people will wander in and out to add content and overtime more people will begin to use Korean. Really I’m surprised that you guys expected a giant influx of content in just two months. Just like language learning in general, Lingq’s respective libraries are going to take some time to build up to any level of strength.

Italian has been here since day one, and it’s library is very very lacking (unfortunately). If you took out what you guys seem to have sponsored personally, like the Who Is She and the Italian Lingq Podcasts, Italian is dismal. Unfortunately Italian doesn’t have leader like German does in Vera, but eventually Italian will pan out and so will Korean, Polish, Czech, Dutch ect

People like Jarda for Czech and Greg for Polish have started creating content off site for when their native languages are available, but I think for the most part this is an aberration. I think a very basic beginners set up should be required, like Steve mentioned earlier Who Is She ect and then after the language is added we’d just have to wait, but longer we wait to add languages the longer it’ll be before a library is stocked enough to start drawing new customers.

The simple fact is, that when you guys are able (I emphasize that last phrase), then languages should be added, but to think there’ll be this big influx of content I think is a bit like expecting to become fluent in 3 months.

Chris, I agree with you about the amount of content we should expect to find in the Library of newly added languages and, like you, I am waiting for many (European) minor languages to come on LingQ.

Sorry to hear about the Italian library being dismal. I have been a LingQ member for six weeks only, so I’m not responsible for that lack of content, although I wish I felt more comfortable to record my voice in order to create a podcast. I also think tutoring for Italian is not working so well… in the past days I searched for all the members who are learning Italian and was a bit disappointed to see that many of them weren’t contacted by any Italian tutor offering help, while Vera always write to all new LingQ members learning German. So, I wrote to most of these people myself (except those who registered many months ago and never used the site).

As for now, I have focused on earning points by offering conversations and text correction (but I still haven’t been submitted any texts), but I may create lessons in the future, after overcoming the said issues with hearing my voice recorded.
I wish I’d become a reference for Italian learners on LingQ, because I love my native language and hope more and more people will learn it.

Who cannot love the Italian language? As to the library, it has begun to improve over the last few months and I look forward to using it more and more. A little aside: one of the reasons for people not submitting any writing is perhaps the fact that writing takes up a lot of points and that we tend to be ‘faithful’ to our original tutors?

Susanne, I’m not saying that I am not receiving any written texts to correct, but also that 90% of the tutors whose profile I have checked have corrected very few texts in comparison to the amount of conversations they have held. I am not making it a personal question.
As for the amount of points, well: how much you spend to have a writing corrected depends on the number of words. You can have short texts corrected for 100 or 200 points, while a conversation always costs 500 points.
I have just asked in the Italian Open Forum what kind of material Italian learners would like to have added. Let’s see if anyone will answer. By the way, I can help you with my language, if you wish.

I shall stay off-topic a while longer: I don’t think I read it as a personal question. I prefer writing longer pieces, and as I am doing more than one language, I’d be out of points in next to no time if I were to follow my inclination.

For shorter posts the Post and Submit function here in the forum is a wonderful feature, I know at least two people who have improved their English massively by having their short comments corrected this way.