There is only one LingQ, and lingosteve is ITS prophet

I seek protection in LingQ, from the accursed Benny Lewis.

In the name of LingQ, the entirely beneficient, the especially useful.

LingQ, there is no language learning website but IT, the Evereffective, the Selfevident by which all smart language learners subsist.

It revealed itself to Steve, verifying that which is before it, Stephen Krashen, massive input and language acquisition. A guidance for the intelligent language learners.

And those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in LingQ, it is all from the experience of Steve.

Oh LingQ! Make not our hearts deviate from the true path of input-based language learning. For those who are led astray by empty claims and phrases, easy-sounding quick fixes, and learning methods void of actual substance, their hearts are sealed by relatively low IQs.

They are led astray by Benny the Irish Derpglot and his ‘meaninglessly flap your eating-hole from day one’ misteachings.

Is he not more of a crafty Internet-marketer, than a benefactor of men on the righteous path of language learning?

Has the ever-inconsistent one not claimed, in his 2012 Mandarin intro video, to know Spanish, French ‘and a few others’ at C2, while some time later trying to explain his way out of badly failing the listening comprehension in a C1, yes C ONE, exam? vs.

Seemeth it not evident from the Mandarin intro video that his target audience in mind seem to be gullible monolingual children?

Has he not, in a post I don’t want to dig up right now, apologies for not confirming this memory, basically admitted that when natives talk to him, he ‘much of the time doesn’t catch the details of what they say and just responds with fluent sounding colloquial paroles, though he deeeefinately gets the gist of what they say’?

Is it not evident that the evil one’s wicked 3 months brand was a short-sighted concept adequate for getting used to merely the next dialect of Romance, but being humbled and brought low before the eyes of LingQ with his abysmal, failed Mandarin, Arabic and Japanese missions in 2012-2013?

Truly the disingenuous one has ex-post-facto reinterpreted many a failed mission as a success and redefined his hollow claims as mere personal dream goals.

Would it not seem plausible that his unreasonable over-emphasis on speaking, aka being social going out there and talking to people at parties, may be overcompensation for his admitted past as a socially limited electrical engineering student.

Unheeding of Steven Covey’s ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’ and unintelligent in the original sense of the word (Lt: intellegere – to understand).

Surely, those who disbelieve in the communications of lingosteve, theirs will be a severe chastisement on the last day of judgement at the C2 listening comprehension section. For the infidels of input-based learning there will be no avail in the hellfire of inadequate listening comprehension and functional illiteracy.

Truly LingQ is entirely beneficient, especially useful.

:wink: sometimes you need to fool around and waste some time. I guess that defeats what I wrote in my Mandarin log, about not having a religious allegiance to LingQ.

BTW No serious offence meant to Benny, he’s an ok guy who just happens to be a slightly self-deceiving internet marketer rather than someone worth noticing for language learning.

ps. I hope Steve will go for the beast and learn al-fusha, the most eloquent Arabic language. Inshallah

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I hope to study Arabic this year.

Thanks for the kind words about LingQ. Yes I don’t believe in “speak from day one”. I believe that the first skill we need is comprehension, which depends on lots of listening, reading, and if at LingQ, creating LingQs.

As for levels, I don’t want to comment on Benny’s levels, but as for myself, I would consider only my French to approach a C2 level, since I took my university training in France. My Japanese is around C1 and my Mandarin somewhere between B2 ad C1. The rest are at B2 (Spanish, German, Swedish, Russian, ) or B1 or less. However, since I have a large passive vocabulary in all of them. if I set the goal of improving my output, or if I had the opportunity to use these languages more, I am confident I could, with a little work, improve my level quite quickly.

However, I don’t sit for exams in my languages, I use them for communicating, and for reading and listening to things of interest so i can learn about these countries and their cultures.

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That’s great to read, Steve!

As far as I can tell, the estimates of your levels here are very accurate.

Yes, motivation for Turkish being equal, I would do Arabic first. I understand that Turkish, Persian, Urdu etc contain high level layers of Arabic vocabulary, similar to the Latin and Greek in European and the Chinese in Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese. My own preferred path would be to go for the big, central, former prestige/core language of the cultural sphere/civilization, and later for these smaller satellites.

Starting with a satellite, I think we’d sonner or later get motivated for and distracted by the core language. I can tell that you and I are similar in this. One language with its history makes you interesed in some of the other language groups they used to interact with, Czech to Romanian, Russian to Ukrainian, and so on.

For a while now I’ve been leisurely studying and following the whole Islam-debate. Reasonable Islam-critics vs. populist Islamophobes vs. postmodernist, cultural relativist, so called liberal, politically correct apologists. Mostly the Jihadist terrorist problem and its realtionship with ideas within Islam and the discussion around the refugees/ possible concerns with muslim immigration.

Btw the best figures in this discussion I find to be Sam Harris and Gad Saad:

The thing to do for us understanding-heavy language learners I think is clear: temporarily tune out the surface level English language discussion and hit that MSA. And having that solid maybe add in some Levantine, Egyptian and Gulf dialect.

I hope I’m not imposing too much of my own budding interest in Arabic onto you. (I can’t go for it soon, because I’ll spend 2016 solidifying my own BIG 4, Portuguese Spanish Russian Mandarin.)

These are some good adresses I already stumbled upon:

The guy of the Mezzofanti Guild, Donovan, seems to be in the more intellectual input camp and ,

And this guy’s top video here can be motivating

Also the pretty Maha is sure to be a good supplement now and then
and maybe a good youtube cooperation partner with her 240.000 subscribers.

One thing…

I discovered that the Standard Arabic Who is she? seems to stop at part 6. Maybe we can contact and ask the good guy here who provided these few parts to produce the other parts. Login - LingQ

Also daily videos, as during the Korean challenge, would be very motivating and interesting!

Good luck and may Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiyya and Al-Hurra prove as interesting as Echo Moskvy!

Forgot to explain why I’m saying this.

I found your mini-journalism during the Ukrainian crisis very interesting. With your Russian and Ukrainian comprehension skills you were able to tune in much better into that crisis and other Russian and Ukrainian discussions, and then made a few videos reporting your understanding. Being able to follow news that are local or closer to the field of the conflict, and to get closer to original sources is very valuable in understanding conflicts and their context. I was learning Russian at the time, riding the wave of Ukrainian crisis news from B1 to B2, and in summer 2014 went to Belarus and Russia including Crimea a few months after the incorporation into the RF. So I know from my own experience what a difference tuning into the cultural context and news of the place itself makes.

So the wealth of conflicts and problematic discussions connected with Arabic should be most interesting input material and worth some more mini-jounalism;)

“My own preferred path would be to go for the big, central, former prestige/core language of the cultural sphere/civilization, and later for these smaller satellites.”
Mmmm. I’m sorry but I can’t help thinking that this way of thinking is hugely mistaken. That’s certainly the case when it comes to Persian

I know what you mean. My description of core-language and satellites is very very oversimplified. I’m definitely not calling Persian a little offspring type satellite. Of course I’m aware of the great ancient Persian civilisation and that it’s an Indo-european descendant and not an Afro-asiatic Arabic descendant. What I tried to express is that I understand that these surrounding languages have an important Arabic layer of vocabulary and are obviously strongly infused with Islamic culture. I know less about this sphere, but for me I think if I took on Farsi or Turkish as a first language in the Islamic sphere, all the ‘foreign’ Arabic vocabulary and Islamic culture would soon distract my motivation towards Arabic anyway, as the source of this in a way.

Maybe I’m mistaken here, but to me it seems somewhat comparable to the Sinosphere. Unless I was especially motivated for one of them, I personally wouldn’t have learned Korean or Japanese as a first Sinosphere language, because the large parts of Chinese vocabulary, culture and shared history would have drawn me to Chinese anyway. Apart from Arabic and Chinese being bigger weights in space and numbers. Also, and I could be wrong in the Islamic sphere, but in the Sinosphere it seems to be that Chinese has a more internally consistent vocabulary that builds on itself without a huge proportion of foreign layers of vocabulary, whereas Jap/Korean seem to have a very high percentage of Chinese volcabulary that creates two disconnected parts of vocabulary, much like the Germanic and French/Latin/Greek disconnected roots of vocabulary in English (water - germanic , hydropower - hydro- greek , aquatic - latin, sun vs solar, heart vs cordial and on and on 10000 times).

It’s obviously not about avoiding difficulty, but I would think learning an L with a more internally consistent vocabulary base is also more wholesome and straightforward as a start into a comlpletely new civilizational sphere.

Absolutely no diminishment of the great Persian civilization, but doing Farsi and Japanese, reading their history, before Arabic and Chinese, to me would feel like intently studying a moon and forcing myself to ignore the big gravitational pull from the planet. Obviously not claiming one is descended from or less wonderful than the other. :wink:

So that’s why, -all other motivation being equal- I would argue for swiping up the world from big languages to smaller. As do representatives of US-intelligence agencies, when advising kids as to which languages to pick first. Language for Life: Professional Opportunities in National Security and Intelligence - YouTube

But, if you’re 1% more motivated for Farsi then go for Farsi. Motivation trumps all.

I still think you get it wrong, but of course do go for Arabic if you like it. Good luck!

Do you mind explaining how/where/why I got it wrong. Just claiming “you get it wrong” without argument is pretty unsatisfying. You seem like a very smart and experienced language learner. Maybe I misjudge something about the constitution of the vocabulary or culture in question.

In my view, the problem is simplification, not just a little simplification to summarize the situation but really egregious oversimplification to the point of distorting reality.
Just a couple of thoughts (I could rant on for hours):

a) As a way of comparison. Consider the following statement
"You really should learn French before English. A very, very large part of English vocabulary comes from French. No, really, go for the core language of the Eurosphere, you’ll tackle the satellite ones later on. With English, all that foreign vocabulary will distract you, will make you gravitate towards the source, … ".
Sounds a bit odd, doesn’t it? The reason you may find it odd is because you know about French and English and Europe.
To those who know a bit about Persian culture, your statement sounds just as simplistic and misguided.

b) Calling Persian culture a “satellite” of Arabic really shows a lack of knowledge about history. Persian was so incredibly influential for such a long time in so many countries, from Central Asia to India, … It was the main lingua franca in most of the East. Marco Polo seems to have mainly expressed himself in Persian all the way to China. Not to talk about culture, literature. In that respect, I can only advise you to read about the relevant period.

c) In general, I’m very skeptical about comparing languages and culgures, dividing the world into fixed categories based on caricature concepts and so on. Notice that you’d find hard to believe that there’s a “Eurosphere” with a core culture then satellites and everything really amounts to the same because, you know, it’s the same religion and people look similar. You only believe that about other cultures. You feel that the other is simple and easy to summarize but oneself is complex and nuanced. That’s a tell-tale sign of lack of understanding, IMHO.

Don’t worry, this willl go away as you learn more about different cultures. You’re very much on your way to deeper appreciation.
Again, I wish you luck on your journey.

I’m going to go against the flow here, I didn’t follow Benny’s method when I first started however I did start speaking as soon as possible. What makes speaking from day one great, is the motivation it gives you. Having small ten second convos gave me a sense straight away that I could learn the language and that it was not impossible. I found also that people corrected my pronunciations, which has really helped over the last 2-3 years.

This isnt to say I don’t lean more towards mass input now, but I feel like the longer you put off speaking, the harder it might be.


You’re right about that. Extreme simplification and I know much less about the region than about others.

Again these are no value judgements and worth-comparisons of cultures. You seemed to have been stirred by my supposed debasement of Persian. My satellite term maybe sounds a bit diminishing, but obviously but I didn’t mean any value judgement of one culture being greater or lesser.

And again motivation trumps all, so this discussion is completely secondary to the fact that Fulano Sanchez wants to learn Korean and nothing else, for example.

Absolutely. My Core-satellite-language hypothesis doesn’t work in the current Western civilization. On several occasions, when a young person in China naively told me they wanted to learn German or Spanish as a first foreign language, I always advised them to get the English solid first, which will tremendously help them with those other ones anyway. Not that English is better in worth, older in form by far overwhelming in numbers of native speakers. And we know it’s not the case that I’m putting all Western culture into one little box or believing something like ‘alll white people look the same’ to recommend a “Western civilization = first English then others” learning strategy to Chinese people.

No way you can call me out on believing “that the other is simple and easy to summarize but oneself is complex and nuanced”

My ignorant assumed model of the Islamic sphere was really more modelled on the Sinosphere, in which what I describe is, in its oversimplified way, absolutely the case

! Motivation and anything else being equal ! I thinks it’s hard to argue anyhing but starting that world with Mandarin.

So probably this doesn’t translate as well into the Islamic sphere and, as you rightly say, I’m definitely much less aware of it and of Persian history and the region than you.

here’s wiki:

Persian has had a considerable (mainly lexical) influence on neighboring languages, particularly the Turkic languages in Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia, neighboring Iranian languages, as well as Armenian, Georgian, and Indo-Aryan languages, especially Urdu. It also exerted some influence on Arabic, particularly Bahrani Arabic,[16] while borrowing much vocabulary from it after the Muslim conquest of Persia.[10][13][17][18][19][20]

With a long history of literature in the form of Middle Persian before Islam, Persian was the first language in Muslim civilization to break through Arabic’s monopoly on writing, and the writing of poetry in Persian was established as a court tradition in many eastern courts.


Anyway the comment was really about Steve and not me, and Steve mentioned Turkish and not Persian.

I personally would still start my overly simple, imagined Islamic sphere with MSA, and eagerly hope to get to Persian and Turkish very soon as well :wink:

That Benny and early playful speaking can be motivating is clear and admitted by Steve. It’s about what you emphasize and claim constitutes actual learning activities, though. Benny, any speakfromdayoneer, and people who habitually overuse the words: memorize, practice, master; are operating under the ‘skill building hypothesis’, as opposed to the ‘input hypothesis’. Benny doesn’t paint a picture of speaking being a motivating ‘priming the pump’ activity, but as a ‘memorize and practice until you master’ skill, like taking a guitarre accord form a book and practicing it until your fingers fluently do the trick.

This skill building hypothesis has been, if not completely disproven, so well made seem very implausible indeed.

Neither Steve nor I seem to have a problem having fun speaking very early. When I meet the odd Japanese person, I have no hangups having fun and making them laugh by spitting out my hajimemashite, yoroshko onegaishimasss and anata wa nihonjin desss ka, but I don’t have a change learning anything there nor is it a real meaningful language learning activity. And sometime I might even do the Moses McCormick thing and take some languages I won’t seriously learn, but just cram phrases to bring laughs and smiles to owners of ethnic restaurants and shops, which is a very fun and nice thing to do, but not significant language learning in my book.

Well I hope one of you starts Arabic soon. First of all, to give lingq a kick towards supporting right to left and second to hear some more strategies for tackling the different laguages (ahem ‘dialects’) involved. I’m also rather curious to know if the "Leventine’ dialect is comparable to southern Ontario vs New Brunswick and Newfoundland or more to regional accents in England. In the meantime, this guy sounds like enough of a troublemaker to be interesting MEMRI TV | MEMRI

Arabic dialects are not accents. They vary in grammar and basic vocabulary.

Actually, I got distracted while writing that. What I meant to ask was whether within the Leventine ‘dialect’ the variety matched Canada or the UK or displayed greater diversity than either of those. I know I read something about there being detectable differences between Arabs from the Galilee and those around Jerusalem.

Good link, merci

Well it would have to be our beloved prophet Steve, peace be with him, who starts Arabic, in order to bring improvements in its handling.

I think Arabic is really suited to his learning style. The bedrock of (an essential part) of the civilization, and lots of interesting conflicts, issues and questions, that are sure to continue producing headlines. The divide between the vernacular and the language of news and literature, classic and modern, is almost no issue with Steve’s learning style and interests.

There seem to be a lot of people, who worry about MSA vs. dialects. They are probably a bit too much concerned with immediate bazzar chit chat than with understanding news, books and high culture. Though if you’re heavy on enjoying reading literature, following current events, and being close to the classic literature, then you’re able to wait a while with the speaking, and will be more respected by educated locals for it as well, as I hear.

Agree. For example, Cantonese is often argued as the key to the sinosphere languages, and it makes some sense. eg: But when you factor; motivation, breadth of content, access to content, application in a range of spheres, geographic spread, future spread, number of fluent speakers – then I can’t see how it would make complete sense to start there, unless you had specific reasons to learn it.

It’s a little bit like Benny “teaching” his girlfriends Esperanto as a starting point to foreign language learning. Justifiable at some level, but ignores most motivation factors, and also ignores that languages like Indonesian are far more “universal”-like than Esperanto.

eg. McWhorter – "…Because Standard Indonesian is already so approachable, when it has undergone yet another streamlining it is one of the smoothest rides on earth…learning to communicate was thrillingly close to just, of all things, learning words and stringing them together…

"…All I had to do was memorize some key words. Not the kind of
vocabulary that language textbooks routinely present as “basic,” mind you. Occasions never arose for me to engage in discussions about mothers, cousins, forks, spoons, yesterday, tomorrow, whether anything was good or bad…

“All of this is possible because of the blessings of a thoroughly oral kind of language, never committed to the page, and thought of as “not real Indonesian” by the people who speak it their whole lives long. Yet the ease of learning it made Esperanto, with its European-inspired suffixes for tense that make it hardly a plausible “universal” language for Chinese or even Indonesian speakers, seem like a parochial stunt.”

An elephant in the room in these types of discussions is that, currently, the world is in the process of moving from 6000 languages to 600 languages, and further, the “real reality” is that the majority of the world’s population are already fluent in just 20 languages, and that is what the next generation will mostly learn. Beyond that, you have English, Mandarin, Spanish, French and Arabic dominating regions + modern geo-political holdouts like Japan, German, and Russian + large local languages like Hindi, Indo. In just two generations time 80+% of the world will be fluent in 10 languages, and everything else will just be special interest.

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It is not only Right to Left which needs to be corrected, but most of all, better handling of the diacritics. E.g. not only can I not make a LingQ of the word كُرْسِىٌّ, or مَكْتَبٌ, but because there is a diacritic on the first letter, if you ‘LingQ’ those words, the LingQ is lost immediately, and I see the LingQ I made for the first letter without diacritical mark. Very annoying and useless. If you refresh the page, the word shows blue again.
Another probably easy issue to fix would be that fontsize of the lesson should be per language. For Arabic I would need the largest fontsize for the moment. Annoying that then any other language has suddenly huge characters!

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The Hebrew text of the Tanakh has the same problem with diacritics. In addition, Hebrew uses contractions rather than abbreviations and the strange character that marks the contraction splits the LingQ into two nonsense parts.

And yes, some automatic font resizing would be nice for several languages.

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