I finally got time to review one of my most favourite tools to learn languages with: LingQ!
Let me first preface by saying that I’ve been using this website on and off since 2008 and watched it evolve into a truly powerful tool for learning languages. It could so much more than it could when I first used it. Notice those progression badges for Japanese and German? Those are indicators of my progress in those languages while using LingQ.
Let’s commence with the pros of using LingQ:
Authentic Content By Native Speakers
Most of the content provided is created by native speakers who are also members on the site as well. The content covers a wide range of topics such as shopping, locals have natural conversations about daily life and even audio books for classic literature too. You can find these lessons in the library in additional to narrowing down your search to content that interests you!
Reinforce Vocabulary With Flash Cards
Having 4 different sets of flash cards to retain the vocabulary each lesson is a great way to build up your passive vocabulary in the language. Each set has a different purpose:
Cards: These cards allow you to guess what the definition and will provide you with 2 options: Oops! and Got It (or a different language equivalent depending on which language interface you’re using.). Click on Oops! if you don’t remember the word and Got It! if you do.
Cloze: This set will determine whether or not you actually know how to use the vocabulary you learned in the context of a sentence. You will be given a fill in the blank sentence with 4 options to choose from. If you guess correctly you will see a green circle but, if you guess incorrectly, a red X will appear along with the actual word or phrase corresponding to the sentence.
Dictation: What this set does is allow you to actually hear the pronunciation of the words and phrases you’ve learnt by listening and transcribing the word or phrase into the blank space. This could help train your listening skills by writing down what you hear in the sound clip.
Multiple Choice: Each word or phrase will have 4 possible answers to select from based on the words or phrases you’ve learnt (“LingQ’d”). Great for determining whether or not you actually know the vocabulary or if it needs more reviewing.
Have Your Writing Corrected By Native Speakers
Just like Lang 8 and italki, LingQ also offers written corrections from native speakers of your target language. Unlike italki or Lang 8, LingQ provides you with sample topics to write about to help motivate you to practise your written skills. Once you have written your text, you can submit it to a native speaker to have it corrected. Using these conversation reports to correct yourself from making the same mistakes continuously.
Tutoring With Native Speakers on Skype
You can schedule to meet with native speakers on Skype to practise your speaking skills in your target language. After the conversation has ended, the tutor will create a detailed conversation report to showcase where you could improve on as well as provide you with something to learn additional vocabulary from. The tutor’s availability depends on their individual schedule.
How Do I Use LingQ?
Watch this playlist videos made by the founder of LingQ, Steve Kaufmann as he shows you how to navigate through LingQ. The LingQ Academy is also worth check out!
I would also recommend subscribing to that channel as he does offer insight knowledge on how to go about learning languages.
Which Languages Does LingQ Offer?
They currently offer lessons in English, German, Japanese, Russian, Chinese (Mandarin), Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish. They also have the following languages in beta: Arabic, Czech, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, Hebrew, Latin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian and Turkish.
They won’t be adding any more languages until they are able to more content from native speakers of those languages. If you know any native/fluent speakers who are willing to provide lessons have them try out LingQ.
Using The Forums To Get Answers To Questions Or Start A Conversation With Fellow Learners!
This is probably an essential thing for language learning websites to have these days. If you don’t have one you’re definitely missing on the opportunities to strengthen your credibility while offering help and insight to fellow language enthusiasts.
I don’t really like how the forum is layout and could definitely be organised a bit better so that certain topics aren’t dominating others. I tend to look at the most recent topics on the right hand side more than I would for the language specific forums. I do like how incredibly simplistic the forum is though.
You do need to pay if you want to get the most out of this website. They have a premium plan which is only $10 per month (convert currency) and a premium plus plan which is $39 per month. I would highly recommend the $10 because it’s basically like two trips to Starbucks, Baresso, or wherever you like to purchase coffee from! The only thing you don’t get with the regular premium is the monthly points. But you can earn points from referrals, creating lessons, tutoring people, and so on.
Now on to the cons………..
Certain languages still need more content because there isn’t enough variety to choose from. A lot of the new content usually (not always) tends to be news-related depending on the language. There’s nothing wrong with news related articles, it would just be nice to have a much more variety than that. The popular languages usually tend to have more content than the less popular ones. Hopefully, they can find more content providers for those languages soon.
New users tend to find the site difficult to navigate but that can be remedied by watching a YouTube clip on how certain parts of the site works.
The forum itself could definitely use an upgrade or at least made into a separate entity within the website. But at the same time the simplicity does work for being a language learning website.
I would highly recommend LingQ to anyone serious about learning another language. It’s one of my essential learning tools when I go about learning languages. Great for fellow polyglots!