LingQ is a language learning platform & app featuring a wide variety of resources such as guided courses, podcasts, news, articles, and books in the form of thousands of hours of audio and written content (original & uploaded by users), accompanied by extra tools to review vocabulary and build speaking skills.
LingQ provides language learning resources in 41 languages out of which 21 are in beta version at the moment.
On LingQ you’ll find learning materials ranging from Beginner to Advanced, which translated into the CEFR levels would be around A2 to B2+ (Upper Beginner to Upper Intermediate). That being said, if you’re about to start learning a language from scratch, you need to build at least a basic foundation of vocabulary and grammar knowledge before using LingQ as a complementary tool.
What is LingQ for?
Though on LingQ you can develop all 4 major language areas (listening, reading, speaking & writing), its highlight is on learning through input, meaning reading and listening. Plus, the SRS vocabulary building tools are tailored based on a massive library of texts accompanied by audio files.
Pros & Cons
We all know there’s no perfect app or platform, so LingQ has its own strong features and some drawbacks. Let’s start with the pros.
One of the best features is the library itself. There’s such a wealth of learning materials that it’s impossible not to find something to your liking. You can also filter the material based on your level. For total beginners, there’s a course called LingQ101 - Getting Started, which gives you an introduction into your target language.
On top of that, you’ve got the option to import your own content which, once integrated into the platform, it’s converted into lessons.
All lessons are varied and immersion based, meaning that you can explore a wide range of texts accompanied by audio. Through these texts, you can create your own flashcards by adding new words into your vocabulary bank. These words are called LingQs.
LingQ also has gamification elements displayed through creating your own avatar and taking part in language learning challenges. Most challenges are 90-days long, but there are monthly ones too.
To track your progress, LingQ has an accountability system which consists of general stats, daily goals and streaks. Other interesting features include a tutors section where you can get 1 on 1 training and a community section where you can ask questions and interact with other like-minded language learners. Last but not least, LingQ currently provides a grammar guide for 20 languages.
First of all, LingQ is not really the best place to start if you’re a complete beginner. Since LingQ is more immersion centered than other apps, it lacks the structure, exercises, and overall gradual increase in difficulty compared to textbooks and grammar apps.
That brings me to the next point. In spite of providing a grammar guide for 20 languages, LingQ doesn’t teach you grammar, which could be a downside depending on your level and learning preferences.
However, the two biggest flaws lie in the user interface and the word review system. Unfortunately, the user interface is loaded with too many elements which makes the navigation system even harder to grasp. First time users will be a bit confused when they land on the platform as it takes a bit of patience to understand where to click and how to find the right learning materials for you.
Same goes for the SRS system. If you’re not careful, new words will get pilled up into a huge queue that is nothing but manageable. However, if you’re a fan of pen and paper like me, you can always extract new words in a more traditional way and jot them down into a small notebook and create your own simplified SRS system.
A Sneak Peek into LingQ’s Language Courses
For every lesson you take, there will be a number of highlighted words in blue or yellow. Blue stands for new words while yellow indicates your LingQs, which are words that you still need to review.
There will be times when you come across a word highlighted in blue that you don’t want to add to your vocabulary list because you’ve learned it from some other resource. To prevent it from being added to the queue, you just have to click on the word first. Then, on the bottom right side, click again on the tick and LingQ will consider it a known word (check the screenshot below). However, if you click on one of the definitions, a LingQ will be created automatically and added to the vocabulary review queue. Next time you see the word, it will be highlighted in yellow.
In the library section, you’ll find a wealth of resources split into several categories, including guided courses, podcasts, books, articles and a few others.
As mentioned above, this is the part where you need to take your time and look for what interests you. To narrow your search, you can select a proficiency level ranging from beginner 1 to advanced 2 in LingQs terminology.
Memorize New Words with LingQ’s SRS
LingQ has many SRS functions such as flashcards, multiple choice exercises, and cloze tests. Although none of them is very visually appealing, I find cloze tests really useful because you get to learn words in context. In case you’re not sure which option to choose, you can always click skip. The same card will pop up again later once you’re done with the rest.
How I use LingQ to learn Japanese
One thing that’s great about LingQ is that you can use it to learn many languages, including more exotic and challenging ones like Japanese. In my case, I wanted to see whether I can use LingQ to improve my reading and listening skills for Japanese.
First, I was delighted to see there’s no shortage of learning resources suited for upper intermediate learners and so I spent a few hours browsing until I made a list of the ones I thought were interesting. Then I explored most of its functions to decide what would work best for me.
And since I want to focus more on podcasts and spoken Japanese, I wanted to have the transcript in front of me to follow along with the audio. That’s when I discovered a cool function called “show synchronized text.”
This function enables you to follow the dialogue line by line and rewind 5 seconds if you want to hear the same line multiple times. This is extremely useful for learners who want to practice reading and listening at the same time. It’s available both in the app and on the platform.
LingQ has its fair share of pros and cons, but it’s definitely a language learning tool worth taking a look at. Given its wealth of resources, it’s impossible not to find an interesting resource to improve your target language. Plus, it’s an excellent immersion-based platform ideal for independent learners.
I highly recommend you check it out and I also have a surprise for you. If you sign up for a paid membership, you’ll get a 35% discount (affiliate).
Happy language learning!