LingQ is a language learning website. They prefer to call themselves as a vibrant Web 2.0 community of enthusiastic language learners and native speaking tutors.
They currently offer 19 supported languages: French, Russian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Swedish, Dutch, Greek, Polish, Esperanto, Latin, Ukrainian, Gujarati, Belarusian, and Arabic.
They also have 16 Beta languages which are at the development stage.
LingQ and its team believe that to learn the language proficiently, it should be through the content of one’s choice.
LingQ advocate reading and listening skills with significant consideration given to creating and understanding vocabulary.
Their lessons may not be suitable for language novice. The intermediate level learners can utilize its service effectively and achieve fluency in the respective language.
- Language learning through immersion, whereby a foreign language’s transcript is explained using a known language.
- The creation and reviewing of LingQs provide learners the opportunity to expand their vocabulary base.
- The option to import lessons via browser extension offers unlimited excess for new and entertaining learning content. The learner can create his/her course, and studying will never be dull.
- Ling Q’s lack of original content may prevent some users from subscribing. Most of their library is made up of already existing news articles, e-books, and paid content.
- Lack of structured course work, the student is independent and has to determine what, when, and how to study. Too much focus is given on vocabulary learning through the creation of LingQs.
LingQ was launched in 2007 by the name Ling. Steve Kaufmann, the founder, and his son, developed this tool with a mission to break down barriers to language learning.
With their office in Canada, and they provide authentic and exciting language learning content; 1,000,000 LingQ members can be sufficient to validate their efficiency.
Steve Kaufmann is a polyglot who speaks more than 16 languages. According to him, anyone can be a pro at acquiring multiple new languages.
He promotes the best way to learn a new language by highlighting 3 keys areas; right attitude, sufficient time dedication, and noticing.
The noticing part encourages one to be curious about various aspects of a language, its pronunciation, grammar, or writing system.
Naturally, the learning process of our first language as children is spontaneous. Our subconscious mind picks up patterns from our surroundings and enables quick learning.
But the second language requires one to make deliberate actions to acquire it. That is why some individuals can quickly grasp new linguistic while some toil to utter basic phrases.
Once someone exposes themselves to a new language, they cannot help but notice certain things. It leads to the creation of mental patterns, which ideally develops language skills.
LingQ points out various actions that develop the ability to learn a foreign language.
These actions should include learning from the content you like. The platform provides you with an opportunity to create your course.
Once the content is available, the learner has to train the mind via reading and listening to lessons.
While studying, the learner’s focus should be on increasing and improving vocabulary, which is considered to be a vital task in language learning.
With time, our mind gets programmed to pick up patterns from the content we study. And with that, we should be able to achieve our goals and measure the results.
Learning a foreign language via immersion is preferable as the learner can access the written form of both the new and the familiar linguistic.
Create your course
LingQ may be the preferred platform by many language learners due to its ability to provide self-creation of learning content.
It is made possible via an import button or their installed browser extension. The import button gives options to import lessons, vocabulary, or e-books.
During the LingQ profile set up, the user is first asked to select categories of interest. These are then used to customize the users’ lesson feed.
They host an enormous collection of categories; books, podcasts, news, business, entertainment, sports, technology, grammar, health, science, culture, food, travel, self-help, and politics.
The chosen categories are used to customize the lesson homepage. Once on the website, their tour guide takes one through the steps to attend a lesson.
The lessons appear under the library tab. Other tabs of my lessons, vocabulary, and playlist are available for easy navigation.
The lesson feed shows all the lessons available for the learner. At this stage, the system only displays the beginners’ content.
It can be changed by the user later on, and he/she can set the appropriate level of learning.
Their lessons are mainly in a written transcript, and its audio is available too. The essential part of Ling Q’s learning is vocabulary.
As a result, the learner has to click on the unknown words (blue) to know their meanings, which turns into LingQs (yellow).
This system of creating LingQs is the base of learning new words. The learner enters a translation of the LingQ either by choosing from community translation or accessing dictionaries.
Importing learning content
The system asks the user to install the extension during the profile set up. However, one can access the links to download the extensions in the LingQ homepage.
These extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. They also operate on the mobile apps for Android and iOS system.
The extension enables one to convert any news article, song lyrics, or an e-book into L lesson.
After introducing the news article in the LingQ lesson, one can go through the unknown words and turn them into LingQs.
We have witnessed lessons from the L lesson feed as well from the browser extension. Let us now use the import button provided on the dashboard to import a course.
Various fields such as title, description, and tags are defined, and then the user copy-pastes the text of the lesson.
He/she needs to upload audio and an image, define the level and the course and also add the original URL.
It is possible to share the private content so that the community members can also view it. However, the user has to meet some standards of image, audio, and copyrights before sharing the content.
Any copyrighted content should not be made public; it can be imported for private use only.
A learner can access lessons from the library of LingQ, import it from browser extension or their import button.
The wide variety of lessons this import option provides is unique and makes language learning entertaining, and there is no chance of a repetition of the content.
Reading and listening to lessons
LingQ lessons focus on reading the transcripts and listening to the audio. The transcripts words are all in blue (unknown words).
The learner has to click on the unknown words and create LingQs (yellow). If a known word exists, the learner and mark the “I know this word” button on the side panel of the lesson.
Alternatively, all the blue words are marked known (white) if the learner turns to the next page intentionally.
If it was by mistake, the learner can click again on the words and create LingQs, meaning they are unknown.
The knowing of the LingQs is via translation and dictionary. These words appear in the vocabulary section, upon which exercises to study them are available.
The whole idea is to create as many LingQs as possible. So that the page changes from blue words to white ones, meaning all the unknown words are now familiar.
To access the lessons, let us take a detour of the dashboard.
The typical dashboard of L features decent design with primary tabs of lessons, tutors, and community.
Our focus shall be on the lessons dashboard. It holds the library, along with vocabulary and playlist sections.
The library section may seem to be a bit chaotic as lessons appear based on how long ago someone liked them. The first courses are the most recently liked by the community members.
An exciting feature is that they show how many new words a lesson holds. It’s an estimation from the system calculation of one’s known words.
They also display the number of words you are learning (LingQs), a like button and the level of the lesson.
One can access the drop-down button on the top panel of the library and set one’s level. It can be beginner 1, beginner 2, intermediate 1, intermediate 2, advanced 1, or advanced 2.
The dashboard displays a whole lot of other activities.
The top panel portrays all the languages LingQ offer with the indication of the known words of a particular linguistic. Then comes the activity streak (apple icon) and the coins earned by the learner.
The latest 4 lessons attended by the learner appears in the right-side panel. The statistics of the LingQ is available on the dashboard. We shall visit the statistics part later on in this article.
Ling Q’s lessons
The lessons are accessible from the library, playlist, or my lessons.
As mentioned above, the library has lessons arranged in terms of the last liked by some community member.
A search bar enables one to look for a topic of choice, and one can also search for different language accent (British or American English).
My lessons hold the courses one has gone through in the past.
The typical layout of their course is written transcript with an audio clip. The 4 steps illustration on how to study any unknown word is on the side panel.
The first step is to click on any unknown word (blue). Secondly, add translation to the new word to make it yellow (LingQ).
The third step is to review the status of the LingQs. Lastly, with this technique, all words become white (known). The LingQs status gets updated as one proceeds.
LingQs have 6 levels of status; 1 (new), 2 (recognized), 3 (familiar), 4 (learned), a tick sign (known) and a ignore mark (word to be removed from the list).
The known word is to be marked as “I know this word.” All the words can be marked known if the learner intentionally turns the page by clicking on the next arrow.
The lingQs get translations either from the community or by creating from dictionaries. The number of community members who used that particular translation for the LingQ is also visible.
The other way to know a LingQ is by creating your translation through the use of the dictionaries available.
All the dictionaries get displayed, and the learner can choose amongst it and attach the meaning to the LingQ. A new window pop-up shows the dictionary’s translation.
The learner has to play the audio clip of the lesson and read the transcript. The audio has control buttons; hence, one can play/pause, rewind, adjust the rate (speed) and loop the audio.
A download option is available in case the student wishes to listen to it on offline mode. A grey-green tab displays the progress of the lesson.
If the lesson has 3 pages, then 3 grey tabs appear. As the learner proceeds to page 2, a green color gets filled in the first tab.
The indication of known words by the student appears beside these tabs, and the of review LingQs created by a learner is also visible.
Upon completion of a lesson, the learner is shown graphically the LingQs goal and the coins earned by him/her.
LingQ creators believe that continuously learning new vocabulary and familiarizing them speeds up the learning process.
Once you have enough words, speaking in that language would not be a tough challenge then. Thus, much stress is given on reading and listening to the lessons.
Secondly, create LingQs, review them over time, and grasp the new terminologies. When one achieves this much, the rest comes naturally and with time.
All the created LingQs appear under the vocabulary section. These are for the review purpose and the learner and set the status of each of the LingQ.
One can filter the list by choosing to review LingQs according to the status (1,2,3,4), course, lesson, alphabetical letter, or by SRS date.
Spaced repetition system (SRS) is based on spacing effect, and it encourages long-term knowledge retention.
The system adjusts the review of the LingQs in relation with time so that optimal retention is possible.
The review of new terminologies should be within a shorter period, and that of familiar words can be after a relatively long time.
LingQ provides review activity tools for the vocabulary list. These include multiple-choice, cloze, cards, and dictation.
The most common tool used to learn, and review vocabulary is flashcard. A reverse flashcard is also available in the activity.
LingQ flashcard tool has setting options to choose the front and back content of the card.
During this activity, if a word is correct twice, then the system automatically upgrades the word from a lower status to a higher one (status 1 to 2).
The multiple-choice section provides a question, and the learner has to choose an answer from 4 options. The dictation has an audio playing, and the student types the word.
The vocabulary import option is also available for the learners who wish to dwell deeper in reviewing of LingQs.
LingQ offers various options for reviewing the LingQs. However, the review process could use some improvement.
If a student focuses solely on the yellow words, then most of his/her time will be wasting studying words which may not be as important.
It is better to use the tools after filtering the list and the importance of continuing with other lessons not to be overlooked.
LingQ sends out LingQs of the day emails, whereby the users receive the words from SRS list which are due to be reviewed.
Goals and results
Learning any language is a complex process, but the goal is similar - to crack the lingual and obtain proficiency in it.
Their system provides learners with the option to set their goal of learning a certain number of LingQs daily.
After fixing any goal, staying motivated to achieve the results is of utmost importance. For this purpose, L attaches an activity apple to our profile.
The activity apple shows how active any learner is over the past 30 days.
It has 7 levels, starting from 1 (blue apple) to 4000+ scores (golden apple). The apple changes color as one works harder and earns scores.
The number next to the activity apple shows the user’s streak, the number of days one meets targets on LingQ. If the learner misses a day’s goal, then the streak goes back to zero.
All this is shown in detail in the Statistics section on the lesson dashboard or under my profile tab. The statistics show the streak and the remaining time to achieve the set goal of LingQs.
The number of known words, LingQs, learned LingQs, hours of listening, hours of reading, written words, and hours of speaking are all outlined in the statistics.
The data of statistics can be seen based on today, yesterday, last week, last month, all time and others.
LingQ encourages learners to sign up for challenges which are available for its community members.
Another feature of LingQ is an avatar. The avatar is a tiny cartoon that grows as one excels from one level to another.
Meaning if a learner reaches the advanced 2 levels, he/she will have a fully-grown avatar. The growth of the avatar is directly proportional to the learner's progress.
It is a methodology to motivate students to complete their LingQs on time, achieve their daily goals, and proceed to the next level in the course.
The creation and reviews of LingQs earn you coins. Each word has a different value, the more familiar the word, the higher its value.
If you mark any word as known, you earn 5 times its value. Creating a LingQ gets you 1 coin of its value.
The same with increasing the status of any LingQ, the coin value increases by 10 as one upgrades in LingQs status (1 to 4), from a new to learned word.
These coins are then used to purchase clothes and artifacts for the avatar.
The statistics are a great way to keep track of your progress. We feel the avatar concept is generally a childish way to motivate adult learners; it may work wonders for children, though.
The concept of measuring goal by the number of LingQs created daily can also be a subject of discussion. The overall growth is only possible if all aspects are learning are targeted to achieve comprehensiveness.
LingQ may be famous for its unique methodology used to deliver language learning. It advocates reading and listening to the course.
The learner has to create LingQs and review them via activity tools. In this scenario, the concept of grammar is barely touched by them in their lessons.
To counteract this, LingQ provides grammar guide for some of its languages. The guide is available on the profile menu of the account.
The speaking and writing aspect of language learning is available for LingQ users through the purchase of a tutored course.
A tutor gets assigned to a student, who then allocates written assignments and conducts conversational lessons through Skype.
The speaking classes and writing corrections by tutors can be purchased via points too.
The lesson import feature is the best weapon for LingQ. It provides the learner with variety and flexibility to study the content of their liking.
Their word tracking system of the known words and the LingQs is worth commending. The daily goal of achieving a certain number of LingQs further improves learning methodology.
They promote language learning through immersion, which is a powerful tool that increases learners proficiency.
Their student support system is excellent, they gave us a prompt reply, and our issue was sorted out within 24 hours.
Undoubtedly, LingQs lessons are an attractive segment; however, some areas may cause it to lag in comparison with its competitors.
The inclusion of videos in the coursework is missing in LingQ. They can heighten learners interest, that is why platforms such as Yabla utilize video classes.
We find the coin collection scheme and the avatar creation a bit of artifice. It may fail to meet its intended purpose of encouraging learners.
Furthermore, many users can get confused with the coins (avatars) and points (tutors).
The lack of original content may be a turn off for many users. Their library collection is made up of lessons which they create, or acquire from paid services.
There is no defined coursework, and the learners browse through lessons without any established number of course.
It may not be a desirable framework for people who prefer hierarchy in learning structure. As such platforms similar to Rocket Languages and Ligonda may be a better option.
LingQ provides free language proficiency tests when a user is setting up his/her profile. It can help learner determine his/her current level.
However, they lack tests that promote learners to the next level in their course. They only offer creation and reviewing of LingQs as a means to judge the learner’s ability to upgrade their level.
LingQ offers a wide variety of engaging and entertaining lessons. The platform is best for intermediate level learners who find it easy to learn a language by expanding their vocabulary base.
It cannot be recommended to beginners as minimal resources are available on grammar and writing/speaking part of the language learning.