Languages: English, German, Russian, French, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Swedish, and some languages in beta.
Format: Online learning
Downloadable text and audio
Price Premium account: $10/month
I. WHAT DO YOU GET?
1. The largest online library of language learning resources:
- There are 20, 30, 40 or more hours of listening material and thousands of pages of reading materials for each language. There are various types of materials: newspaper articles, radio shows, classic novels, etc.
- The materials are organized in courses. Each course contains one or more than one lesson.
- There are many courses from beginner to advanced level. The courses contain daily conversations, grammar lessons, writing lessons, etc.
- Each lesson includes a text in the target language and an audio of that text. Some lessons also contain grammar notes, English translations, and a forum thread for learners to discuss about the lessons.
2. Tools to help you read more effectively, acquire vocabulary quickly, and manage what you’ve learned
Creating a “LingQ”
- When you start a new lesson, each word that you have not encountered yet will be highlighted in blue.
- You can click on every word to see its definition.
- If you want the program to remind you about the word, you click on the definition to create a “LingQ”.
- Later, whenever you see that word in the current lesson or other lessons, it will be automatically highlighted in yellow.
- You can also create flashcards with these “LingQs” and have the website remind you to review them.
- You can also create “LingQ” with a group of words or a whole sentence.
- LingQ counts all the words learners know. You can also measure the time used for listening and time used for reading.
You can use these tools with each lesson in the library or with any written materials that you find on the internet. Look at the “Additional Information” section of this review to know how to do this.
3. One on one tutoring and writing correction service.
(Available with an extra fee)
- Tutoring service is organized on LingQ and conducted on Skype.
- Writing documents to be corrected are submitted on LingQ.
II. LINGQ’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON USING ITS RESOURCES
- Choose lessons you’re interested in from the Library.
- Read the lesson, looking up new vocabulary and saving it for review.
- Download and listen to the lesson on your mobile phone or any mp3 player.
- Listen ► Read ► Review Vocabulary.
- Listen ► Read ► Review Vocabulary some more.
- Do this a few more times and you’re ready for another lesson.
III. THE GOOD
1. LingQ method emphasizes the importance of listening and reading
A lot of listening and reading is good for us. It also prepares us for speaking and writing.
2. LingQ has the largest library of materials, compared to other language learning websites
- Although we can use Google to find learning materials in the target language, it costs us a lot of time. A material, which has both text and audio at an appropriate level, is not easy to find.
- Materials in LingQ’s lessons have both audio, transcripts, and sometimes have translation and grammar notes. All courses and each lesson in the courses are rated by previous learners so we can estimate if one lesson is useful and interesting or not. Moreover, lessons are organized well. We can find lessons by levels (beginner 1, beginner 2, intermediate 1, intermediate 2, advanced 1, advanced 2) or by topics (business and economics, health and beauty, culture and religion, etc.)
- There are materials that language learners don’t find elsewhere. For instance, LingQ is one of a few websites where you can find Swedish radio documentaries with transcripts.
- The audio files and transcripts are downloadable.
These features help learners easily find the materials that they like to work on. Working on relevant and interesting materials helps us to enjoy learning.
3. Reading articles and learning vocabulary with LingQ is productive
- Easily see a word’s definition in one click.
- LingQ’s highlighting helps us to notice words that we haven’t encountered yet (highlighted in blue) or are currently on our review list (highlighted in yellow). As we progress through lessons, there are less and less highlighted words while the number of known words increases. It motivates us to continue learning.
4. A good platform to manage all things that we’ve learned
- In the “my lessons” tab, we can view all lessons that we’ve learned.
- In tutoring service: at the end of each tutoring section we receive a report from the tutor which contains suggestions for improvement (such as words/phrases to be reviewed from the discussion). We can also view reports from past sections.
- It’s the same for writing correction. In one click, we can see all submitted documents and their corrections.
- The import lesson feature is good. It helps us to use LingQ’s powerful tools with other materials that we can find on the internet (if it is not available in LingQ’s library yet).
5. We can learn, not only one language, but also all the available languages, and we don’t have to pay extra fee
- Good web design. We can easily find things that we need.
- Busy forum where we can receive support from other learners and LingQ’s staff.
- In all languages, there is a course named “Who is she?” which contains 26 lessons that teach basic phrases in story-telling format, which is interesting and effective for beginners.
IV. THE BAD/ THE LIMITATIONS
1. LingQ does not focus on teaching speaking
Although you can learn useful phrases from native speaker’s conversations, news, etc., you will likely not be able to communicate effectively if relying solely on LingQ. Providing texts, audio, and videos is not enough for us to speak well. An effective program must provide careful instruction combined with questions or exercises, etc.
2. The problem when there are too many choices
There are many courses/ lessons to choose. This makes learners confused, it is especially a challenge for people who do not have much experience in language learning. Although there are recommendations and a rating system, there is no clear guide for beginners to help them decide what course to learn first and what course to learn later.
3. High price for tutoring and writing correction services
Apart from the price of $10/month, which is reasonable, you have to pay an extra fee when you want to use tutoring and writing correction services, and the price here is higher than average.
- $20 for an hour of tutoring ($15 for the hired tutor and LingQ keeps $5)
- $10 for correction of a 300 word document.
- On italki.com, a popular site for tutoring, the average price is $10 per hour.
Writing corrections at LingQ could be your number one choice if you need thorough corrections and explanations for your mistakes or if you are in a rush, otherwise you can have your writing corrected for free at italki.com or lang-8.com.
LingQ is a place where you can find good materials for language learning. It also provides tools to help you learn more effectively; however, it cannot be your primary program.
VI. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
1. A better and faster way to learn speaking is by using audio-based courses like Pimsleur or Michel Thomas.
2. Import Bookmarklet
This tool helps you to import any document on the internet to your collection of lessons.
- Open “My lessons” page. You shall see the Import Bookmarklet logo.
- Open your bookmarks bar (press Ctrl + B with Firefox or Ctrl + Shift + B with Chrome).
- Click and drag the Bookmarklet logo to the bookmarks bar.
Now you’re done with installing Import Bookmarklet. When you want to import a text from the web, do these steps
- Select the text
- Click on “Import Bookmarklet” in your bookmarks bar
- Select the language for your text and you will have the document imported to your “My lessons”.
It’s that easy! You can use all LingQ’s functions with the document now.
3. The story behind LingQ
LingQ’s founder and CEO is Steve Kaufmann, a former Canadian Diplomat. He speaks 10 languages fluently. His language learning style is a little different compared to other polyglots. He prefers to listen and read first to acquire a large vocabulary and this reflects on the method used in LingQ.com. He is not a fan of Pimsleur – the method that I would recommend if you want to learn to speak well before building the vocabulary.
4. Free account
Free account can view all the lessons and also download the texts and audio files. However, free members have limited access to other functions, for example the maximum “LingQ” free members can create for vocabulary learning is just 20, which is not enough for even for the first couple of lessons.
I tried my best to give you the information as detailed and exact as I could (for I understand that if you choose a wrong program, it will cost you more time, money and energy to achieve your learning goal). Despite that there might be points that I need to be more specific, or points that I was wrong. If you know the program well, please help me, as well as other learners, by giving your opinions about the program in the comment section below.