What is LingQ?
LingQ is a language learning product along with a language learning community. It was founded by Steve Kaufmann (His youtube account can be found here). Steve Kaufmann is a lifelong language learner and a seasoned polyglot. He’s also one of the older language learning enthusiasts on the language learning scene.
Steve Kaufmann has very strong opinions about language learning and the state of language learning in his home country of Canada in particular on his blog The Linguist. His manual method of language learning was adapted to a web based software program and shared with people for a monthly subscription.
A quote from Kaufmann
Learning English Should Be Fun
My name is Steve Kaufmann and I speak 10 languages fluently. For years, I had trouble learning languages. Only after discovering a better, more enjoyable way of learning did I begin to have success. And now, in today’s online world, my method of language learning is even more effective.
How does it work?
In a nutshell, the way LingQ works is: You simultaneously read and listen to a passage that can range in size from 30 seconds to 30-40 minutes. While going through the passage you save save words that you do not know to a personal database. Whenever you place a cursor over the words a definition will pop up. As you read and listen more, you will become more familiar with words and when you are ready, a definition will no longer pop up.
This video that LingQ made shows a demo of how you would go through a lesson.
They offer a free trial that will allow you up to 10 LingQs to get a feel for how the system works.
As it currently stands LingQ has a free version and a paid version.
The free version is really only useful if you want to have access to LingQ’s database of passages that have both audio and text (which is extensive!). Without the membership it’s kind of impossible to use LingQ as it was intended. But it is useful for trial purposes.
The paid version has multiple levels, most of the higher levels add more bonuses. The bonuses are more for getting writing corrected and doing lessons with tutors.
I’ve never tried any level higher than Pro because Pro opens LingQ to a fully featured version. I never really used any of the bonus features of LingQ, so I won’t comment on the other levels.
What Level Learner?
LingQ caters to beginners all the way to advanced learners. And as you get to higher levels you LingQ allows you to add your own customized content.
To be honest however; many language learning beginners might get frustrated with trying to use LingQ at the beginning. But I can’t say for sure, so it would behoove you to give a try.
Tip: When using LingQ, ramping up slowly would be the best way. To learn Spanish or other Romance Languages LingQ has a shorter learning curve.
- Extensive database of content
- Language learning community of learners of all levels
- Lessons come with both audio and text
- The content is separated by level and you can progress over time
- Keeps stats so you can track your progress
- Tries to give a gaming aspect: the more words you have the more experience your language monster has
- Has a app on Android and iPhone
- Your own pace
- Includes kanji and kana
- Might frustrate some language beginners
- Your own pace
- Only available online
- The code is sometimes clunky, glitches from time to time
- The support for languages without spaces ie Chinese and Japanese, is not as great as for other languages
Does not use romaji
Updated 1/28/16: Turns out that LingQ has introduced a new furigana(kana to help read the kanji) feature into their webapp. And not only does it include furigana, but you can also set it to use romaji instead of kana. This can be a major help to someone just starting Japanese.
I do personally recommend LingQ. I also I think you can trust Steve Kaufmann, a language learner that speaks 10 languages, with a method that he personally uses.
Ready to take that next step? Try it out today on LingQ.com.