LingQ-ing for Dummies

Unlike other software, I have really struggled with grasping LingQ.  It has been a source of a lot of frustration for me.  I don’t want to blame LingQ.  It is like hitting your thumb with a hammer and blaming the hammer.  Perhaps I am just not mature enough as a language learner to make best use of a set of tools that give such freedom to do with them what you will.

Would some kind soul consider putting up a youtube video showing us exactly what are the best ways of LingQ-ing, please?

– SanneT, LingQ101 or LingQ-ing for Dummies

Steve posted two videos.

1.  How Steve uses LingQ for French. 

“In order to learn a language, you first have to learn to understand what you hear and what you read.  This requires significant vocabulary.  So the system at LinqQ is geared towards helping you acquire a vocabulary and get use to the language so that after a month, or two, or three, you can start speaking, at first with difficulty, and increasingly more comfortably as you start to use the words and phrases you have learned.” – Steve the Linguist.

In this video, Steve shows how he goes through a lesson converting all the “blue/unknown” words to either “yellow/LingQs” new vocabulary to study or “white/known” words.


2.  How Steve learns Ukrainian at LingQ

In this video, Steve shows real lessons he is creating to learn Ukrainian.  He takes items he finds on the internet and imports them to LingQ.

Steve shows how he finds various items that he wants for lessons by visiting news websites and Twitter.  Then he copies the text and audio from the article and imports to LingQ.  His strategy is to pull in quite a few articles every day, then quickly convert the “blue” words he wants to learn to Lingqs, already known words, or non-words.  Steve skips names and words he isn’t interested in learning at this time.  (Seeing how fast Steve works thru an article was a marvel.)

When Steve has processed the lesson for Lings, then he will sit down with his IPad to read the lesson. This is where he will change the status of the word as it becomes better known to him.  (LingQs have different shades of yellow depending on how well they are known.)

For lessons where he has both audio, Steve will listen and read at the same time.

So essentially, Steve is doing 3 passes over the lesson

  1. Identify Unknown Words.  Work thru the article the first time, processing “blue” words.
  2. Study New Words.  Read the article again, changing the “yellow” words and absorbing their definitions.
  3. Comprehend words in context.  Listen while reading the article a third time.

“When I started, I couldn’t understand what the politicians were saying when I watched TV, and now I just understand so much, sometimes I understand all, everything they are saying.  I started speaking, but of course I still struggle with speaking, but I understand, and that is a wonderful feeling.  I feel that once you understand, you are not far away from being able to speak.” – Steve

Steve also daily listens to 8 podcasts, as part of his language immersion.

I have reset my expectations that LingQ is a place for simple flashcards to quickly work through lessons.  Instead, I am coming to understand I have to be in a place of confusion.  I might have to spend a long time with one lesson, days, weeks.  I can’t breeze thru quickly trying to rack up an impressive list of known vocabulary words.  I can chip away at it slowly.  As a perfectionist, eager to make progress, and a dyslexic who hates being in language confusion, this is a new and difficult concept.


[The rest of the post is just ramblings about me using LingQ.  Don’t read anymore.  You’ve been warned!]


I have found more satisfaction using LingQ lessons I created, although it is time consuming creating the lessons.  This includes getting permission from the folks whose material I would like to include in a lesson.  If I share it with other LingQ members, I want to be sure I have the approval of the creator.  For example, TTMIK let me upload an IYagi talk.  I have written an author of a children’s book I want to create a lesson with, who requires snail mail correspondence and will not respond to email.

If the lessons are kept private, then the audio quality and supplemental materials is not that important, but I want a higher standard for shared lessons.  Getting an audio recording has proved difficult, and each lesson requires an audio before it can be uploaded.  So I have gotten stalled in the mechanics of importing lessons and vocabulary csv files instead of spending my time studying and learning.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I am embarrassed to tell you about the mistakes I have made trying to figure out LingQ.  (hangs head in shame)  But I promised an honest account of my language learning process, so here is the ugly.  This list will probably be of no interest to anyone, just more a kick to the head reminder to myself.

  1. Do not import text with both Korean and English.  The English words will show up as Korean words otherwise.
  2. Remove non-words.  For example, website and email addresses.  Or “ignore” those non-words once you have imported.  Fail to do so, and they will end up on your flashcards.
  3. Don’t import just lists of words.  If you do so, it can’t create the cloze test with sentences.
  4. Don’t put the answer for the word when you create a definition/hint.  If you do so, the answer will show up when you are trying to quiz yourself or do flashcards.
  5. If you do a dictionary look up, you have committed yourself.  You have to now find an answer to what that word means and provide a definition, even if you don’t really know.
  6. Don’t just say you know all the rest of the words in the lesson because you are tired for the day and just want to get it done with.  You want known words and unknown words and learning words to accurately reflect your state of learning.  It is OK to not finish turning all the words from blue to white and keep working on that lesson another day.
  7. Do modify the email settings so that you aren’t overwhelmed with emails from LingQ. Every time you make a comment on a discussion, it assumes you want emails about that FOREVER.  You can choose to unselect “watching thread”.
  8. Every time you follow a person, you are going to get emails about them in the future.  If they are a very active member of LingQ, that could be a LOT of emails.  Choose wisely.
  9. Getting notified every time someone wants an English correction gives you the opportunity to help, is fun, and you might get some points.  However, it can distract you from your own studies.
  10. Don’t expect to get paid in points for every service rendered.  I spent half an hour creating a long audio transcription, and I received no points.
  11. Check if the request has already been fulfilled.  You might still want to do corrections for free, because giving feedback is something you enjoy, but perhaps it is better to just skip that one and spend your time studying.
  12.  Don’t expect just because you ask for writing correction or audio that anyone will actually respond.  Increasing the points might help, but there aren’t enough people on LingQ who speak Korean to fulfill requests quickly.  I also suspect the request system doesn’t post correctly to let people know you have an open request.
  13. Do have all your materials together when you are going to import a lesson.  That includes audio made, url to audio with number of seconds length, text (with English/non-words removed), graphic, translation to English, accompanying notes.   If it takes a long time for you to pull these all together as you are creating the import, LingQ might very well choke on you and all your work gets lost.
  14. Do remember to NAME the lesson.
  15. Do remember to save the lesson, then change the status to “shared” and then promote the lesson on the forums.
  16. Don’t expect that the formatting of the imported lesson will be kept.



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