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LingQ (pronounced like ‘link’) is a language learning resource that I’ve used off-and-on for years, so coming up with this LingQ review is easy-peasy! It’s a very reasonably-priced, wide-ranged resource that has something for almost every language learner out there.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this LingQ review, let’s take a stroll through LingQ, its pros and cons, and whether or not you should give it a shot yourself!
Like I said, LingQ is incredibly wide-ranged, and that’s for a couple of reasons. The first reason is the amount of languages offered. At the time of this post, LingQ hosts the following languages:
One of the cooler parts of LingQ is that so much of its content is user-generated (kind of like Memrise, which allows you to create your own flashcard decks; with LingQ, however, you’re not “creating” the content yourself, but uploading content from somewhere else).
Because of this perk, LingQ’s language library has practically infinite opportunities for growth, which is awesome! LingQ does have some quality control, fortunately, so you don’t just get a bunch of languages with one or two content pieces, and that’s it.
I’m a pretty big fan of the fact that LingQ’s content isn’t 100% dependent on LingQ itself; language learners can get really frustrated and disappointed with a resource that doesn’t regularly update and grow.
A LingQ lesson
Once you set up an account, you land on LingqQs dashboard. This dashboard can be…overwhelming.
It’s not fun, lightweight, or colorful like you get with Duolingo or Mondly, which isn’t necessarily a make-or-break kind of thing, but it can prove to be a significant obstacle for you if you’re easily overstimulated. You’re not really provided a direction or anything, just a feed of content that you can work with.
In that screenshot, I’ve clicked the button to choose your level of experience in the language. Obviously I’ve chosen Spanish, and the levels are basically separated into the official A1-C2 levels, which is awesome! Definitely much more helpful for language learners than a vague beginner/intermediate/advanced.
There’s another super helpful stat visible, too: the percentage of words that are new to you is listed and color-coded – green for easy, yellow for moderate, red for hard. If you’ve never used LingQ it’ll show as 100% new words, but that number will automatically change as you make your way through the content.
As you can tell, I’ve used LingQ plenty before, so those percentages aren’t entirely inaccurate.
Yeah, ALL of the text is in Spanish, which is an awesome way to push your brain and force you to think in the language. Kudos, LingQ!
Whichever piece of content you choose, you’ll get audio as well as the text to read along. In this way, LingQ works your reading and listening skills together. Y’all know I love efficient language learning!
The highlighted words are words that I haven’t seen before, or at least haven’t seen on LingQ. As I make my way through the text, if I don’t do anything, it’ll assume that I either already know those words or have figured them out from context, meaning those words won’t appear as highlighted in any other texts.
If I don’t recognize any of these words, or I’m not sure, all I have to do is click it.
Clicking the word ‘entornos’ gave me a few suggested translations, in order of how many other users have chosen that translation. This’ll create a slightly personalized flash card for you.
Also, see that grey box around ‘en una variedad de entornos y en deferentes etapas’? LingQ also understands that seemingly random phrases can translate into colloquial terms, so you also have the option to select the phrase and see if that’s a thing, as well.
So what happens when you make a flashcard?
Pretty detailed, huh?
Then, once you’re done with that particular lesson, you’ll get some handy stats!
While these stats are super handy knowledge for you to have, LingQ also takes them a step further. Let’s follow those steps, starting with the words you know.
LingQ review: words and lesson history
On your dashboard, you get a few tabs above all your potential lessons: Library (the tab that will be open when you go to your dashboard), My Lessons, Vocabulary, and Playlist.
Clicking on My Lessons, you’ll basically get a history of the content you’ve gone through. Considering how the list of lessons you get on your dashboard is just kind of…there, without any obvious organization, this is a handy tool for you to go back through past lessons if you’d like.
Next you’ll get to Vocabulary, which is pretty beneficial, I won’t lie.
Here you’ll find all those flashcards you made in your lessons! Clearly I haven’t used LingQ for this (I much prefer Anki, and probably input these words into an Anki deck to have more control over them), because nobody wants to go through 384 terms and organize them by how easy or difficult they are. Yikes!
However, if using LingQ’s system is convenient for you (and you use it from the start), this seems to be a much more efficient method of learning vocab than a lot of resources out there. You don’t have to go elsewhere for the content or the vocab list – it’s all right there!
The last tab, Playlist, holds your place if you’re in the middle of a book or series. This is definitely handy for when you click something in your Library feed and it’s in the middle of a playlist or book (which happens a lot).
LingQ for accountability
In a couple of screenshots above (namely the dashboard and the screen at the end of lessons), there are a couple other stats that are awesome for keeping language learners accountable, and those are based on LingQs.
Wait, but what exactly are LingQs?
It’s pretty simple actually: LingQs are the new words that you learn! LingQ keeps track of how many of them you learn a day, which is super helpful if you’re a language learner who’s interesting in upping your vocabulary.
LingQ sets daily goals for you to hit. With the content telling you what percentage of words/phrases are new for you, it’s really easy for you to seamlessly consume lots of new vocab the best way you can: naturally.
But wait, there’s more! LingQ also offers challenges that can help you create a bulletproof daily routine.
Not bad, LingQ!
LingQ for speaking and writing
So thus far, LingQ is killing it when it comes to the language skills of reading and listening. But what about speaking and writing?
Well, it’s not where LingQ really shines, but you do have your options! Let’s start with speaking.
If you go up to the blue bar at the top of your screen, you can click Tutors. Here you’ll find language tutors available for you to get some speaking practice in.
This part of the LingQ platform definitely does feel similar to Verbling or italki, just less functional. Which does make sense, obviously, considering speaking lessons is what they’re meant to do, while for LingQ it’s more of a secondary option.
There are fewer tutors on LingQ, and you don’t have as much opportunity to search (narrowing down gender, specialty, etc.), nor do the LingQ tutors seem to have the resumes you’ll find on Verbling or italki. Plus, you can only opt for hour-long lessons, which can be a lot for new speakers. Usually, the norm is about 30 minutes.
On top of that, LingQ uses Skype for their sessions, as opposed to their own native platform, which can be a major obstacle if language learners can’t get Skype to work or any number of technical difficulties.
The prices aren’t much different either (unless you purchase a Premium Plus plan, which I’ll get to). So, basically, you might want to go elsewhere to speaking practice, I think.
These tutors do more than speaking practice, though! You see that “writing correction” pay rate?
You can opt to have one of the tutors correct something that you write, or you can head to the Writing Exchange section.
This section is like Lang-8 (which has not been open to new accounts for years now), but, again, a lot less convenient.
There’s no way to organize which language you’re looking at, for example. There are three different languages in that screenshot alone! That’s pretty bad when it comes to usability.
However, as you can see from the dates on those texts, this is a fairly active part of the site, so who knows? Submit a written text and maybe you’ll get a correction!
I already talked about how the amount of content available on LingQ isn’t just up to LingQ itself, but also you and me. Anybody with an account can upload their own stuff to the platform, and LingQ will stick it right into your feed.
You have three options: lesson, ebook, and vocab.
And, honestly, it’s pretty cool if you’re looking for a place to host your lessons!
Same thing with ebooks, if you’ve got ’em. It’s very close to what Lingvist does, though Lingvist is better with physical books, while LingQ does it with digital books.
I do have to say, though, that I wish there were an obvious section where you could go and find your imports. I imported a couple vocab words, just to try it out, and all it said was along the lines of “cool, thanks, got it!”. I totally expected it to send me directly to those words!
When I did go to my Vocabulary tab, I found the words…but no translations. I guess I’m disappointed because Lingvist automatically translates those words for you, while LingQ makes you do it manually. Meh.
LingQ review: prices
LingQ’s pricing structure is…confusing. Again with the overwhelm!
You do get quite a bit of content for free, which is cool. Basically, you get access to all the lessons both on desktop and mobile, as well as limited LingQs and lesson imports. You gotta pay to get real control of any lessons you want to upload as well as unlimited LingQs.
Last time I was active on there, I believe the paid plan was $10/month. Now there are a TON of options. Like, a lot.
First off, you have the Premium plans.
Specifically, these Premium plans will buy you
- Unlimited vocab LingQs
- Unlimited imported lessons
- Vocab import/export
- Offline access on mobile
- Print lessons
- Edit lessons
- Additional activities
- Enhanced states
Then there’s Premium Plus.
Those prices (which are a lot) include all the Premium plan stuff, plus 3,000 LingQ points for tutoring, writing correction, and premium lessons.
As you can see, the Premium Plus plans are more than double the price! Is it worth it? Ehhh…if you already have a speaking tutor that you like on another platform, I would highly recommend doing that. LingQ tutors don’t appear to have nearly the qualifications.
I personally wouldn’t think it’s worth it, but don’t let this LingQ review dissuade you if this sounds great to you!
LingQ review: the bottom line
At the end of the day, how do I feel about this LingQ review? Well, like I said, I’ve used it in the past, and I’m very likely to use it again. They’ve added a lot of functionality since I’ve used it last (the speaking and writing, for example), but are those parts of it great? Eh, I’m not blown away.
So who’s LingQ best for? LingQ is best for language learners who want to take in vocab naturally without having to pay for a bunch of books, or search for a bunch of YouTube videos. The primary function of LingQ is done really well, though it might not be the prettiest thing.
The actual reading and listening part of LingQ is an awesome tool for language learners – consider this a recommendation!
Plus, if you want to sweeten the deal, click my link to get 100 extra free LingQs!