LingQ (pronounced like ‘link’) is excellent for language learners who want to pick up vocabulary through reading and listening to audiobooks, stories, podcasts, etc. Given that it’s such a huge, popular resource, there’s a lot to say about it – some of it good, some bad. In this LingQ review, you’ll get a taste of it all.
In this LingQ review, learn if LingQ is the language app for you, or if it’s just not worth it.
LingQ review: languages
One thing that’s excellent about LingQ is that you can create your own content (more on that later) in the following languages:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
LingQ review: your dashboard
LingQ’s dashboard has been modernized in recent years, in an effort to be a more “bingeable” way to learn languages.
There’s a lot of information to take in, and I wish there were some sort of tutorial or something first because if I hadn’t been using this platform for years, I would have no idea where to start!
LingQ has a history of being…not very user-friendly, and that hasn’t changed. There’s a lot to take in here.
- every video shows you how many words you know and how many you don’t*
- you can see the percentage of words you don’t know*
- while each cover photo is in your target language, it’ll automatically translate as soon as you roll over it
- you can scroll through different categories of audio lessons, including Steve Kaufmann (co-creator of LingQ)’s podcast
- you can search for specific content based on level or keywords
*neither of these stats is accurate if you don’t use LingQ religiously
Of course, like any other Netflix-esque platform, the more you use it, the better it can recommend you content that you’ll actually use.
So let’s move onto what it’s like to actually learn a language with LingQ.
LingQ review: basic lesson
Click to any video that you can see on your dashboard to get started with a LingQ lesson.
Once you press play, you’ll hear an audio recording in your target language, and it’s your responsibility to follow along with the written words.
Don’t get distracted or lost, though, because there’s literally no way to find your way back if you do. There’s on highlight to follow along with…the audio doesn’t even automatically turn the page, so you can be at the end of the audio but still on the first page, and you wouldn’t even know.
Plus, collecting new vocab words (i.e. LingQs)? What a pain. Not only does the audio not automatically stop to give you a second to learn the new word, but it gives you a robot voice for that word instead of just rewinding the audio a little bit.
I hate it. Maybe I’m spoiled by Language Reactor which makes it genuinely easy to learn new vocabulary by watching foreign language movies and TV. But just in that clip alone, I was stumbling so hard to pause the audio and catch up wit the word I just collected, I completely lost track of everything.
The idea is to make language learning easier, not more difficult.
LingQ review: words and lesson history
To find the LingQs (vocab words) you’ve collected within these lessons, click over to Vocabulary.
Again, LingQ’s usability is…wanting. While you do get to see how (theoretically) well you know any particular term, it’s hard to see what you’re supposed to do here. Again: mild inconvenience for some, completely handicapping for others.
The actual system of learning these LingQs definitely has potential, but it could also use some real help.
Fortunately, if you like finding your vocab using this method but have your own flashcard deck elsewhere, you can export all of your vocabulary to a CSV file, and upload that to any resource that’ll accept it.
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.
Importing content to LingQ
LingQ has a plethora of practice options – tutors, forums, challenges, etc. – but I don’t want to spend time on those because they’re not really worth your time. There are plenty of other language learning resources that already do these things much better than LingQ could.
The important feature to know about LingQ is the ability to import content to use with LingQ’s technology
Anybody with an account can upload whatever content they like to the platform, and LingQ will stick it right into your feed. Either click the import button right from your dashboard or download the Chrome extension to import from anywhere on the internet.
You have three options: lesson, ebook, and vocab.
And, honestly, it’s pretty cool if you’re looking for a place to host your content all in one place, plus keep track of the vocabulary you’re learning in a centralized platform.
LingQ review: price
You can access any content at any time for free!
However, if you want to use LingQ as your primary language learning platform, you’ll definitely need to pay for premium due to the unlimited LingQs and unlimited imports.
You’ll also get access to all the other perks that I haven’t really mentioned in this LingQ review since other resources do those things much better, but if you decide to pay for premium, it might be worth taking advantage of them.
LingQ review: the bottom line
At the end of this LingQ review, it can be a great resource for you if the lack of usability doesn’t get in the way for you. If it’s as handicapping for you as it is for me, though, there are plenty of alternatives.
Readlang is my favorite for finding words and articles on the internet.
Lingvist is excellent for creating themed vocab lists, or lists from books you’re reading.
Language Reactor is best for new vocab in YouTube and Netflix media.
But if the cons mentioned in this LingQ review don’t dissuade you, LingQ is a solid option for finding new foreign language vocab through a variety of content available online!