Lingvist is a beautiful, modern way to learn vocab, both with their curated lists and a great opportunity for you to create meaningful vocab lists for yourself with the tap of a button. In this Lingvist review, you’ll learn all you need to know about this way to learn foreign language vocab.
In particular, this Lingvist review will touch on what kind of language learners can benefit from it, who won’t, and Lingvist alternatives that may be better if you’re of the latter category.
For native and higher-level English speakers, you can use Lingvist to learn:
- English (American)
- English (British)
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
- Spanish (Castilian)
- Spanish (Latin American)
However, Lingvist does teach English from a variety of other languages – in fact, you can learn English from just as many, if not more, languages than the other way around! Simply visit Lingvist’s website to see your options.
Lingvist review: getting started
As you create an account and get funneled into the Lingvist process, you go through an assessment to see where your vocab and reading comprehension is. It’ll start out at the very very beginning, and it’ll go about as far as you can!
To get you started in the Lingvist mindset, this initial assessment is 50 flashcards long. It might take a minute, but be patient and help Lingvist get a good idea of where your foreign language skills are at.
Get an answer wrong? Lingvist will correct you and have you try again – even if the only thing you got wrong was missing an accent. This may seem like a small detail, but it’s an important one – many language learners underestimate the importance of accents.
Without making any decisions on the content you’re learning (you can, and I’ll get to that in a sec), Lingvist puts you through a 50-card set of flashcards every day. Apparently, 4 days of this and you’ll “really start feeling the difference!”.
What else does Lingvist have to offer besides their automatically generated selection of flashcards? Let’s walk through Lingvist decks, Challenges, Insights, and Grammar.
Lingvist review: decks
Basically, Lingvist decks are collections of vocab words organized into themes. You can use the ones that Lingvist generated, or you can generate them yourself.
These flashcards follow the same rules as the others: Lingvist will start you out basic and easy, and continue to push your knowledge of the language until it can get a gist of your level.
When you go to create a course, you have several options:
- Type in a couple of words and let Lingvist expand for you
- Upload an image with words on it
- Copy & paste text from somewhere else
Lingvist has their own walkthrough for you to see these options at work.
Note: the following 2 videos are from a previous version of Lingvist (hence the different look), but I left them in as more examples of this unique feature.
When you select this option, all you have to do is throw a couple of related words in there, and the app will automatically (like, within seconds) spit out a whole list of related words for you to add to your arsenal. Excellent feature for those who need specific jargon!
And, like Lingvist’s own curated decks, you’ll automatically get sentences to provide some context.
Don’t like those particular sentences? You also get the option to choose from a variety of other sentences that uses that same word in different contexts.
Or, if you already have your own context or something like a book or magazine that you want to study, Lingvist has a similar feature for pulling out the vocabulary words in any given text and creating a deck straight from that.
And yes, if the app already knows you know any of the words, it’ll put those terms to the side.
Honestly, this feature in itself is worth the price. No other language learning resource on the market does anything like it!
In my professional opinion, don’t sleep on this feature if it’s something you’re likely to use.
All three of these options are meant to improve your vocabulary, and they all do so through sentences to A) not get boring and B) be much more efficient.
So, if you’re looking to work your vocabulary muscle, Lingvist gets an A+!
Lingvist review: Challenges
The second tap of the Lingvist app is labeled Challenges. You can either pick one from the whole list of Lingvist challenges, or you can filter by Conversations, Grammar, Listen, or Read.
These challenges are all very quick, very easy activities that you can use to practice speaking, grammar, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension, respectively. They’re also all labeled by level, so if you’re at a more advanced level, just scroll down.
While the platform is undoubtedly gorgeous, you can see the challenges can be a little glitchy. As a user of Lingvist for German (which isn’t yet advanced enough to use these challenges), I don’t personally use this section of the app, so don’t let this feature make the decision for you.
The Conversations challenges feature an honestly really beautiful chatbot to help get you used to the flow of a conversation. Just follow along with the pre-made script, practice some pronunciation, and get yourself in the mindset of someone fluently speaking the language.
Suffice it to say, the challenges are a cool bonus, but definitely not the star of Lingvist’s show.
P.S. The actual fun facts at the end of these challenges are pretty good! You’ll come across more obscure language facts, rather than something simple, like “in Spain, people greet each other by saying ‘buenas’!”.
Another handy tool for consuming mass amounts of vocab: Lingvist’s insights. Under this section of the Lingvist app, you can not only see your 5 last seen vocab words, 5 most practiced vocab words, and your entire word list complete with:
- native audio
- contextual sentence
- how long it’s been since you last saw it
- and how often you’ve practiced it
…but also fun numbers like your success rate, how much time you’ve spent, and more.
These statistics are language-specific, so you’ll have to switch to studying a different language if you want the statistics for another one.
I’m normally not a fan of in-app statistics, but I love this. This view is on par with Anki’s statistics; they’re much more aesthetically pleasing than Anki’s stats, but a little less detailed.
Lingvist review: Grammar
While Lingvist does have grammar explanations and examples from beginner to advanced – which is a good sign that there is plenty of room for growth in your language – these sections don’t connect to any practice.
Lingvist does flashcards really well, so I’m disappointed that this grammar section doesn’t have flashcards (or at least some sort of fill-in-the-blank practice) connected to it. I would love to see these lessons paired with the beautiful, contextual sentences that Lingvist does so well.
What I would love is to be able to go into the grammar section, review a concept, and have the opportunity to actively practice that concept, either on the same page or through a simple link.
Unfortunately, this section looks like something that was just copied and pasted from a textbook or something. There’s no opportunity to truly use this information.
Lingvist is a paid app, and in my opinion, it is 100% worth the price! This is a wildly high-quality and effective method for learning foreign language vocabulary, as well as some comprehension and speaking practice on the side.
You can view Lingvist’s current pricing here, but it’s generally around the $10/month range (less if you pay annually).
Whichever subscription type you choose, you can also start out with a free trial, during which Lingvist will show you how it matches up with your level based on your initial 50-term deck.
Plus, all subscribers get access to all languages at the same time and are able to switch languages as they please.
And remember: you’re not just limited to the vocab they’ve put together, you can also (instantly & easily) create your own vocab lists that are relevant to whatever it is that you’re working on.
Who should use the Lingvist app?
Lingvist is genuinely beneficial to language learners of all levels, from total beginner to advanced, who want to improve their vocabulary with a beautiful, effective resource. Personally, I am a huge fan and hope that Lingvist expands to more languages for English speakers in the future.
I’m honestly hard-pressed to think of language learners who wouldn’t benefit: those who don’t want to grow their vocabulary, obviously, and maybe those who need excessive levels of gamification. While the Lingvist app is absolutely gorgeous, it’s definitely more modern and “grown-up” than many other vocab apps.
If you’re looking for that heavy gamification, you may be better off with something like Quizlet, though it doesn’t have the handy “create a course” features, advanced vocab, or comparable high-quality context built-in.
For what it does, I feel safe saying that Lingvist can’t be beat!