How to use LingQ? Is a listening (and understanding) only approach possible with LingQ?

s7ivan hu Hungary


I am totally new to Lingq, I just wondering how to use it.

If i undertood it right, Lingq uses a reading based approach, i need to read (and listen) a lot

and create flash cards (lingqs), which also requires reading skills.

Well i think, the natural way is only listening (and understanding) in the first step.

Reading comes much much later.

I want to focus only on listening (and later on speaking, and evetually much later on reading) first.

My main goal is to understand casual conversations.

Is such an approach possible with lingq?

May 2019
  • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

    If you feel that listening only in the beginning is a good approach and it works for you, then go for it. I am not sure I agree with you but then again I have some ways of doing things that others would find mental each to his/her own. Lingq has a huge library of content (depending on language), that you can download. and listen to when ever you want

    I don't see any reason why listening only would be out of the question, lingq does encourage people to read a lot and I think the greatest virtue of lingq is that it facilitates reading. But I think that most lingqers and Steve agree that part of being an independent language learner is to know yourself and what works for you.

    May 2019
    • s7ivan hu Hungary

      Well, I'm also not sure whether it is a good idea, but as reading seems to be a way too difficult for me (e.g. chinese), so i have a feeling, it might be an option. So i'm also interested, if anybody has some experience with it.

      May 2019
      • ftornay es Spain

        The idea is that reading actually helps you because it's easier and gives you a clearer idea of the vocabulary and phoneme inventory in the language. My advice would be for you to read pinyin. Or even better, I'd:

        - Begin reading texts in characters with the pinyin on top. Lingq has the option of adding them automatically.

        - Concentrate on reading the piniyin while you listen for a couple times. Then just listen to the lesson several times (use a playlist as explained by bison3)

        - Now and then have a look at the characters and get familiar with the most usual ones

        - When you feel like it, learn to write a few common characters, using the stroke order, learn a bit about radicals, ...

        That way, you'll learn to understand way faster (because your leveraging your present reading skill in the Latin alphabet), you'll get used to pinyin (which will help you make sense of Mandarin pronunciation) and you'll be able to understand some characters, which will come in handy (e.g. for reading information signs, recognizing some proper names, etc.), even if you never actually become fluent reading them.

        May 2019
        • s7ivan hu Hungary

          Thank you!

          Very useful hints. Although you don't even speak chinese ?!

          Unfortunately my android app seems to display pinyin not always. Is it a bug?

          (I might skip such lessons.)

          May 2019
          • ftornay es Spain

            I dabbled in Chinese for a few months before I travelled to China, where. I spent one further month. I learned enough to survive in the country (I think I reached about A2-ish level) and I've forgotten most of it. My suggestions are also based on my experience learning other languages with different scripts.

            Because I haven't studied Chinese with any consistency on Lingq, I'm not sure how reliable the Pinyin feature really is. Maybe someone can comment on this?

            I wish you success in your learning

            May 2019
  • bison3 us United States

    If you choose a particular lesson and open it. you'll see a musical note icon in the upper right hand corner. Clicking on that puts it in your "Playlist" You can add all the individual lessons in that group one at a time to your playlist. Then if you click on the first one you entered it will play the audio without showing the text. You can select up to 100 tracks and they will play continuously. I think there's even a repeat function.

    May 2019
  • t_harangi us United States

    Though a "listening only" approach can work, it's nowhere near as effective as a gradual reading and listening method will be. There are courses out there that focus on a "listening only" methodology such as Primsleur. I've tried it and found it a lot slower, and less impactful as compared to something like Assimil, or LingQ which offer reading and listening components.

    Reading allows you to understand listening a lot faster, which means you can listen to (and read) more complex things a lot sooner.

    Also, in my opinion, there is some confusion out there on what constitutes a "casual conversation" vs. a "basic conversation."

    A "basic conversation" is greetings, weather, dining, personal background -- yes, you may be able to (slowly) learn those from listening only. On the other hand an actual "casual conversation" may include discussing the plot details of an Avengers movie, or talking about politics and current events. And to understand and participate in those, you'll need to read a fair amount of various source material -- news, books, etc.

    May 2019
    • evgueny40 ru Russian Federation

      Yes, the difference between a 'basic conversation' and 'a casual conversation' is very big! Without reading you will stay for ever on the vasic level.

      Moreover, listening and reading at the same time can speed your success greatly!

      But in any case you have to be patient, very patient if you would like really to obtain a new language.

      May 2019
  • Combiendemarins be Belgium

    I don't see the point of using lingq if listening is your main or only way to learn.

    I agree. Listening is the natural way.

    May 2019
    • s7ivan hu Hungary

      Well, the point is, Lingq is the only source i know with a lot of authentic audio materials (including translations) with different levels.

      May 2019
      • Combiendemarins be Belgium has tv shows, series and movies in mandarin, korean, japanese, maybe cantonese and subtitles in many languages - all for free with a lot of ads or for a fee.

        You could also try youtube, cctv and many courses.

        May 2019
  • JoWe de Germany

    I am using lingq just for some weeks and I am much more listening than reading.

    What I really appreciate is, that I can listen in an endles loop, so I am listening even while I fall asleep sometimes ...

    and I with the playlist I can decide, how much I want to listen and when lingq shall repeat the stuff

    so for me lingq works really well also in listening!

    PS: Have a look at a video from Jeff Brown,

    he does not rely on reading at all - akquiring arabic without knowing any signs

    May 2019
    • t_harangi us United States

      It's an interesting video. He doesn't rely on reading, but it seems he does really heavily on speaking with language partners in a structured way, which is different from learning from "listening only." Really, what he's advocating for here, is a tutoring exchange with very specific exercises -- almost like having a professional language tutor.

      Technically, everything he's saying is correct, and the method he outlines is solid. But for me, I'd much rather read regular books on my own than going over a children's book with a language partner.

      May 2019
      • marcossfernandes br Brazil

        In my opinion listening only without someone to talk to is not the best way to learn a language

        May 2019
    • s7ivan hu Hungary

      Thank you for sharing it!

      Its an awesome video very inspiring.

      May 2019
  • Diotallevi de Germany

    Hi and welcome :-)

    How do you expect to understand when you rely completely on listening? You will need some stepping stones. Listening only is not natural, I think. A toddler can make use of the spoken language and a context, the combination of both creates comprehensible input.

    A grown-up language learner can replace the physical world the baby's context is made of with written words in his/her mother tongue.

    May 2019
    • s7ivan hu Hungary


      Look at the video of Jeff Brown suggested by @JoWe.

      It is possibly possible, but i'm not sure it is the most effective way.

      May 2019
      • marcossfernandes br Brazil

        It is not possible just by listening on your own. He has to have someone to talk to, as he did in the video.

        May 2019
  • Administrator
    ericrobertz ca Canada

    " My main goal is to understand casual conversations. Is such an approach possible with lingq"

    Yes. :) But you have to read and listen A LOT. Listening is great but if you listen to lessons that are too difficult, well, you won't go very far. Reading helps A LOT because you are actively learning new vocabulary. Afterwards, if you listen to the lesson that you've just read, listening becomes a lot more meaningful.

    May 2019
  • ricardopietrobon us United States

    Everybody is different, and there are certainly programs that start with conversation. Although I have used that method with one of my languages, Steve Kaufmann converted me to a different method, and I am sticking to it for now. Here is what I do:

    1. Up to intermediate 1: I have a couple of 1:1 lessons with a tutor just to learn the overall pronunciation pattern for the language, but primarily focus on getting vocabulary by reading books with lingq until I get to, say, intermediate 1 . Times to get there will vary, but it is honestly not much if you commit to it every day

    2. From intermediate 1 to intermediate 2: I listen to audiobooks, starting with lists of expressions, graded books, and listening to the same book in two languages (a language you master and the one you are trying to learn). Note that I keep reading using lingq here, and at this point I can read fiction, which I do for pleasure rather than for the sake of learning a language.

    3. From intermediate 2 on: I start speaking and writing (usually corrected by the same mentor who is pointing to my speaking mistakes). Again, I keep reading and listening every single day -- this is not difficult at all since, again, I am only reading stuff that is of interest to me.

    Now, there are several reasons why I like to keep speaking only to phase III:

    1. It seems like magic: no kidding, you start saying words that you didn't even know you had in you. I think Steve calls it "activating" the passive language you had absorbed in previous phases. I have done this a couple of times, and after very few lessons I start talking about all kinds of topics. Have you ever seen those movies where somebody had an amnesia and they suddenly realize that they can speak another language? It's honestly kind of like that Jason Bourne thing. Now, in the first few lessons you will be pretty slow, but speed will pick up soon once you activate some key verbs, expressions, connectors, etc.

    2. It is incredibly fast: specially if you go through phases 1 and 2 fast (read every single day, listen to books every single day), you will get to the speaking stage in no time

    3. You don't feel like struggling: when I tried the speak first method, I always felt bad because I couldn't say what I wanted and had to be restricted to the "the book is on the table" kind of sentence -- hmm, if you didn't have English as a second language in traditional schools this "book on the table" thing might not make much sense hahaha, but think about something meaningless and silly, only meant to get you to say whatever in another language. In contrast, with the method above you can be describing books, telling jokes, and expressing your opinions in a fairly short amount of time.

    Now, I've used this methods for two languages already, and now that I am about to use it for a third I simply can't wait to have that feeling of having the language literally being "summoned" from somewhere in my brain, with words coming out of my mouth that I didn't know I knew. Seriously, it's an addictive experience.

    May 2019