So many great replies!
After almost 5 years of trying almost every other form of language media (and getting to the B1 level thereby), I finally started using LingQ seriously and daily about 6-7 months ago. I have to say using LingQ seems to be the best method of study I have found; I feel that I have advanced more and faster since studying here daily.
Studying every day for at least an hour is, I think, vital. Podcasts, stories, books, music, grammar lessons, frequent vocabulary review; in short, importing whatever content appeals to you.
If you haven't utilized the writing exchange on LingQ, I highly recommend it! I don't have much time to write in French currently, but I have gotten some fabulous feedback from doing that. Good luck!
Thank you for your story!
That's a good point, before LingQ I have also tried a few things that I gave up in most cases after a week more or less. For me, a key factor is to not have the feeling that what I do is just for the sake of learning, but rather what I'd do anyway. Like most people, I eat XD So I started to buy cookbooks and watch instruction videos in Italian. I also like listenening to podcasts about various topics, so I do that in Italian now, and I bought some books in simple language.
That way, it might be even 2-3 hours on certain days, but I hardly have a feeling that I "learned" a lot that day but I can see the progress.
Hey :) I'm getting bored with repetitive things quicky, so I'm trying to constantly find new ways to keep me busy and interested (in my case with Italian). Two weeks ago I changed a bit a software that I'm familiar with to Italian interface, also I've set YouTube settings to Italian, some days ago I started to write diary entries in Italian. If possible, I also change websites language to Italian and see if I get along. I just need new ways and new input all the time to keep myself motivated.
In my case it's not so much about having entirely new things all the time, but rather switch what I'm doing every few days (lessons, podcasts, cooking videos, reading books, writing diary, [...], and back to lessons. That really keeps me motivated.
I had some knowledge from school, but that's 25 years in the past and I forgot almost everything. After about 5 months on LingQ, I'm reading B2 with some efford but overall I'm at B1. Speaking is even a little bit behind, but I'm working on that too. I'm really happy with the progress and I would considera solid B2 my primary aim, that's where the word "fluent" appears even by definition.
My best motivator however is: passion! I love learning Italian :)
Hey! I have also found that I can keep motivation if only I can switch between different type of activities and content, so youre not alone. I would recommend to speak with yourself and record it (important : don't try to fix errors or speak without them). I've found language partners for speaking practice on Italki, Hellotalk and Conversation Exchange — you can also try these resources 🙏
Thanks for the hint. Actually I am talking to myself a bit (not recording though), I try not to do it too loud on the street (while shopping or walking from A to B, planning my day in my head and so on...). Also I have some colleagues from Italy (actually quite a few) but I need a little more confidence to speak to them in Italian because most conversations are academic/scientific by nature and I really lack skills for that :)
You're welcome! Maybe for beginning it would be better to find someone to speak on simple topics, like weather or your hobbies. I'm intermediate in English and I suppose I still won't manage to discuss academic topics for example :)
LOL, thnx 😊
Well, "habits eat motivation and pep talks for breakfast" (to rephrase a famous saying by Peter Drucker).
But when it's about "motivation", Rocky should be enough:
So, CU tomorrow at 5 am when it's f...ing cold outside. And that's already 30 min later than Jocko Willink...
BTW, for me: no Rocky, just Japanese at 5 am :-)
Well, thats highly motivating! Rocky is strikingly determined guy. Man, I have to imitate his stamina. Here's 01:24 here, the best time for that kind of stuff lol. Thank you.
Doing that Rocky stuff at 1:24 a.m. would kill me rather sooner than later ;-)
That's the time for night owls or "extreme" types à la David Goggins or the Iron Cowboy.
However, doing things (running, working out, learning languages, etc.) in the morning is really a great way to start your day ... and it doesn't have to be 5 am.
Be that as it may:
When it comes to the acquisition of practical skills (second language acquisition is just one of them), relying on habits / routines rather than fleeting operations of the mind (motivation, feelings of joy / fun, willpower, etc.) is the "superior" strategy because it creates a kind of addiction that makes you independent of mental volatility.
In other words, habits will carry the learners on, even if they aren't motivated, if they're down, have no will power, etc.
B.J. Fogg's "Tiny Habits" is probably the best approach for learning this: https://tinyhabits.com/book/
It works wonders... but, of course: good habits can make you and bad habits can break you. In the end, we're all creatures of habit :-)
Have a nice weekend,
Thank you, I'm already looking for that book 👏 I agree about the importance of the regular practise no matter do I have mood for that or no. I also have noticed that it's more difficult to keep myself motivated without a teacher. I think maybe if I can organize for myself proper routine it will be easier to study independently, don't know yet. Do you learn languages on your own or you have a teacher?
"Do you learn languages on your own or you have a teacher?" (rumblebumble)
I've worked as a language teacher for more than 10 years, but nowadays I work as a business process analyst in IT.
So foreign languages are just a hobby for me, but I don't have a teacher. And I don't need one because I've learned enough about second language acquisition (SLA) that I can learn any natural language without external help.
I only need native speakers to get some oral or written feedback at higher language levels (B2 and higher)...
"if I can organize for myself proper routine it will be easier to study independently"
Definitely. As soon as you've established a proper SLA routine that works for you everything becomes easy... it's like a positive addiction!
Don' t know why I can't reply on your last message, maybe Lingq has a bug. I'll read a book which you recommended me and I will be glad to get more useful advice from you in the future :) It also would be great to know more about your learning experience and routine. Do you have a blog or sth like that?
"Don' t know why I can't reply on your last message, maybe Lingq has a bug." (rumblebumble)
Well, some might say it's a bug of LingQ's forum software, others might say it's a "feature" :-)
Anyway, the forum software allows a little nesting - and after that it becomes cluttered.
Unfortunately, it's really difficult to follow longer (but sometimes highly interesting) discussions on the LingQ forum(s).
"It also would be great to know more about your learning experience and routine. Do you have a blog or sth like that?"
I'm in the middle of finishing an e-book about "ultra-reading while listening (based on audio reader software such as LingQ" (for some ideas, see:
But, unfortunately, I'm not able to work on it right now because I've got to get various certifications for business process management, process mining, and software robots (robotic process automation = RPA) first.
In addition, we had a death in our family before Christmas so that my sister and I have to wind down a business... and that's really complicated because there is staff involved.
I'm also going to write on Medium, our company and my own private blog about organization theory (social complexity research, network analysis, etc.), new work (team / business agility, holocracy, etc.), and business process automation (process mining / RPA) where I have specialized in.
And in this context, I wanted to write a little bit about individual / organizational learning (which includes second language acquisition for professionals) and artificial intelligence as well.
However, the certifications (from Coursera and Udacity) I mentioned are of primary importance at the moment because I need them for my next business-related projects.
It would be nice to be able to focus more or exclusively on language learning, esp. related to Machine Learning / Natural Language Processing. Alas, it's not possible :-(
From what I’ve understood, you ‘re busy with various projects, which sounds really inspiring! Thank you for the link you’ve shared. Btw the second link on your list is private, maybe you have to consider to delete it. I’m interested in ultrareading-while-listening approach but from what I’ve understood, this strategy only increases reading speed. So, in case I already read quickly, it won’t make for me a lot of good, am I right?
It would be great to read your book, write me in for the first copy. I’m also sorry for your loss.
"Btw the second link on your list is private, maybe you have to consider to delete it."
Nothing I have on my personal LingQ home page is "really private". Sometimes, the private posts are just reminders to myself and lists of things I want to read in various languages - and that's probably not interesting for other people with other language interests.
"I’m interested in ultrareading-while-listening approach but from what I’ve understood, this strategy only increases reading speed."
I'd say it has four advantages:
1) increase of our reading speed
2) increase of our number of words to be acquired (the size of the vocabulary)
3) align what you're hearing with what you're reading (which is important in languages such as French or Portuguese where the written form is quite different from the spoken one)
4) improvement of our focused attention
"So, in case I already have read quickly it won’t make for me a lot of good, am I right?"
If your reading and listening comprehension is already excellent then it's not the right approach for you. In this case, applying what you already know in speaking and writing activities, for example, is probably the better strategy.
"It would be great to read your book, write me in for the first copy. I’m also sorry for your loss."
I'd like to write about a comprehensive language learning framework (beyond the ultrareading-while-listening approach) in this e-book, but I'm really not sure if I'm able to finish it in 2023.
My life has become so "unpredictable" in recent months (this is also because my company seems to think that I should travel a lot more in Germany, Austria and Switzerland - maybe it was a mistake to say that I' like to travel more in Europe and the US -> bye, bye home office :-) ) that it's increasingly hard to plan.
But ok, I won't die from being bored to death :-)
"’m also sorry for your loss."
I was mentally prepared and expected it.
However, it was still a "shock"...
The simple lesson for all of us is:
Enjoy your loved ones while they are still here.
There will come a time when they become memories,,,
Have a nice weekend,
Thank you for elaborating on ultrareading-while-listening approach. I have good reading and listening comprehension but have a lot of problems with writing and speaking. At this point, I’m actually struggling with dilemma.
A couple of native speakers who read my English texts have told me I’ve achieved an intermediate level and from that point, it will be more logical and useful to devote more time to writing and speaking than immersion. On the one hand, it might be true but I still can’t decide on that. Maybe I have to hear more opinions regarding that moment, don’t know. Maybe I can show you a couple of my texts and you can give some useful advice? That question is also connected with your recommendation about writing/speaking practise.
About your job, I see. Well, job is always stressful, I recall my last demanding job as a chief editor and man, that was exhausting. At the same time, it seems that you have a great opportunity to visit new countries! I think that’s great.
Now I've got my own PeterBormannGPT (SteveGPT is coming too).
How cool is that:
Learning a second language depends on your language learning goals and your time budget. Here's a comprehensive language learning framework:
- A1 - A2 (maybe even B1 for distant second languages): a. Preparation phase:
- Michel Thomas / Language Transfer as grammar light approaches to get a grasp of the most important syntactic and grammar structures (for more distant L2s)
- Flashcards for the most frequent words (let's say, 3000-5000 words / expressions), e.g. as Memrise / Anki decks and Speechling sentences
- Pronunciation training (if needed - see Michilini's posts / podcasts about Mandarin, for instance)
- Pimsleur (as a speaking early, but grammar light approach)
b. Actual start
- Intensive reading while listening (multiple times) with different audio speeds (0.7 - 1.25) using LingQ's "Mini Stories" (maybe in combo with Assimil)
- Exporting the LingQs created to Anki and then doing flashcard drills
- Using the transcripts of beginner podcasts similar to eslpod.com or
- B1 / B1-2 (ca. >= 10k known words on LingQ):
- Learning the transcripts of contemporary series on Netflix with a lot of everyday dialogues based on -> intensive reading while listening (multiple times) -> flashcarding using LingQtoAnki or Migaku
- Specific Phrasebook sentences (Lonely Planet, etc.) drilled with Anki
- YT dialogues (drilled with Anki)
- Switching to an "ultrareading while listening approach" (audio speed ca. 1.25 - 1.5x) in LingQ using easier non-fictional texts
- B1-2 / B2 / B2-C1
- "Ultrareading while listening" using contemporary popular fiction Goal: ca. 2.5 - 3 million words read / listened to
- C1 and upwards:
- Ultrareading while listening (but also everything else: free reading without listening / free listening without reading) using scientific / business- or IT-related literature, novels pre-1970, etc.
And at each phase, you can add other things to the mix like self-talk, writing short summaries, explicit grammar studies, and writing tools like "Skritter." Also, the website is highly recommended for improving your English with everyday dialogues and cultural lessons.
Ha ha ha, S.I.
Your GPT version missed a few nuggets, e.g.
1) Why is motivation, fun, etc. useless compared to (tiny) habits?
2) Why should learners become comfortable with the uncomfortable?
3) Why can "Earth be seen as a blue orange" and is not just the third planet
from the sun?
4) And why is it possible and necessary to rip conventional models of communication to pieces?
5) How can we model / conceptualize complex systems based on socio-emergent communication?
That's when the "real" fun starts and where GPT is still a braindead Wikipedia parrot...
And as long as this is the case: AI 0 : Humans 1 :-)
Well, I think if it were a competition, GPT still has a chance to win, using the tactic of overloading you with infinite amount of paper work and generating "scientific-ish" works, so you'll have to waste all of your available time and money to prove it wrong :D And only a few of us would be able to check both GPT's papers and yours, and even fewer would be able to understand at least something :)
Steve's already in the system, btw:
Well, I played around with OpenGPT reg. Qs 3-5 for 1-2 h, and there was no knowledge or problem awareness in these areas. OpenGPT is basically clueless and restricted to a literal processing of sentences like "Earth is the third planet bla bla bla".
On the other hand, OpenGPT is a "powerful text generator" - there's no doubt about it. But it's more like a convenient access to a Wikipedia article and has nothing to do with how humans process language (i.e., being able to switch between literal and non-literal interpretations in an instant, processing associations and connotations, using irony, etc.).
"to prove it wrong...
Even fewer would be able to understand at least something."
Well, the game, for example, would be to drive traditional, models of communication ("sender - receiver", "intersubjectivity", "social mind", etc.) into nonsensical spheres (which is not that hard if you know how to do it).
And after that, there's not much more to defend :-)
I did something similar with variations of "Earth is a blue orange", where the basic topic isn't producing nonsense, but processing figurative speech.
The GPT reactions were so helpless that I lost all interest after a few minutes...
Furthermore, it seems that many GPT users resort to magical thinking and tend to project human qualities (emotions, etc.) onto the chatbot;
- We*ve known that for more than 50 years, e.g.:
"ELIZA's creator, Weizenbaum, regarded the program as a method to show the superficiality of communication between man and machine, but was surprised by the number of individuals who attributed human-like feelings to the computer program, including Weizenbaum's secretary. Many academics believed that the program would be able to positively influence the lives of many people, particularly those with psychological issues, and that it could aid doctors working on such patients' treatment. While ELIZA was capable of engaging in discourse, ELIZA could not converse with true understanding." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ELIZA)
- I'm also occasionally confronted with users who say: "My computer or my computer program (Word, Excel, Google Chrome, etc.) crashes or does something weird because it hates me."
Have a nice WE,
Pjotr [I have to escape the "Good luck, Peter" GPT copy mechanism :-)]
Hey! That's kind of a language learning strategy? Who created that? Peter?
Maybe OpenGPT disguised as S.I. disguised as OpenGPT has entered LingQ and now processes everything we have written on LingQ :-)
The advantage: From now on, there will be millions of GPT-generated posts reg. language learning, LingQ, etc. in our forums.
So now we can focus 100 per cent on language learning, not on writing about language learning :-)
ChatGPT is of much help, that's for sure.
See, Peter! @rumblebumble isn't sure who is the author, so the "just enough" threshhold is passed!
No, I trained ChatGPT on some of the Peter's most typical comments :)
LOL. I've lost the chance to register in GPT and now it's too late, too much people here and I can't sign up. Still, that's a nice joke with a learning strategy, looks promising 😂
"Maybe I have to hear more opinions regarding that moment, don’t know. Maybe I can show you a couple of my texts and you can give some useful advice?"
Here are few tips for improving your writing that immediately come to my mind:
1) Use AI tools to improve your writing:
- Deepl Write is great (https://www.deepl.com/write)
- Chatting with OpenGPT is also pretty helpful (much better than the stories it creates and the knowledge it presents because both tend to be "naive" - see my last reply to S.I.)
- Grammarly to correct your writing in English
The problem with these tools are the "stylistic nuances" (connotations, associations, word plays, irony, figurative speech, less common collocations, etc.) that the tools often don't get. Only native speakers can help you in this regard (see point 2)).
2) A writing forum such as Hinative where you can get feedback from native speakers - and, of course, the LingQ forum :-)
3) Then I'd read more sophisticated journalism, see esp. "The New Yorker"(IMO, they belong to the best of the best).
You can then write your own summaries of the articles you have read before.
4) Start your own blog and write about stuff you're passionate about.
5) Take creative writing courses in English on Coursera.
6) Present some of your texts (i.e., text snippets, whole blog posts, etc.) on the LingQ forum and discuss it with us, esp. the native speakers of English.
You can also start a new thread on LingQ asking for many more ideas regarding this topic!
OK, that's all the time I've got for the LingQ forum this WE. Now it's certification time :-)
Retep (this is a result of the GPT copy curse introduced by S.I. where you have to outsmart the AI :-))
I already use Deepl, Grammarly, LangCorrect, and Journaly to improve my writing and get corrections from natives. Just now managed to register in OpenGPT, going to check it out :) You’re right about the fact that AI tools “don’t get” stylistic details, but I have natives who help me with that, even though sometimes their comments seem redundant to me.
I like your idea about summaries and blogging, should give it a try. However, it never came to my mind to take courses on Coursera, thnx! And I'll definitely share my posts on Lingq. Thank you so much for elaborating on that topic and interesting ideas! Hope to hear from you soon, it was a pleasure talking to you
it was a pleasure talking to you!
And please keep us posted on your progress!
I came onto LingQ to the A2-B1 level and am C-1 now. I still read all my books in LingQ because I find it such an amazing learning aid. I have also had a weekly lesson for eight years with my wonderful teacher in Italy and spent lots of time listening and speaking as much as I can, but I still consider LingQ to be the single most helpful aid I’ve had. Stick with it. It just takes time and perseverance.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it’s inspiring. I hope I’ll achieve the same results as yours. 💪👍 the platform LingQ is amazing, indeed 🙂
Google Fu is your best friend for such Qs, See, for example::
May the Google Fu be with you (in the future) :-)
Thank you for sharing this link! 🙏
I just want to say, that if you wrote this post by yourself, you are doing really well in English. :) Your post was very well written. I would say you are doing great. :D
Thank you! Yeah, I wrote it by myself. Your message sounds for me really inspiring 😇
My main motivator has always been Steve's youtube videos. They might be a little advanced for you still, but with the subtititles and importing into LingQ you should be able to work them out. They've always given me the re-assurance that the concepts behind input based learning are sound. He also details the struggles that everyone will encounter along the way. One thing that bothers me about a lot of youtubers or influencers is that you often just see the "positive". So you can often begin to wonder if there's something wrong with you if you're struggling a bit. Steve has always told it like it is, and he highlights that things are not always linear progress forward. There will be setbacks here and there. You WILL forget words you marked known. You will have words that you can never seem to figure out no matter how many times you've seen them. You will feel like you're not making progress. You will feel like you've taken a step backward at times. You will feel like you'll never be able to get fluent.
You will progress, if you keep at it. You have to try and do something with the language every day. Even a little bit. Sometimes "real life" will take over and maybe you can't for a day or even a few days or even a week or more. If you can, though, fit *something* in. Even if it's just reading a paragraph. There's so many opportunities to fit a little bit in.
If you keep doing that you will progress ultimately. You may have to figure out new things, new sources, etc. to keep your progression steadily improving. If you only have a limited amount of time, you may progress very slowly compared to others (I include myself in this camp), but you will improve.
Yeah, I've been listening to Steve's podcasts and they're quite inspiring, I agree. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I'm sure with a help of the Lingq community and learners like you I'll be able to keep my motivation on a decent level for a long time🙏😊
It's hard to notice gradual changes. If you are regular, you are improving though. Give it a couple months of regular use and you'll start to see the changes.
1-1.5 hours per day on average for 8.5 months got me from zero in Italian to B1.
I've read your post and it seems it's quite realistic to achieve a great progress with Lingq 😊 Now I feel a bit less confused and uncertain about my future and this platform, thnx a lot.