Why isn't LingQ more popular?
Probably because it seems hard work and wierd compared to duolingo etc which are gamified.
I am just curious, you having reached the C1 level in Russian, does it mean you have learned most of the cases, verb conjugations etc. and can actively use them correctly? I would just like to know as I would assume with the passive/receptive skills it is possible, but mastering the cases for a non-Slavic speaker would be more of a challenge.
Marketing and ease of use. LingQ does not have a large marketing budget, and it also does not give someone an easy way to get started.
Another aspect is that lingQ was started as a good learning tool by someone who is an avid language learner. These other companies and tools are started by business people who go out and get investors and then try to come up with methods to teach languages. They have huge marketing budgets and investors looking to make a profit, and the business model that they work with usually involves getting as many people to sign up as possible and then a certain number will pay for the service(and never use it).
Of course, if you are a business person looking to sign up as many people as possible to your “language learning“ app then it only makes sense to appeal to their biases about how languages are learned, and most people believe that languages are learned by studying lists of vocabulary and memorizing grammar patterns. So that is much of the reason why LingQ is not very popular in comparison.
Basically if they wanted to compete they would need to spend a lot of money on marketing a “revolutionary new way of learning languages“ and get good placement in major media outlets, and at the same time throw in some games, “Easy travel phrases“, and other things into the app to make it more “user-friendly“.
It’s much like the fitness club business model, or any other “self improvement“ business. Anyone who is really serious about “getting fit“ can do it with or without a fitness club, But most fitness clubs make their profits off of people who are not actually coming to the fitness club.
So I guess in that analogy, lingQ is like the slightly smelly underground fitness club where the really serious weight lifters come to hang out and pump some serious manly iron, The regular fitness club denizens want nothing to do with it because it’s not well lit and serving pizzas, and it looks like hard work.
LOL great post. Probably true.
That's really good to hear that lingQ got you from A2 to B2/C1 after six months in Russian.
I think lingq has A couple of problems. I tried around maybe 5 times before I eventually stuck with it.
id say when you’re a beginner in a language you need tools that are easy to use and don’t add additional burden. It’s hard enough starting a language. Lingq is a bit chaotic with very little description of what to do. I think it’s daunting to a new user, I think an area more dedicated to new users with some kind of pathway and descriptions of how to get the most from the platform. even now I think it’s a bit chaotic. If I hadn’t seen as many recommendations and success stories I’d probably have stopped using it
i also think the UI needs improving more in genera.
I always thought that the best way to learn is reading+listening. LingQ is exactly the method I was looking for. But. The first time I discovered it, I had some issues:
- weird user interface
- very little help where to begin and how
- I was not sure - is it really a good method to learn? or a good method to get my money?
So, the first impression is not so good. Still, I wanted to give it a try - the free version of course. And here's the MAIN ISSUE:
in the free version, the number of lingQs is very, very limited – after a few (or maybe one?) texts, the maximum number of free lingQs was reached. And I was asked to buy the paid version.
So I did what most people would do: I thought "wtf" and left disappointed.
Much later, after listening to Stephen Krashen who convinced me that this is indeed the best method, (and probably after watching a few Steven Kaufmann videos), I decided to get the paid version. Since then, I am a very happy user of LingQ.
So, these things need to be changed:
1. Modern user interface. Software engineers are not good at this. You need a professional UX specialist!
2. More, simple and short explanations about the concept. Again, hire a specialist (marketing?), who knows how to do it, so that it is appealing to the first time user.
3. The free version must be of real value to the user. Give them 20000 lingQs. Or maybe unlimited for 6 or 12 months. This is the most important point.
I agree with you, LingQ is the best, end of discussion!
But it requires real hard work. and I guess people are more interested in fooling themselves (or maybe their parents?) with games like duolingo...
I tried duolingo for learning Chinese from scratch for 90 days. When inside the application, you get the impreession you're making progress, and that is really satisfying. Anyway, after my 90-day experiment and a lot of finished levels, I figured out that in reality I had made no progress at all! That was really frustrating...
Duolingo is where i started Russian. But it is too game like and childish for me. It would probably be great to introduce a child to language learning, but for real progress, not so much.
Too bad the stock market profits will never make Duolingo want to change it's model
I think because it is not free and it is not gamified. Also I believe most people who start using LingQ have also started another program and have a little bit of a foundation.
But as far as the foundation in question is concerned, it could all be solved by uploading even easier content to LingQ. It is not the problem of the method itself, that you would actually need Duolingo easy sentences before LingQ, but whatever that easy thing you need is, just import it to LingQ. A very small amount of such content is available on LingQ - the introduction phrases etc. Unfortunately it is only a few lines and it may depend on the language.
But, as it's been pointed out, you don't really need grammar books that teach you how the verb 'be' or 'have' works before you work with comprehensible input.
I believe that most of the language community is not subscribed to the comprehensible input theory of 2nd language acquisition. Most of my fellow Korean learners seem to focus on purchasing and learning from grammar books as opposed to spending heavy amounts of time reading and listening. They seem to focus on memorizing words via Anki or some other means and they practice writing sentences.
Another big reason is that lingq isn't as well advertised as other apps are (like duolingo for example)
And even if it was, the monthly fee is somewhat steep so that would further narrow down the potential long-term userbase.
McDonald's is the most successful hamburger restaurant of all time. It doesn't mean they make the best burgers.
I have a few guesses, all of which I think are true. I start with the two biggest reasons:
1) Those apps and program spend a shitload of money on advertising. (Rosetta Stone being the all time king). You're not getting fluent with those methods any more than you are getting rich with "no money down" real estate investing advertised on late night TV.
2) It's not as popular as it could be for the same reason any other effective methods aren't as popular: it takes a very long time, costs money, and from the get-go is for serious students to learn.
--You have to pay for LingQ.
--People that use those inferior methods tend to probably bounce around among several of them so there's echo chamber of people recommending and discussing them amongst themselves.
--You have to have a basic understanding of how language acquisition words in order to see the value in LingQ and most people learning a foreign languge just dont' have that.
"you have to have a basic understanding of how language acquisition works"
^^^ this is it right there.
I essentially stumbled into SRS and with a combo of that plus watching TV I taught myself Spanish. In the 10 years since then I have mused about language acquisition and occasionally read books about it. It wasn't until about a year ago that I found benny lewis and questioned some of what he said (although he's partially right) that I stumbled across the polyglots and watched youtube clips from some of them. My opinion after having learned successfully one language is that some of them are full of shit and others know what they are talking about. Steve Kaufmann came across as the real deal.
Even then, LingQ seems wierd and clunky to me and I'm like WTF how can you learn from reading. But it's not all reading. There are a couple or three benefits that lingQ has that are game changers even if you don't primarilly use it for reading that sold me on it. So I use it as part of my overall strategy because there's just nothing else comes close: Steve Kaufmann knows what he is talking about and has automated some of the hard bits of language learning which gets it as close as possible to as fast as possible.
In fact I think I'm running at a speed slightly faster than my memory can handle. I need to slow down.
I support many of the points already made.
My point of view:
1) Virtually no marketing. Everyone I tell about LingQ has never heard about it before.
2) First user experience: I open a lesson, I turn a page, WHAT????? I now know 45 words in this new language???? This defaulted paging-moves to known should be toggled off immediately.
3) Clunky forum software, missing beginner question subforum.
4) Yes, your work should be kept for free until you buy your next subsription. People should have a chance to do what humans do: Lose and regain interest in an activity. If it were so, it would be much easier for us avid users to do the marketing for LingQ. As it is, I still tell everyone how great this site is, but I have to be frank, economy-wise it's not recommendable. Allow a limited amount of new LingQs for free each month, let users keep their data for free for maybe two years, and more users will come.
This came to mind again and I think why it isn't more popular is two reasons.
1) No powerful, effective marketing strategy. Lingq has Steve (who's a good polyglot influencer), and some coverage in the polyglot and language learning community. There's not much marketing money going in it seems, and honestly there doesn't seem to be a good marketing strategy.
Competitors have: ad spend (babble), strong brands (rosetta stone), connections to big tech (duolingo), good design and pr (memrise), influencer marketing (italki). They all have serious marketing strategies really, (probably all using all of those tactics) way beyond lingq.
2) No effective engaging onboarding process. You need an marketing- sales - onboarding - customer retention - to make things work. You need to take the user, get them using the app, making some progress and enjoying it to retain them. You need to remove friction in the early stages or you lose people quickly.
There's no clear way to do this with Lingq, you have to figure it out a bit. That's ok with me but not good for many. Like people say it's not beginner friendly and beginners are a big customer pool in language learning.
Over the last couple years there has been a steady progression of these Grima Wormtongues at the ear of King Theoden..
...sorry, I mean marketing people at the ear of Steve.
I can see that they have done a lot to duolinguafy the image and try to compete in the mainstream. The problem is, these people have to justify their existence by growing joins and conversions. New user onboarding becomes the major focus, leaving functionality and existing users to linger.
The companies you cite demonstrate the sad reality that marketing budget, image and shadowy "guanxi" is almost everything. Then just provide dopamine hits and the illusion of accomplishment. Never mind how little or much substance there is to the product.
Well I'm not a big fan of Duolingo or Babble, but Italki is a good service , and Memrise isn't bad.
Even Duolingo got me started in languages. If it wasn't for Duolingo's gamified easy access, maybe I'd still be unsure on how to start learning, left only with more "enlightened" language learners to laugh at my feeble uneducated beginner status and congratulate themselves heartily in a range of languages.
It be fine if the god of worthy products flew down and bestowed cash on companies, but in the real world you've got attract more customers or the product you enjoy will stop existing. I get you don't want it dumbed down, but if you want new features someone's gotta to pay for development.
You can't blame Steve et al, from wanting to be more successful and grow the company too, they don't just exist to serve your needs.
I understand and you are quite right. I'm not against beginner friendliness in principle.
If the experience of beginners and advanced learners can both be good, without compomising either, then I'm with you.
The last big 4.0 update to me was a case of dumbing it down at the expense of the more intense learners that used to be the old lingQ niche.
See this old thread, for what I mean.
As for the financial, I think lingQ has been making money for a while now, including from me btw. I'm pretty sure they are not under growth pressure to break even and feed themselves. But yes, more languages with more mini-stories have to be financed, and that's good.
If I were a freeloader, then I wouldn't talk so big, but since I am also subsidizing the adventure, I hope I am free to comment.
Yes for sure, I get what you mean and I always preferred the classic view too.
I want to see more development for intermediate and advanced learners, from existing and new products too. That suits me better, we are a smaller niche, but that's not always a bad thing. You're right though it has to be a balance.
I am still seeing a full screen of texts. What exactly did change 4 years ago? Did they threaten to go to sentence mode only. Then Lingq would become unusable.
Those other apps aren't totally horrible. They are just inefficient. It's the same as classic go to a class once a week: that is the most inefficient way possible to learn a language.
I personally reckon that you will get to A1-A2 by completing the language tree on duolingo. Which is fine. Just you are *way* better off spending your time doing something that works faster like lingQ.
Lingq has Steve
Surprisingly, I discovered that Steve Kaufmann's Wikipedia page* doesn't even mention LingQ apart from in a footnote - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Kaufmann. Probably someone here is a Wikipedian who could change that.
*which I discovered when I was trying to work out whether he is related to Eric Kaufmann - he is: my interests in language nerdery and the vaguely IDW-adjacent end of the culture war come together in one family :-)
I'm not so worried about making lingQ more popular for the helpless duolingo babies. But of course the money making machine has to grow, and past updates have indicated that moving towards a gamified flashy beginner app is their intention.
Sadly there might be more money globally in gaming masses of clueless, infantile beginners out of a quick buck, than providing a quality platform. But I continue to hope, that our good, imperfect friend lingQ won't try to compete with Rosetta, duolingo, Benny and co, in their field.
I tried to find out what the prospected changes in 5.0 will be, but nothing found.
My worry now is that they'll get rid of classic mode and leave us with something like the "new reader" of the 4.0 update only.
With 4.0 they tried a heavy sell of the chunky new reader, but kept the classic reader, as a transition and probably due to the moans of many long time users.
I've always continued using the one and only classic reader. The 4.0 "new reader" is like forced sentence mode, just with 4 sentences, and nothing but annoying for reading books and other long and dense texts.
Sorry, but not a fan.
Fingers crossed that whatever 5.0 does, it won't be too much at the expense of high intensity, old guard users. Else I may be forced to kick the lingQ habit after 10 years of glory, about 6 of those happily paying.
Anyway, thanks to the team for their work.
I do. I think you really have to be serious about learning the language, and most people really aren't. They want to learn well enough (or so they believe) to speak a little and take a trip. But to really understand it, and also the culture's way of thought - that is another beast altogether. And LingQ caters to people who reach for that level. I should say - I came in to brush up on French for professional reasons; I already was intermediate, but I've really climbed in a short time. I went in understanding it was hard work, and daily commitment. I am also using FluentU and Duolingo: I would not recommend Duolingo to anyone who is serious, and those who do, obviously haven't seen the advanced levels in French - it's truly terrible. They are not a quality program if you are serious and at upper levels. (Although I have heard the German is better, and I am doing intermediate Danish, which is fine so far.)
In hindsight, I should have titled this "Why doesn't LingQ show up in google searches for language learning apps or app lists," but there are lots of interesting and connected points here I had definitely not considered.
Caldazar, I am glad you phrased it this way. Thanks for the interesting thread :-)
How popular is it? not sure. I've been a user off and on for ages, it's a good system.
But there are good alternatives (many for free now), and very little app or feature development here. The app is clunky and not a great user experience (I understand they're probably a small team).
I just logged in to unsubscribe actually.
You've got to buy into the learning methodology of lingq too. It's a shame more people don't. Maybe that's the reason? I think once you past the intermediate phase you don't need a lingq type thing anymore you just use native content. That's why I stopped using it for Spanish and French. Other languages I'm studying they just don't have it here. You always hear: new updates or languages in the next few months, 1 year later, no update.
I dislike having to pay to park your data too, that annoys me it's needless. So I'm canceling my sub, they'll delete my data and I won't be back. It's counterproductive, because if they parked my data for free very likely come back and sign up again at some point, but I'm done with it now.
But there are good alternatives (many for free now),
Hm, there aren't many "content-flexible" AudioReaders on the market.
There's LingQ, ReadLang, and LWT.
- ReadLang is dead because the developer stopped further development a few years ago.
- LWT is open source, but too tech-heavy for most users.
- LingQ is the only content-flexible AudioReader for non-techies that is actively supported right now.
Furthermore, flexible AudioReaders are the "only" tool category that can bring an (absolute) beginner to an advanced / native-like level of listening and reading comprehension. In other words, they're suitable for all levels!
Of course, learners can also use bilingual texts (with or without audio support). But, this is not a software category. And a "curated content" online platform with a few selected resources is also not convincing because of its inflexibility.
Has LingQ room for improvement? It feels like once a week we have a discussion on this topic.
But, as Mark Kaufmann said some time ago, they're re-writing the LingQ software from scratch.
So, it takes some time...
I made a detailed response but the forum bugged out.
There' are other options that facilitate reading/listening, for me at least, that work very well, like mate translate, or learn languages with Youtube and they support the languages I'm interested in, Lingq does not. But I'm glad it's working out for you, it helped me a lot with Spanish, I like it's features for the early stages..
I'm not actually a lingq basher, other than some parts of their business model, I like the site and concept a lot. I respect Steve too, he's a great role model as a language learner and person.
To add one more to the "content-flexible" AudioReaders list: There is essentially a copy pasted version of LingQ called OPLingo which is much snappier and quite honestly what LingQ should be already but the userbase is abysmal so the user database is non existent there which helps me catch a lot of expressions and slangs . I check on it once a month to see if anything radical has changed but to date it's not going anywhere so I'll probably be sticking with LingQ for the long run.
But I'm not sure if an online language platform that tries to cover all the major dimensions of language learning, i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing, is still the right way to go.
It's probably better these days to follow the Unix philosophy by offering a highly specialized tool (e.g. a stand-alone, flexible AudioReader) that learners can use together with other tools (chats, writing forums, etc.).
I think once you past the intermediate phase you don't need a lingq type thing anymore you just use native content.
I need Lingq especially for native content.
LingQ has a killer feature that most folks haven't clearly identified.
Instead of having to read through an entire book to identify the words you don't know, just dump the text in and you can *see* the words *immediately*.
That is so awesome it is worth shouting out loud. I don't understand why others aren't bugging their eyes out at it.
I did find LingQ a little difficult at first but now I love it. Endless content possibilities, from youtube videos to e-books. I did babbel for a long while but I have completed all their Russian lessons and they dont plan to add more for quite some time. Duolingo might be good for kids, but mostly it's just silly. I don't think I'll ever need to say "My fish is wearing a sweater" in Russian. Like all language learning you have to be willing to put in the time and effort.
I think for LingQ to be more "popular" it would need to have a strategy for how to take on beginners and compete in that space.
LingQ is great for me, because I already knew how I would learn a language, and then LingQ just happened to have all the features I wanted. However if I was coming in not knowing that, LingQ would be incredibly overwhelming and confusing.
I'm not referencing beginners to a new language, but beginners in how to learn languages in general. If an experience existed that helped a new learner understand the value of compelling and comprehensible input, and then guided them to appropriate content, then I believe the overall experience would be smoother.
As it is I have evangelized to several people, but it is not a quick sell. First I need them to understand input and then how LingQ makes comprehensible input easier.
Wow that is a high activity score. You must be reading and lingqiing a. Lot.
To be honest I've been reading about 3 hours a day for the last 4-5 months. I am using LingQ for every book I am reading and then a journal for everything else. The only difference now is I read a lot faster and I don't need to read everything 2-3 times to understand it.
The activity score seems to "like" novelty (and brain definitely does too). The result I guess is an activity score that is about twice as it used to be in the past month.
I'm assuming your reading activity in your native language was already more than the average guy and that has crossed over into being able to reading more and faster in your new languages. Because I'll readily admit reading around 3000 words a day in my second language is far more than I've averaged in my first language of English since forever ago so my speed reading skills are quite bad to begin with and in 2-3 hours I'm lucky if I complete 5000 words in Portuguese. You're averaging 25,000 a day over 3 languages in 3 hours... Damn, lol, I suck but whatevs. Anyway, VERY impressive, hopefully I'll build up ability to accomplish just half of your consumption per day in 5 months.
Stewart, you can generalize this statement by saying:
"You're averaging 25,000 a day over 3 languages in 3 hours..."
Damn, lol, we all suck but whatevs. ;-)
I don't know it's a hobby and I have a lot more time now due to COVID :).
Übrigens ... wenn du eins oder zwei Bücher mir zu empfehlen hast, ich würde mich vergnügen. Jetzt lese ich "Der nasse Fisch" und es ist wirklich gut!
Lustig, ich lese im Moment "Alles" außer Deutsch (v.a. Englisch, Spanisch und Portugiesisch).
Nenne mir einfach, was Dich interessiert / auf welchem Niveau (B1/B2?) und ich schaue, was ich tun kann.
Ich würde von der deutschen Audible-Liste (bspw. die Kategorie "Krimis + Thrillers") ausgehen
und mir dann die passenden Buchversionen besorgen.
Danke für den Tipp! Es ist auch lustig, dass ich nichts auf Englisch empfehlen könnte. I würde "Goodreads" nützen, oder sonst etwas ähnlich.
Niveau ist nicht sehr wichtig. Ich kann jetzt sehr viel verstehen, zumindest viel beßere als ich schreiben oder sprechen kann... Jetzt lese ich viele Krimis, weil "Nordic Noir" so beliebt in Norwegen und Schweden ist. Aber müss es nicht sein. Ich mag Horror, Fantasie, Märchen, usw, usw.
Krimis, weil "Nordic Noir" so beliebt in Norwegen und Schweden ist. Aber müss es nicht sein. Ich mag Horror, Fantasie, Märchen, usw,
Ich schreibe das 'mal auf meine "LingQ Wand" (auf der Profilseite) und sammle die nächste Zeit Sachen, die für Dich interessant sein könnten.
Sobald meine Liste einige Autoren aufweist, poste ich das auf Deiner LingQ-Wand.
Vorab ein Tipp, falls Dich auch deutsche / internationale Politik, Geschichte, etc. interessiert: https://www.bpb.de/
Das ist die Website der "Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung", die Tausende von Artikeln aufweist, die man - theoretisch - alle in LingQ importieren kann :-)
Das scheint wirklich kuhl! Ich habe eine deutsche Seite wie https://www.snl.no niemals gefunden.
Zwei "spontane" Fantasy-Tipps hätte ich:
- Cornelia Funke, "Tintenherz": https://www.amazon.de/Tintenherz-Cornelia-Funke/dp/3841500129/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&dchild=1&keywords=tintenherz&qid=1616868404&sr=8-1
- Walter Moers, "Rumo und die Wunder im Dunkeln": (übrigens: das Hörbuch dazu ist großartig!): https://www.amazon.de/Rumo-die-Wunder-Dunkeln-Roman/dp/3328601902/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&dchild=1&keywords=Rumo+und+die+Wunder+im+Dunkeln&qid=1616868620&sr=8-1
Here are my recommendations of German-speaking authors:
Have a nice Sunday
What's funny is I have probably read somewhere between 20 and 30 novels (mostly YA) in the past 5 months, and I have probably read 20 books in the past 6 years. Obviously with the internet and my job I have spent tons of time reading and writing, but it wasn't novels.
One thing that has sped me up considerably I think is reading with the audiobook. What I did for 3 months was read every chapter intensively once without the audiobook, then once extensively with. Now I just read extensively with the audiobook, and in some cases at 1.1 - 1.25x speed.
Congrats, noxialisrex: Great work ethic and therefore great stats!
It's hard to beat you in the "Monthly LingQing Challenge".
You're in a league of your own :-)
I think I will calm down next month (
unless I start reading in Danish or Dutch) as up to now I had been linking most every new word without first considering if I knew the word, now I am finding I know probably 2/3 of unknown words as a combination of, or declension of, (a) known word(s). There are also a ton of cognates between German, Swedish and Norwegian who would have guessed...
I also spend about three hours a day, and I also go to Russian classes at our local Russian community center. That class focuses on conversation, and it really challenges me. Languages were always my favorite classes in high school and college, so this is fun for me,
Do you find the classes useful? I use italki for conversation "practice". At this point most of the people I talk with are friends that I happen to pay to tolerate me speaking their native language poorly.
friends that I happen to pay to tolerate me speaking their native language poorly.
Ha, ha, ha. This is how friendships get destroyed.
First, we got QAnon.
Then, we got Covid-19.
And now we try to butcher each other's native language ;-)
Oh we don't try to butcher other's native languages, we succeed.
Thee classes are very helpful. But what helps even more is that there are a lot of native Russian speakers waiting while their kids are in classes. I make it a point to get there early and spend some time chatting outside the context of the class. They've been very supportive and curious about why I chose to learn Russian. They also have shared their own struggles in learning English. I've asked them not to be shy about correcting me so I get a lot of feedback.
I have a query if you can answer it. Reading extensively with audiobook combo do you think you are developing an intuitive feeling for grammar structures so that you can produce or speak them confidently esp in German?
For me it at the very least is extremely helpful. I have learned that how I learn is like 99% practice and 1% theory. That 1% active studying and theory is extraordinary helpful, but only after I have experienced something enough previously.
You could have shown me an adjektivendungen chart a hundred times over, or told me which prepositions are dative, accusative, genetive, etc., but I wouldn't be able to spontaneously use them in a sentence without the input first.
This post here is a pretty good answer to your question.
Plus the endless number of posts about importing problems.
To me the importing problems arise because it is as flexible as it is...Almost all cases seem to be when youtube changes something or in the case of ebooks the DRM. Those aren't Lingq's fault and they do their best to take care of the issues when they come up (although for DRM they can't do anything). They could make it less flexible and we don't get that type of content at all, or they can allow it to "live on the edge" and people benefit from these other excellent sources of content. I don't think the ReadLang's and other similar software allow one to import youtube or netflix and they would have the same DRM issues as LingQ. I do agree with the link you provide though. I think there needs to be more time to acclimate and the layout less confusing.
I absolutely support your point, it's not LingQ's fault, and every (hypothetic) language site offering an import service this versatile would face this problem.
About e-books: You could be more precise, it's always Kindle people have trouble with. They should just buy their e-books somewhere else ;-) I buy my Swedish e-books at bokon.se, and I just get epubs which I can import directly.
-As someone who has used lingq for over ten years,
-And as someone who (outside of admin and mods) is, probably, top 5 all time in terms of the amount of native content shared on this site, I think I have some insight into this.
1. Lingq isn't really an "app", and it certainly isn't an app that targets first day, A1 users, in a manner that leaves a good impression.
- Whilst I totally get the mini story / basic intro concepts, people who have no clue about language learning need a level below this.
- Forget about the "beginner 1" level -- if you have a garbage search functionality on this site, or if you allow any garbage lesson to randomly popup if you search beginner 1, or if you don't have anything approaching "user-friendly" best practice world class general site navigation - then you are never going to be an app that appeals to a wide audience, and which, in turn, gets a bunch of recommendations.
- Fix those things, and you are a step closer, but lots of people have pointed out garbage search and garbage lessons mixed with good ones for a long time and garbage navigation - and nothing ever happens. And that is just the start to the fix - you still need something like:
2. Lingq needs an "absolute beginner? start here!" best-practice super-easy to find and navigate process, and that should take you to intro phrases that are what any random person would love to see, broken down into very small bite-sized chunks.
Don't give me please, thank you, how are you, I'm fine thanks, hi, good bye, whats your name, who is she - as a possible intro. I know it is not the lingq way - but make it SUPER easy, break it down, make it small bites, and really spoon feed -just for a little bit. And please, make navigation easy. Look at the intros to the top most successful apps. Super easy navigation, and super easy to get a super basic , spoon fed dopamine hit and go "aha! I learnt a useful word!" - right from the start.
As I'm just learning German from zero, I can agree that things are hard at the beginning, and I think there is some value in a slightly different approach to get the basics under your belt. Other apps and programs will give you a few hundred words and phrases that allow you to engage in super basic conversations (or at least introductions and basic survival phrases) right away, and they don't feel like the bear that LingQ feels like to learn a language from scratch. I agree there may be some goodness in implementing an "absolute beginning" option or setting.
My thought is that i believe LingQ to be more of a small business compared to the others so their marketing budget probably isn’t as big as some. If you go to some of the other internet polyglot YouTube pages you will see they are paid to review busuu. They say it themselves. Robin macpherson and Lindie Botes both that have reviewed the app on their channels among others. Also while driving in my car I always hear advertisements for Babbe. Duolingo has a great interface and That is about it. Also LingQ doesn’t have a great guided course. It took me about 3 months to learn how to use it. I didn’t really like it at first because of that but I kept doing it because I watched Steve’s YouTube videos Which is how I found lingq.
Previously from my observations I thought it was because LingQ could be overwhelming to people who just want an app to do everything for them. LingQ requires active involvement (highlighting, searching for content, searching for correct definitions, inputting own definitions, clicking levels of understanding, etc). I also thought also maybe it wasn't being marketed enough. But then..... there's Anki. As far as I can tell they don't spend a cent on marketing and, my god, that app and all these tools people make for it are the BIGGEST HEADACHE AND TIME SUCK OF ALL TIME. But yet, Polyglot dudes preach about Anki and all their followers dive right into Anki and spend 1000s of hours setting up Anki and then 1000s of more hours repping 10,000 boring as hell cards. I don't get it. I'll never get it. LingQ takes some work, but man, it's so much simpler, and the user database is so good. It takes no time to set up, it's all been done for you. And reading is a natural SRS. I'll admit, I do make flashcards (on a FAR simpler app) when I recognize I'm just not acquiring a word after seeing it 100 times in LingQ, so I make a flashcard, rep it 10-20 times in one sitting, and then it usually sticks after that. But I'll never waste my time for 3-4 hours a day on Anki and I hate when I meet people who just say "I got fluent on Duolingo" My a** you got fluent on duolingo. Duolingo introduces you to 2,000 words in a language tree. I'm at over 6,000 known words on LingQ and God only knows how many LingQs and I still feel like a beginner lol. And even worse, I hate seeing people who think studying 5 minutes a day for a month on DuoLingo means they should then graduate to having terribly broken conversations on iTalki. Man I've seen some trainwrecks. Anyway, all I can say is, the active users on the forums that do use LingQ are incredibly awesome people and really share some excellent knowledge. I'm incredibly thankful to the people who started/manage LingQ as well. It's a very valuable community and thankfully it appears LingQ is here to stay, even if it takes time to grow it's users. So with that said, if people want to waste their time with other apps, go right ahead. Not everyone sees the light so easily.
I got fluent on Duolingo" My a** you got fluent on duolingo.
Ha, ha, ha.
Yes, what "Owl Fluency" really means is this:
"I'm pretty good at doing Duolingo drills".
But what they forget to mention is this:
"However, I also break down immediately in a mini-conversation in my target language." :-)
spend 1000s of hours setting up Anki
No, Stewart. This is the experience in a parallel universe.
In our universe, you download Anki, search for quality decks in your target language (with audio)
and use it. This is usually a matter of minutes :-)
It only becomes time-consuming if you have to create 10000 or more Anki cards manually yourself.
BTW, LingQ + Anki is a kind of best of both worlds combo.
Not everyone sees the light so easily.
In my experience, the problem is that many people try to defend and stick to their "bad" learning habits (cramming, using ineffective gamified apps, etc.) even when it becomes clear that there are more effective approaches and learning habits.
The reasons are neither "madness" nor "stupidity", but specific social / psychological mechanisms such as:
- The difficulty of replacing old habits with new habits.
- Dunning-Kruger bias
- Sunk Cost Bias
- the coupling of self-esteem and competence building
- the social influence of family members and peers
Well, people are psychologically and socially "complex" beings full of contradictions, biases, good and bad habits, emotions and so on. Sometimes we're even "rational", but nobody should count on that.
We see this also in other areas of life, e.g. conspiracy narratives à la QAnon, Flat-Earth "theories", etc.
It's complicated, but I think our species likes it that way. I mean, what else would a human brain, consuming 1/3 of the body's energy, do all day if life were simplistic, deterministic, predictable, etc.? :-)
Have a nice day
No, Stewart. This is the experience in a parallel universe.
Sure, Anki can be simply downloading premade decks. But my point is that myself and others believe(d) LingQ isn't so popular due to being possibly too complicated. But the fact is there are tons of videos that are 20, 40, 60 minutes long about JUST SETTING UP Anki. Let's not even get into the card creation part. But Anki reddit has 67k subscribers constantly discussing how to make it even more complicated (compared this to LingQs subreddit of under 200). It's free on pc and android but it's a $25 app on iphone yet still is the preferred app for flashcarding it seems. And there are lots of paid subscription plugins that are equivalent to a LingQ subscription price. I was following/testing an Anki plugin project (Migaku - project of the former guy of MIA) up until yesterday with a paid patreon fee because the demonstration of it looked very impressive (essentially it appeared it was going to take all the hassle out of Anki) but the installation notes are a mile long and actually in the end just making a card was still a pain in the you know what. Yet it has 1,000 patreon subscribers and a discord with a billion active channels, and it's only in it's infancy Beta mode. Matt vs Japan and all the AJATT/ massive immersion guys out there are just so gung ho about Anki and essentially how it's the be all and end all of language learning tools despite how much people overcomplicate it. THUS from this I conclude that LingQ being "overcomplicated" is not an issue because compared to what people are doing with Anki, LingQ is a walk in the park.
The funny part is, when some of the massively successful people who use the immersion approach inspired by Matt or others get interviewed or post 1 year updates I've noticed a lot that they say "I quit anki and just started to read instead" , "Anki burned me out multiple times" or "I wish did less Anki and started reading sooner". One guy I found even refused to read for over a year (not even subtitles) and would only listen and make flashcards. I inquired if it was worth it and he said "no", he should have started reading from the beginning because he noticed he learned much much faster and it improved his listening. So here's my new theory. People are scared of and/or don't like reading. Flashcards look simple. People aren't afraid of flashcards because it's one word, one phrase, or one sentence max. Matt and others seem to even have to really urge people to use sentence cards instead of single words. So imagine people signing into LingQ for the first time and realizing they have to read a Mini Story (*screams "The horror!"*). They are probably trembling at the thought of it and log out asap.
So ya I've just decided I'm done with Anki (not flashcards, just Anki), and I'm done with all these Anki toolsets people try to push on Youtube, Reddit, blogs, etc.
BTW, LingQ + Anki is a kind of best of both worlds combo.
I agree flashcards go great with LingQ (as I stated I do this with words that just won't stick in my mind from reading 100 times), although even Anki without all the customizations has always been a pain for me. Setting up custom decks, making cards, browsing, etc. The intuitiveness is just awful from my experience. And to address the point you mentioned about premade decks, I just don't like premade decks. I come across a card every so often where someone that is a native in the language is next to me and observes it and is like "uuhhh, nobody says that." So I just have a trust issue with premade sentence decks now and I will only make cards for words/sentences I actually see produced with my own eyes/ears.
I agree. I don't think the concepts behind LingQ are complicated.. I think people just are a little "lost" on where to start once they arrive here and expect a bit of a handhold. The videos can be helpful, but in its current form one sort of needs to just click around and discover where things are and how to use the website/app. Perhaps a bit more of leading the user to the right content to try out lingq for their level would be helpful. Many want to dive right in and not have to watch videos to begin with.
I also agree that I think there are just a lot of people that don't want to read anything, other than their twitter feed and facebook. Not sure if these have taken over people's reading time or if they would've had other distractions if social media wasn't around but it feels like people have dumbed down to some degree.
I think there's also a group that doesn't quite get the input method of reading and listening and how powerful it is. That it's its own form of SRS, minus the flashcards. You mean, I can read and I will learn words? How strange? =) But how can I learn if I'm not going through boring exercises?!
THUS from this I conclude that LingQ being "overcomplicated" is not an issue because compared to what people are doing with Anki, LingQ is a walk in the park. (Stewart)
I agree. LingQ´s "tech" part shouldn´t be an issue. But, there are other problems:
1. From my perspective, it´s not only about LingQ, but "flexible AudioReaders" in general. Stewart, you´ ve been teaching for quite a while: How many of your students know about flexible AudioReaders and the concept of "content control / flexibility / hunting"?
At least from my teaching experience for more than 10 years, it's in the "zero" range!
So my thesis is: many language learners don't have the slightest idea that such software (LingQ, ReadLang, LWT) even exists.
Well, I'm writing a book about "digital language learning" in which flexible AudioReaders like LingQ are crucial (in combination with other tools). So I hope we can make this tool category more popular.
2. Marketing: Language learning platforms like "Rosetta Stone" and "Babel" put a large part of their budget into marketing. And this aspect also affects visibility and popularity online!
3. The decline of reading, especially of longer and more complicated texts, and the rise of the visual / of multimedia due to the societal dominance of the digital domain: a lot of people that don't want to read anything (Eric)
I agree. In Germany, about 10 percent of the population is functionally illiterate. But, there are many adults who aren´t illiterate and yet rarely or never read books. This affects many things: the attention span, the processing and understanding of complex information, the ability to learn new things - and the use of Audio"Readers" :-)
4. a group that doesn't quite get the input method of reading and listening and how powerful it is (Eric)
We can generalize this statement by saying that the vast majority of language learners have no idea how to learn a foreign language effectively and efficiently.
In this respect, the school system has "totally" failed. That's why many people have completely distorted ideas about what "fluency" in an L2 means. Some believe that you have to master grammar rules perfectly, the next that you only have to memorize some phrases like a parrot or that you can reach B2 level fluency in a few "hours" (!), others believe that you can learn to speak / write well without listening / reading, etc. pp.
But, ok, the situation in math isn´t better. Therefore, no one should be surprised that many people don´t understand what, for example, "exponential" growth of a virus means.
5.. But, LingQ has some issues itself:
a. The software is too bloated because it wants to be more than an elegant and flexible AudioReader. It wants to be a comprehensive language learning platform, that is: a content-flexible AudioReader plus SRS plus writing forum plus speaking forum.
IMO the focus should be more (or exclusively?) on the flexible AudioReader. For the other functions there are "specialized" tools, i.e. more advanced SRS, writing forums, Italki & Co. etc.
b. Gamification has gone a bit awry. The avatar and its clothing store, for example, are pretty useless. Ditto for the "coins".
c. The user interface isn´t sleek enough. Here, the guiding principles should be "don't make me think" and "less is more"! If you need a lot of text or AV information to understand a digital app, it´s usually a bad sign.
d. The grammar guides are rather useless, especially because you can easily find grammar information on the Interwebs.
e. There are too many forums: For example, the distinction between a "Premium" and an "Open" forum doesn´t make much sense to me!
f. The orientation for beginners could be improved: Perhaps a bit more of leading the user to the right content to try out lingq for their level would be helpful" Spot on, Eric!
g. There should be more FAQs reg. common technical issues: How many times have we discussed on the forums how to import something into LingQ? How many times have we discussed how to convert a Kindle book? etc. IMO there is too much redundancy on the forums regarding trivial Q&A.
But, ok, we´re all waiting for the arrival of LingQ version 5.0, in which some of the issues I mentioned, will probably be solved.
Have a nice day
I just have a trust issue with premade sentence decks now (Stewart)
I see. But I´m more pragmatic in this context.
Let's say I want to use an Anki deck with 10 k sentences (plus audio) and it takes about 3 minutes to create a single card, then it´ll take me about 500 hours to create the whole deck.
Therefore, if there´s a 1-5 percent error rate in a pre-made Anki deck, I can live with that because I´ve gained hundreds of hours that I can use for massive immersion.
I don't expect perfection here, but opt for a sober cost-benefit consideration.
Anki can be a bit complex (not too bad I think really) but it's a great tool. Especially in the early phases, I think, where you don't have the vocab to read interesting material. Migaku is complicated though yeah, the install process, and it's riddle with bugs and problems, I tried it.
People quit and go to reading/listening because as you develop a good vocabulary you need to develop comprehension fluency at the intermediate level. This requires lots of reading and listening, and yeah you can get burned out on Anki as it's pretty boring at times.
When you want to get to the higher advanced levels Anki is great again (you don't exactly need it) because unknown words appear less and less frequently, and the amount of repetitions you need to learn a word is high. This is especially useful with Asian languages where there are so many cognates, and the vocab is hard to learn.
So without a tool like Anki to help with vocab you'll have to read so much to advance your vocabulary., like you did with your native language I agree though a combination of reading/input + flashcards (doesn't have to be anki) is great.
A problem with how the Ajatt/MIA guys use flashcards is they only focus on recognition, there's no effortful recall. This is not an efficient way to learn and memorize new material, lots of research evidence on this. This is also a problem with reading/lingq/input because you're only recognizing not actively recalling. Try the website Universe of Memory, Bartoz the guy who writes it really knows the research on this and is good with languages. His reasoning is solid, on efficient vocabulary learning.
Any specific articles you recommend looking at? The only thing that seemed interesting was when he mentioned activating vocabulary faster which led to a VocabularyLabs site but it turns out to be an expensive product that I'm not gonna buy.
The stuff about passive and active learning I liked, it was more the research that he references that was very interesting to me. I investigated it and started using a lot more "effortful recall" in my learning. Producing by speaking out loud, using flashcards that made me recall the words rather than just recognize them. Active production of sentences to practice and reinforce tricky grammar points. I think he mentions that in his grammar article. No need to buy any fancy courses I think.
I still like input, you can't escape listening practice, and reading is just good in general. But I found I just learn more efficiently when I include more of this active learning, where I have to recall and use the material. Hope it helps anyway.
The comment about anki taking a thousand hours to set up was pretty obviously a joke to emphasize that it is a complicated app.
The reason why plenty folks preach anki is because they have had success with it. I have and it's good for one thing and one thing only: rapid acquisition of vocab. LingQ could do this in theory but it seems clunky to me tbh. But then again maybe I'm just used to anki.
That said, where lingQ absolutely shines is in almost effortless grammar acquisition which is something that is difficult AF to do in anki. I've tried using anki for grammar before and my brain collapsed. lingQ rocks grammar acquisition.
But different strokes etc. I'm not giving up anki but neither am I giving up lingQ, it is a necessary part of the process IMO.
I agree with you! I have only had this app for a week, and the amount of progress I am making is phenomenal. I have studied French for two and a half years, and I have been doing well enough in reading and writing on my own. However, I lacked the ability to listen to conversations or dialogue in a movie. My ears are really becoming attuned with this app. The only thing I can think of is that the APP definitely needs some work. I can't watch the YouTube videos nor import into the APP. I have to do everything on the computer. It needs to be more streamlined. That said, it is still the best APP out there for real language learning. I used Pimsleur to get a foundation. It was great for giving me a foundation. I tried Rosetta Stone. I feel that was a total waste of money. Duo Lingo gets me absolutely no where. Although, I think it's a cute idea. I've used a few more, but LingQ is where it is at!
Thanks for the nice comment (I work at LingQ). We're always working to improve the LingQ experience and have some big updates set for this year.
Regarding your concern, "I can't watch the YouTube videos nor import into the APP. I have to do everything on the computer. It needs to be more streamlined.", I think I can help.
Besides being able to import YouTube videos into LingQ via desktop, you can also import content (including YouTube) using the mobile app. The procedure is different depending on whether or not you have an iPhone or an Android phone.
As for watching YouTube videos in the App, you should be able to. Open a lesson you imported from YouTube in LingQ, select the 3 dots and there should be an option to play the YouTube video.
I think a reason a lot of Youtubers in particular constantly recommend these other websites/programs is because well they are being paid to do so. I've seen many a YouTube video where its very obviously a paid advertisement for whatever app they are talking about. Of course, there is nothing wrong with them making money on their videos but you have to take things with a grain of salt sometimes.
I have tried many of these language learning apps/programs and so far Lingq is the one that has helped me improve the most and at much faster pace. Of course, I also do a lot of offsite immersion as well.
Some of those top 10 lists (as well as best language app articles) were commissioned. LingQ isn't interested in such things.
Yeah if they were all or mostly commissioned, that makes sense why LingQ wouldn't be on the list. Otherwise it just doesn't make sense why it wouldn't be on lists as a slightly harder but extremely effective program.
Of the back of this - I'm curious how most LingQ users found this platform in the first place. I'm very glad I did. It definitely has flown under the radar in the language learning space.
I watch some of those "Polyglot" Youtube video's where they frequently mention study tools (sometimes paid advertising and sometimes an explanation of actual tools that they use) and I've only ever seen LingQ mentioned a few times, obviously of course by Steve himself, and then one other Youtuber ColeLangs...
After I heard the name mentioned a few times I googled it to see what it was all about. How did you guy's come across LingQ?
I first heard of it from a Luca Lampariello talk. Then after watching Steve's videos and reading reviews on the pros and cons, I dived in.
I found Steve's videos on Youtube. I was immediately interested in his methods and Krashen's thinking about language learning, but took a little longer to warm up to LingQ itself. But I'm glad I did!
Same here. Although it took me a while to try it. He would always talk about LingQ at length in his videos. I have always been fascinated by the idea of input, which I first heard of long before even knowing names like Krashen or Kaufmann. It was some Polish guys on an pretty old website called antimoon.com who came up with the first SRS app called Supermemo. I am actually pissed I didn't know about lingQ back in 2009, when I studied Russian at University. I knew about input, but I had a hard time implementing it and finding good materials as well as motivation. Had I known about LingQ, I am pretty sure having an app where everything is at one place would have helped me better motivate myself and avoid all my Russian 'drama' at university. I had no idea LingQ has been around for so long and for some reason I only got to hear about it in 2019. I am also pissed at all my classmates and professors, none of whom had any clue about lingQ either. Instead, we used some stupid communist materials clearly typed on a typewriter.
I'm constantly amazed at the number of people I meet who study languages who have never heard of LingQ, and some of them have been studying for a long time.
I'm not sure where I first heard of LingQ. Either I read about it somewhere like reddit, or Steve's videos started popping up in my youtube "feed". Either way, Steve's videos are ultimately what really got me interested in the whole concept and I still look forward to every new video he does.
Someone recommended it in the comments section of the Slate Star Codex blog.
I had been using language apps for years and never heard about Lingq until last November. I was checking Black Friday deals in All Languages Resources site and after seeing tons of apps, I came across this review https://www.alllanguageresources.com/lingq-review/ and was pleasantly surprised, a bit like a dream come true considering that I love Languages, statistics and the approach of seeing known, unknown and new words meanwhile you are reading was exactly what I had been waiting for.
Probably the main problems of the site is the lack of promotion, is a bit like the best kept secret of Languages apps, like an indie band that you feel that probably would be huge if most people were aware of their existence.
Aside from that could be more popular if the lessons, Lingqs, and the site overall were less messy. Anyway, is probably my fault:), I am messy:). After just 4 months on the site and doing French and English, everytime I search for a book, song or article that I added to my lessons in the past I have a hard time to find it amongst my lessons, so I just forget what I was doing and then probably start to read new content based just on the most recent likes, that's a bit messy and can put off new users. Also, as pointed out in the All Languages review the Lingqs after a few days became a mess too, I have currently 225 notifications to review 3007 Lingqs in French, to be honest I stopped reviewing lingqs after a couple of days, is just unmanageable, anyway are useful when you are reading texts and encounter again all these words for which you created lingqs, and also force you to check all the unknown words in the text instead of assuming the meaning by context. I think the approach of the site focusing in creating at least 13 new lingqs per day to keep your streak is unpractical and unrealistic, that means around 5000 lingqs per year, is impossible to keep up. I also love adding lingqs for sentences or expressions or parts of sentences, so in not much time I can create 100 lingqs, which obviously I won´t study later:).
Having said that, before joining Lings I had almost quit French in level A1-A2 and struggled in French even reading A1-A2 abridged books, now I can understand (reading slowly and with some work/research) most B1-B2 content or even some C1 when I am reading, so studying Lingqs is not that important as long as you keep reading and listening:)
I watched Steve Kaufman videos and much of what he said aligned with my experience of teaching myself Spanish so I knew he wasn't full of shit. I did a free trial and it helped my grammar with pretty much no pain so I was sold. I still use anki for vocab though.
To put it simply, most non-English language learners in the world never progress beyond a beginner level.
This is why for any given language, you've find that beginner material on youtube has WAAAAAAY more views than intermediate or advanced. People wash out.
The other apps you mentioned are mainly focused on beginners.
LingQ is basically impossible for absolute beginners in any language that doesn't use roman script. Even with the pinyin feature, for a newcomer to Chinese, even the easiest content will be exhausting.
If you go somewhere where people actually study hard (reddit/r/ChineseLanguage for one) you'll find that LingQ gets way more love.
I would guess the LingQ user base takes their learning far more seriously than users of gamified apps do, hence why we're willing to pay (And compared to paying for classes, it's a complete steal!).
I would guess the LingQ user base takes their learning far more seriously
than users of gamified apps.
Probably. But high attrition rates in the range of 90 per cent are a problem of "all" online learning platforms beyond language learning.
So, how many LingQers reach a "master", i.e. (lower) C-level in learning a specific L2? Let's say
- ca. 2 million words read
- ca. 500 hours for listening,
- ca. 100 hours for speaking
- ca. 50-100 k words in writing
The problem is: It'll take you years. And if you don't make (daily) learning a part of your identity and your lifestyle, it'll wear you out - rather sooner than later.
In other words, no app / learning platform can save you from yourself if you don't know how to be an effective and efficient independent learner.
Unfortunately, our school systems often don't produce independent learners who know how to learn effectively and efficiently. From my teaching experience this is not only true for language learning, but also for (higher) math or programming.
Therefore, the most common learning styles you can observe in many school children are:
- rote learning
- relying on others (parents, siblings, tutors, etc.) or tools (e.g., apps) to solve their problems and just imitate the solutions presented to them.
With this in mind, no one should be surprised when learners turn to free, colorful gamified apps that promise effortless learning. All the more so if pain avoidance, i.e. a low discomfort and frustration tolerance, is part of the attitude of many learners.
Oh, and I blamed the fact that I had quit Chinese on LingQ on my lack of motivation and laziness. So I actually wasn't even supposed to start at LingQ from scratch. Yes, compared to German, it was just way too overwhelming to me, but I just thought that I should have ground it out somehow, just like thousands of others here.
I'm probably overlapping a lot of ideas. I've read and agree with most everything said here.
Here are my thoughts...
1. I think people think they can just spend a half hour here and there for a year and they will have learned the language. This comes from the Benny's "learn a language in 3 months" nonsense. Don't take this entirely wrong, I think you can learn a language at a half hour at a time or even ten minutes a day as I spent a lot of time doing myself, however, I know now it will simply take a lot longer for me to learn the language. But I know I've improved, it's evident. I still have a LONG way to go.
2. As others have mentioned, things like duolingo and memrise give you the sense of learning a lot. It is gamified and fun and to be honest I think they do serve a learner well in the beginning. I used Memrise in the beginning stages of my German learning. I think it was fantastic to get me interested and get me through the beginning stages in a fun way...and the beginning stages you have a balance of the fun of learning something new with the relatively boring nature of beginner content (this might also be where "input based" may fall short for the beginner as the content is not particularly compelling.
3. People can't make sense out of input based learning. They think they need to go through a structured course. They think they need to be drilling grammar and doing flash cards with Anki and SRS. So when they come across LingQ...especially withouth some context, I think they simply aren't quite sure about it or how to go about things. With a structure course, they feel like they are progressing because they are going through each lesson even though they could be learning a whole lot more by reading and listening.
4. For input based learning, I think you really need to find your own content. You have to be prepared to search for it and as it pertains to lingQ or any other input type application you may have to fiddle with things. Some people simply don't want to be bothered I think. There is a lot of great content in the feed, but I think as someone else pointed out, many people are too impatient to read. There are so many distractions these days and all the social media apps are like crack.
5. LingQ can be a little confusing. This goes back I think to #3....I think people aren't quite sure how to go about input based learning. They feel uncomfortable with the lack of structure. They feel uncomfortable with relatively fewer milestones. I think LingQ addresses this all to my satisfaction but I think others need more "reward". I'm not sure the best answer here. The layout is also a bit confusing. I already knew what I wanted to import into LingQ and I had watched many of Steve's videos before joining so I already had some plans in mind. Once I had been around the site a bit longer then I could start to find my way around.
6. People have no concept how much work you need to put into learning a language to a degree where you can actually do something interesting with it other than order food in a restaurant. This goes back to #1 a bit. If you want to get good you need to put in a lot of time. Most people aren't interested in putting in that time. They need to have a compelling reason to keep going and if they don't have it they will stop. I suspect for all these other popular apps there are not a lot of people who continue beyond that app. If anything they may pick another language to go through the "tree", but then they don't pursue it any further if they even make it that far.
Unfortunately I think it will take more education for people to understand the benefits of the input based approach and so far there's not been much of anything that can handhold for some people that need it. LingQ is a powerful tool but you do need to have some patience and I think to get the most out of it you need to look for your own compelling input. Most people, I think, don't have the patience and want to be lead.
This comes from the Benny's "learn a language in 3 months" nonsense.
No, Eric. The online/offline learning industry in general is only responding to the mindset of many learners
Pain avoidance learners, i.e. learners with a very "low" frustration / discomfort tolerance for whom everything has to be fun, effortless, easy, fast, etc. are the vast majority of the learning pool right now.
So if you say to these learners, "Hey, you want to learn Japanese up to a high level? You only need 3-4000 hours for that!", many will run away as if you were the devil himself :-)
The strategy therefore is often to hook learners by promising: "Hey, learning is just an effortless,,fun, and quick pleasure trip."
Of course, the problem begins when learners come to the realization that they have been misled and the effortless learning solution has over-promised but under-delivered.
To put it differently, there are long-term trends like infantilization, gamification, etc. in the learning industry that react to two basic processes:
1) The temporal extension of learning. That is, learning, esp. for knowledge workers, never stops.
2) The academization of more strata of the population
The result is that you have a larger proportion of learners who don't know how to learn independently, effectively and efficiently. .
In fact, what he promises in his "Fluent in 3 month" program is that a learner can have a 15 min conversation with a tutor if he/she is willing to put in the work, i.e. about 45 min of learning (almost) every day for 3 months. This is a realistic goal.
And you can even reach a B1/B2 (conversational) fluency in 3 months when you focus on speaking / listening and put in ca. 400-600 hours of work.
Of course, if you want to reach a native-speaker like level à la Matt Bonder("MattVSJapan) in Japanese in all four domains, i.e., listening, reading, speaking, and writing, you have to invest thousands of hours to achieve that. People who claim that such a level is attainable within in a few days, weeks, or months have either no clue what they're talking about or are just quacks who want to sell you snake oil.
Benny is definitely not one of those quacks, because he tells you exactly what is possible in a three-month period - and what is not!
The funny thing I was pulled in with Benny's "3-month" idea to begin with. I read many of his blog posts and much of what he's written is pretty good. I pictured learning a whole bunch of languages in a few years =D. I never did Benny's program so I don't know what it ultimately says, but the "outside cover" certainly leaves the impression to folks that it will be easy. I agree with everything you've said about people's mindset though.
I also think the smartest people are going to be the ones that tend to read a lot. I suppose those are usually the better self learners too. Another issue in society as a whole, unfortunately, I think, is social media. It's really changed people fundamentally. They need those quick hits, rewards, etc. If something isn't providing it in that manner, it gets displaced.
the "outside cover" certainly leaves the impression to folks that it will be easy.
Yes, that's true.
Unfortunately, you have to position your platform in the online learning market in a way that attracts customers - at least if you want to have a business. Therefore, you can find these "quick fix" formulas everywhere:
- Busuu: "Learn a language in 10 minutes a day"
- Assimil: "Learn Japanese, German, etc. with ease" (deutsch: "Ohne Mühe").
But, it's the same in the fitness or IT industry with "1, 2, 3, etc. minute abs" or learning how to program in a fast, easy, effortless and "no thinking, just clicking" kind of way :-). .
The question is:
Can you tell learners the truth that it'll be a long learning journey when they want to master a challenging skill? I'm not so sure any more.
My teaching experience, both with teenagers (including their parents) and busy professionals in a business setting, is that an immersion program is often unacceptable because they see it as too time-intensive. Even Benny's "45 min a day" formula combined "with content you love" (LingQ) is for many people just "too much". However, many learners find it ok to play around with a gamified app a few minutes a day.
I also think the smartest people are going to be the ones that tend to read a lot.
Yes, I couldn't agree more. But with the rise of the digital, we've seen a shift towards the visual and multimedia. That's why Youtube or Instagram have much more influence worldwide than the textual platform "Medium," for example.
Another issue in society as a whole, unfortunately, I think, is social media. It's really changed people fundamentally.
Absolutely. Social media has been a digital game changer, not only in terms of how it affects our attention span, but also in terms of how false, flashy, violent, derogatory, etc. information spreads because of the underlying algorithms.
The problem isn't necessarily social media per se, but how these algorithms operate to generate ad-based revenue.
Right. Benny isn't wrong at all when talking about languages closely related to English. I think he's off by a factor of two (but six months is still good enough).
For that reason I tried to do a six month challenge in French and it absolutely worked. But I put in 2-3 solid hours a day of anki, watching videos and lingQ.
I'm currently doing the same thing with Russian (a month in) and I don't expect to have the same degree of success as with French but I do expect to have some decent success.
I think where Benny went off the wall is that easy to learn languages for English speakers have a *ton* of vocabulary already baked in (especially French and Spanish) whereas languages that are further away do not. You can get away with not developing a technique for learning unrecognizable words when learning French or Spanish because so many of the French/Spanish words are almost identical to English. In Russian or Chinese or Arabic you are forced to develop a technique to memorize what is essentially streams and streams of gibberish words. That takes way more effort, so Benny is wrong. But he's not DEAD wrong. If he split the difference between FSI and his fluent in 3 months I'd say he would be right. I believe that the technique can be simplified and I also think that Steve Kaufman has cracked a large part of it.
At its core, what Lingq proposes is utterly simple, absolutely effective and also wildly unpopular:
Put in the hard work, be consistent and patient and you'll get results.
The vast majority will always prefer miracle diets to consistent workouts and healthy eating.
To add to what others have said, and mainly because I have thought maybe too much about this, I just want to suggest a couple ideas. You will have to excuse me from not developing them, I claim that it would take way too much time.
Actually I said a couple ideas but there is only one: monetization. LingQ as an app is a huge contradiction, its content is mainly user based but it is built on a subscription system. Could you imagine YouTube with a subscription based monetization like Netflix or Netflix with an add-based revenue like Youtube? If YouTube, which at its start shared much of the ideas of an app like LingQ, didn’t evolve into a platform that allowed his users to creatively use the app, then it probably would have been eaten by other platforms that did manage to do that.
What do I mean by monetization? Exactly what Youtube does, the ability of putting a price to your content, to sell at a reasonable price whatever you decide to publish and eventually the implementation of adds. Ideally this will end the subscription model and we will end up paying only for the lessons/books/podcasts that we’ll want to consume and that will be made by the users.
Doesn’t this already happen? As far as my understanding goes, which is not very far unfortunately, the idea of making the site a showcase for tutors has been a failure. I don’t know a single person that does use this site for it, and everyone that I know that takes online speaking-oriented courses goes to other sites, way more attractive and with more offer, like Italki. Same for private lessons, which although I’ve tried to made some research before writing this, I can’t even open them…
Do you really want us to have adds? I want LingQ to have money, and with money content and with content exposure. I’m browsing again through the reasons that other people have adduced and it is so obvious that it’s almost childish to point it out, but they are all result of not having, or not using money and resources.
I’m afraid that it takes me too much time to write in English and that I’m growing a bit tired so I will finish with this.
Is content a problem? There is little incentive for a new user to approach LingQ other that a Patreon subscription, and a very expensive one. You pay 12 euros a month and you get access to an amount of set content on which you don’t have much agency (the editing system and the visibility of the sharing lessons are awful), and even when you are told, and it’s true, that you could import and do whatever you want, it turns out that the looking for what you want is also a very tedious task for the average and not so average user.
I can not agree with the people that say that generally the content of LingQ is engaging, in every language I’ve studied 90% (to say a random number) is in the best case low-effort, in the worst spammy nonsense. Japanese is a big offender in this sense, and in other languages like Greek it’s even simpler since you don’t have any engaging content at all (!).
But then again, the quality of the content is also a result of money.
Thank god I wanted to write a short note… Honestly I don’t even know why I wrote all this…It could have used a bit more order and organization of the ideas, I apologize about that.
(nb. For those that think that a monetization system like Youtube is not feasible due to copyright issues, I just want to answer that the very same problems are found in Youtube itself. If I, LingQ user, upload a lesson/book/audio with copyright how is it in any way different with the person that uploads those same content to YouTube? I guess DMCAs and all the jazz would have to be implemented but I don’t see how this is a problem)
Good thoughts! I think on the monetization thing, it is a matter of scale. Youtube's user base is measured in hundreds of millions. LingQ's is probably measured in thousands, maybe tens of thousands, but either way those thousands are spread over 40 languages and most likely do not use the platform as a whole as much as those same people use Youtube.
LingQ as an app is a huge contradiction, its content is mainly user based but it is built on a subscription system..
I disagree. LingQ is, at its core, a content-flexible AudioReader, but it isn't a library of pre-packaged content.
In other words, as a LingQ user I want two things:
- a high degree of freedom regarding the content I'd like to digest. In short, it's about content control.
- an assistance in making content comprehensible that would otherwise be to difficult for me.
These are the two basic functions that can take any language learner from a basic level to the most advanced, i.e. native speaker like level. And LingQ does a pretty good job at that, even though there's room for improvement in many areas. All other functions like the SRS, tutors, writing forum, etc. are nice-to-haves, but not must-haves because, as you correctly note, there are other tools for that.
That being said, I personally don't need "any" of the content that LingQ support or other users provide. Just give me "content control" - that's enough. Why? Especially from a B2 level upwards, I'm interested in subjects I've specialized in (computer science, international politics, sociology, entrepreneurship, etc.). But I don't expect other users to know what interests me. Or to put it another way: what interests me doesn't necessarily interest others - and vice versa.
it turns out that the looking for what you want is also a very tedious task for the average and not so average user
No, it isn't. For example, in the languages I'm interested in right now (Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese), there's more content available (news sites, TV and radio programs, Youtube videos, Netflix series / movies, graded readers, podcasts / audio files, e-books, comics / mangas / light novels, blog posts, etc.) than I can digest in a lifetime.
The problem starts when a learner adopts a more or less passive "don't make me think" attitude. That's exactly the opposite what is expected from an independent learner and content hunter.
If I, LingQ user, upload a lesson/book/audio with copyright how is it in any way different with the person that uploads those same content to YouTube?
Many LingQ users usually don't generate their own content. They just use the content provided by others! In contrast, (professional) Youtubers do produce and upload their own content.
Normally, as a LingQ user, you also don't share your own copyrighted material (Kindle books, Audible audio files, etc.). You simply use it privately.
BTW, if I remember correctly, LingQ offers the possibility for professional content creators to offer their (course) material for a fee. But this feature seems to be hardly used.
It is a library of pre-packaged content, and mainly of user based one. Just browsing the guided course in greek you can find:
(number of lessons/owned by users/owned by lingq_support) -A1 (7/4/3) -A2 (6/5/1) -B1 (4/4/0) -B2 (3/3/0) -C1 (0) -C2 (1/1/0)
Two notes, as far as I understand, when a user deletes his account the ownership of the lesson goes to lingq_support so it’s unclear as to who actually made the lesson originally. Second, not knowing the affiliation of the members that published those lessons, I can not discard that they shared them in tandem with lingQ, if such a collaboration was done long time ago. The numbers are very clear. Now yes, it is not only a library of pre-packaged content, but I think it’s safe to assume that not everyone (and I would say more, almost no one) uses the app like you, an experienced user, and that the vast majority consume, at the very least in their first contact with the app (I know I did), that pre-packaged content. And we are talking about months of content.
It’s really not important what you or me or any other long time user do with the app, or if at its core it is “a content-flexible AudioReader” (point on which I wholeheartedly agree); it is not important if the question is why lingQ is not popular: your use or mine of the app is not that of most people.
I know how awkward this may sound from someone like me with no access to solid data or statistics to back up my claims, yet I don’t think anything I asserted is far-fetched or fanciful. I do believe that although lingQ is one of the few apps out there that support long-scope, diligent and independent language study, the vast majority of his users make a use of it that is not very different from the users of Duolingo, Memrise, Anki, Italki etc.
And if you believe that, like I do, the only answer to “why is lingQ is not popular” has to be the result of lacking many features of those very same apps (and an intelligent monetization is a feature). The feasibility of the remaining features that people have more or less rightfully asked here and in other treads is a consequence of that.
I did read on an old post that the current monetization system is already the best result of exploring many different options. I’ll take their word, but I’m not convinced.
Of course you could pretend like many do in this tread (and the many other treads like this that will keep appearing monthly…), with a conceited tone, that lingQ users are better than those using the mainstream apps, or that people don’t know enough Krashen, or that they don’t read and are lazy, as if any of this explained why lingQ as an app is not popular. Frankly this tread is also a confirmation of my point that lingQ users on average, are those very same that you could find, and that you do find on the mainstream apps.
I’m afraid I only managed to reply to your first sentence (!). I’m really not fitted for this, but I’ll try to comment also on the rest another day. Sorry.
a library of pre-packaged content
As far as I understand it, and I think Eric from LingQ also said this in one of his forum posts some time ago, this kind of content is only meant to give a "boost" or "push", especially at the beginner stages.
But as learners, at least of mainstream languages like English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, etc., we don't need this content because the WWW is full of enough material for all language levels to import into LingQ.
There are other apps like "News in Slow XY" that follow the "curated content" business model, but I'd say this isn't the LingQ approach.
an intelligent monetization is a feature
From a business perspective, the main pain point of your approach is that LingQ users usually don't produce the content they import into LingQ, so they aren't able to monetize it. In contrast, many people who make money on YouTube are (professional) content creators.
Don't get me wrong, I'm neither pro nor contra your monetization idea. But I don't see how it can be implemented without a lot of copyright infringement. And if the implementation of your idea involves massive copyright violations, then this would mean the end of LingQ!
the vast majority of his users make a use of it that is not very different from the users of Duolingo, Memrise, Anki, Italki etc.
The tools you mention can't replace flexible audio readers , but they can complement them.
Personally, I see flexible audio readers like LingQ, ReadLang or LWT as important tools for massive immersion. Without this tool category, massive immersion is much more difficult, though not impossible. In other words, bilingual reading of texts with / without audio support is still possible without using audio reader software, but spaced repetition systems like Duoliingo, Anki, Memrise, Recall, etc. are no match for it.
However, I'm in favor of using several tools, e.g. more advanced spaced repetition systems, speaking platforms, writing forums, etc., in combination with flexible audio readers. The important thing is, in my experience / opinion, to find the "right (tool) mix" at every stage of the language learning journey.
that lingQ users on average, are those very same that you could find, and that you do find on the mainstream apps
It's hard to say without more detailed stats, but at least from my teaching experience I'd say that many people have no clue on how to learn a foreign language on their own. So, they rely on three approaches:
- They repeat what they know from school, that is, they want a more structured and more or less grammar-heavy approach à la Busuu, Babbel, etc..
- They choose an app based on word-of-mouth.
- They choose an app based on the "wisdom of the crowd" logic, that is: "XY must be good if so many people are using it!"
These approaches are "rational" strategies for navigating the complex terrain of second language acquisition online. But, unfortunately, they don't work well if you don't know what you're doing. So, for example, spending hundreds of hours on Duolingo and not being able to understand simple sentences in a conversation (!) like "This is an apple. You can eat it!" should show a Duolingo user (like my neighbor) that there's something seriously wrong with the a-communicative, drill-based Owl approach :-)
However, I agree with you. LingQ has definitely room for improvement (e.g., the user interface should be streamlined, downgrading should be simplified, etc.) but I don't see how your monetization idea can be successfully implemented.
Have a nice day
Why isnt reading in general more popular, no matter if in a target language or in a native language?
I would say the online world pretty much shattered a lot of peoples attention span. We are more used to browsing around, clicking from one link to the next than sitting down and reading a continuous novel of several hundred pages. These apps are more geared towards that mindset.
Playing around with an app, while waiting for the bus, clicking a bit here and there is a much smaller commitment than reading through long texts in a strange language. It allows you to feel like you are doing something useful with minimal effort.
Also these apps are free to use which Lingq is not. So you can sign up no matter whether or not you are actually dedicated.
So Lingq being a more serious tool plus the subscription fee will filter out a great amount of people.
Great question! - I've wondered this myself for a while now. Here's my top 10;
1. People being detoured from the free trial features (Hopefully will be addressed more in 5.0)
2. Not being patient with the platform, (Not as optimal/user friendly as they want it to be; not as guiding like other platforms.)
3. The price (which is silly when most music streaming apps are about LingQ's monthly fee anyway)
4. The "Quick Fix" (as stated by ) or in other words; "a quick way to get speaking with little or any consideration to listening, reading and comprehensible input.
5. Wanting a "steady progression" of material much like Duo or Memrise for example; which can only go so far. AND wanting an "all-in-one" type package that excels at listening, reading, speaking, writing, flashcards, grammar etc.
6. Conflicting interests with apps/platforms they are already using and might think are better (I think days of french and Swedish is best at vocalising the frustrations with this.)
7. Convincing themselves they are a "certain type of learner" when perhaps they are evading something that involves a bit more effort. (I understand people have different ways of learning things and am not knocking things that generally are suitable to the individual. But I feel that some people just don't give other things a chance sometimes to see if it actually can work for them.)
8. Expecting fluency (especially early on) when it's really about getting generally proficient and better at their TL over practice and time. (will do a post about this hopefully in the future.)
9. The general layout and structure (as mentioned by )
10. Expecting the same results into how they learned they 2nd (or more) TL.
And more... :/
I started LingQ pretty much from scratch after about 3 months of Duolingo and I can honestly say this is best platform I have used so far :) It's not perfect, but I think this is one of those platforms that will get better with time.
Matt from Japan polyglot did not use LingQ for speaking Japanese fluently while living in the USA. Everyone has their own way of learning a language that matches their personality. Mass consumption of media and books coupled with using a free SRS app like Anki.
Yeah, I for sure wouldn't say there are no other ways to learn, and people obviously reached fluency in other languages before LingQ. Or the internet. Or books.
I think my question is more aimed at why are apps that will not get you to fluency even if you use them for years always more highly rated than LingQ on these lists? I think it probably has to do with popularity and price (i.e. free for many of them).
I suppose people want a quick fix. It easy to do a bit of Duo a and feel like you accomplised something.
Compared to Lingq where you have to read stuff. It exposes you to how much you dont know which can be demotivating.
If you want to become fluent you will need start read books at some point. Importing books is a process that can take time.
A third reason is price. I think it is something like 12 dollars a month. I have heard people whine that lingq is not free.
Yeah, what kills me about the price is that people will pay like $500 for Rosetta Stone. Your value for an annual subscription at LingQ is so much greater, and it (comparatively) only costs $120. I don't get it.
The comparison isn't valid here, rosetta stone pays to have professional content on its platform, lingq not so much. Lingq is a reading aid at its base, content is self-provided by the user.
layout and structure I think. I used to teach Japanese and introduced Linqq to all my students. My students didn't know much Japanese. None really used it after trying it once, blaming mostly the horrendous layout and difficulty in finding how everything works.
However, I'm also in a French class and told some of my fellow students. This class is at an advanced level and a lot of people appreciated it - It probably being easier to navigate if you're just looking to get some advanced texts and just need to use a dictionary, rather than trying to figure out how everything works and not knowing how to read even basic texts.
Also a major element is that you probably already need to be convinced of the viability of Krashen's theory and not focus too much on grammatical study (which, as far as I know, is still the dominant way of learning languages) to really get into lingq.
I think you hit on something really key here. LingQ is hard if you jump into a language with no background. That probably is why your Japanese beginners were less enamored than the folks who already had something of a handle on French. While I came to LingQ already knowing quite a few Russian words, I tried to start German from scratch and quickly switched to another site to gain a few hundred words of basic vocabulary and grammar rules before I jump back into LingQ.
Starting LingQ from scratch is pretty brutal if you're not already a little familiar with the target language and some vocabulary, and even Steve uses other things like Assimil to get started in addition to LingQ.
But that said, I still think it should feature more prominently on lists of language learning apps.
Good point about Krashen also. I always despised learning grammar rules, so when I found Steve's Youtube videos talking about not worrying about grammar specifics and just picking it up as you go, that was a huge draw for me to try out LingQ.
Also i don't know if lingq still does the 200 dollars for a lifetime language but that is a whole lot cheaper than the 500 dollar Rosetta Stone lolol. But yeah lingq for beginners in a language like Japanese or my experience Korean was extremely scary in the beginning even Spanish was scary but after the initial shock the value is absurd and lingq tracks stats and has a forum of very advanced language learners it is crazy to see that lingq is not more popular. Also import from Netflix and import anything you want is nice as well.
I was just googling out of curiosity which are the best language learning apps and was shocked to find list after list that didn't include Lingq. In fact it wasn't until I checked a list of 34 apps, that I finally found Lingq mentioned, which makes me think that Lingq has some work to do in publicizing itself. And of course all of us can help with that by mentioning Lingq whenever we can.
But the way people have a problem of unsubscribing from the platform they are unwilling to do a word of mouth marketing for LingQ. There have been endless emails regarding finding an appropriate button to do so. I think in some aspect customer service should be improved on the part of LingQ.
I read on this forum quite a bit and I have found that every question regarding unsubscribing has been answered swiftly. I also have written an E-Mail to support on 2 occasions due to technical problems and have received an answer both times within hours. The customer support is not a problem in my experience.
@cheska99 This was the genesis of the entire thread. It's not necessarily that people don't stick with LingQ. It's that it rarely comes up on lists when people search for apps to use. It's always Duolingo and Memrise.
"It's always Duolingo and Memrise."
IMO, there are two main reasons for this (apart from the marketing efforts):
- their basic versions are free
- they have a large user base, which attracts more users due to "wisdom of the crowd" and "word-of-mouth". And this creates an auto-dynamic à la the "Matthew effect" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_effect).
However, from a business standpoint, Duolingo's approach isn't convincing:
- As a stand-alone product it's rather ineffective. And this is what many users don't seem to understand: if something is free but ineffective, it's still ineffective, while at the same time they "pay" with their precious time!
- The premium version has almost nothing to offer compared to the basic version so "premium" doesn't make much (business) sense in this case.
In contrast, as a business, "Babel" is much more successful than Duolingo. And an important reason for this is that they have one of the best marketing of all digital language learning plattforms.
Yeah, word of mouth and large user base are helpful. Rosetta Stone is certainly not free, but also comes up frequently, probably because it is well known and one of the older digital platforms out there. It's sad and disappointing that a program as effective as LingQ rarely makes the internet lists alongside the established but (comparatively) useless or ineffective apps.