Getting Started - Two Weeks at LingQ Academy

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Day 1

I always like to say that the most important aspect of language learning is the attitude of the learner. The most important thing in language learning is to relax. If you are going to learn a language, or improve in a language, you have to relax and eliminate stress. Language learning is an easy, gradual, yet natural process. At LingQ we do not believe in drills, complicated explanations, or forcing you to speak until you are ready. You will learn to speak gradually, and that way you will enjoy your studies.

Your learning experience has to be enjoyable. If you find yourself doing things that you do not enjoy: Stop! Immediately. If you enjoy what you are doing, your brain will learn the language, perhaps not as quickly as you would like, but it will learn. So when you forget things, or cannot understand things, do not worry. Things will click in when you least expect it.

Choose appropriate lessons

Click to open the New Course popup on the Learn page.

Select the course level or levels you are looking for and, if you like, choose tags of interest.

Use the New Words number to further guide you. You will start to get a feel for which courses and lessons are appropriate for you. In general, the lower the New Words number, the easier it will be.

Choose something of interest. If you are interested, you will learn better.

Note: If you are a beginner, a good place to start is with the Greetings and Goodbyes course, then continue with other lessons in Beginner 1. The Greetings and Goodbyes, Who is She? and Eating Out courses are available in all languages so you can find direct translations for these courses by going to the Library in your native language or a language that you understand.

Don't be afraid to try different lessons. If you don't like them or find them too easy or too difficult, delete them and find something else. There is no order. Lessons are free! Experiment to your heart's content. You will soon figure out what works for you. You may prefer to spend more time on a difficult lesson if it's topic interests you. Or, you may prefer moving through a simpler lesson more quickly. It's up to you.

Listen a few times, 2 or 3 or more if you feel like it. Do not worry about what you do not understand. Just let the sounds penetrate your brain.

Day 2

After listening to a lesson a few times you will read it. As you read, you will create LingQs.

Creating LingQs is so important we named the site after it! :-) You should create lots of LingQs. LingQ words you don't know or that you think you might know but aren't sure about. You can't LingQ too much. Your LingQs are now highlighted in yellow in all your lessons which is a very powerful reminder to focus on and learn these words.

When you have finished creating LingQs, make sure you click I Know All. This tells the system that you know the rest of the words. LingQ is then able to keep track of which words you know and more importantly, which words are new to you.

Review your LingQs using flashcards or simply in the lessons as you re-read them. It is important to review words soon after you first meet them. Don't expect to learn them right away. Just spend some time reviewing them. You will slowly get used to them and some words will be easier to learn than others. Gradually, if you review them, and see them again in your reading, and hear them again in your listening, they will stick in your brain.

Now go and listen again and again to the same content, especially if you are a beginner in the language. If you are more advanced you do not need to listen as often to the same lesson.

There are probably still parts that you do not understand. It does not matter. Remember that learning a language is a gradual process. These activities of listening, reading and reviewing your new words and phrases are gradually going to enable you to speak the language with confidence. Believe in yourself!

Day 3

I know you want to succeed in your language study.

I hope you are motivated. But there are things you can do to maintain your motivation. One is to develop good learning habits. Language learning requires a certain amount of intensity. Try to listen at least 45 minutes to one hour a day, just about every day. Make this a habit.

Listen to things that you find interesting. When you are bored with one lesson, move on to another one, whether you understand it or not.

If you are in the mood for reviewing your vocabulary using flashcards, do so. If you are not in the mood, don't. Try to do what you feel like doing. This will keep you motivated.

Creating LingQs is a new activity for you. Let the statistics motivate you. Try to surpass your weekly goals. These weekly goals are not difficult to achieve. If you strive to achieve your LingQs created, Known words and other goals, you will soon develop habits that will keep you going for a long time.

Just plain listening is the easiest way to get in time with the new language. It is easy to do, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes you are more focused than at other times. It does not matter. Develop the listening habit. Carry your language with you wherever you go.

Every now and again, when you feel in the mood, sit down at the computer and read and create some more LingQs. Creating LingQs is at the core of the learning process at LingQ. It builds a database that will help you learn, and will help your brain notice what happens in your new language.

Day 4

There are two kinds of listening for language learning, intensive listening and extensive listening. You will need to do both.

When you are beginning a language, you will need to focus on a small amount of content and listen to it many times. I mean 10 or even 20 times. This is intensive listening.

I really find repetitive listening to be a powerful language learning activity, if you have the patience to do it. It helps certain words and phrases to become a part of you.

When you are more advanced, you may still want to occasionally repeatedly listen to things that you like. However, you will also want to move on to more new and interesting content, and meet new words and phrases.

In either case, I usually begin by listening, without reading, one or more times, before starting to read the text. This gives me some momentum for my reading, and also makes me "hungrier" to learn the new words.

Are you ready for another lesson? Go to the next lesson in the course. It's a good idea to stay with one course for a while. It is easier to learn from familiar content. Of course, if you prefer a new course, find another one on the Learn page.

Spend the next few days listening, reading and creating new LingQs. If you have any questions, ask them on the Ask Steve forum.

Day 6

There are a lot of words to learn in any language. Acquiring words is the core task in language learning, and it can seem a daunting task. LingQ makes it easier.

Words have to be acquired from interesting contexts, in order for them to stick in our memories. That means that our quest to learn more and more words should be driving us to listen and read more and more. This is the best way to learn new words. People often say, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Learning words works the same way.

The more words we know, the more we can understand what we are listening to and reading, and the more new words we can learn. In fact, after a while the vocabulary build up becomes like a snowball heading down a hill.

But it takes time to learn words. If we do not see them for a while we can forget them. Some words are easier to learn than others. Of course, we can recognize far more words than we can use. But that doesn't matter. We have to keep working to build up our vocabulary.

There are a number of things you can do at LingQ to help yourself learn and remember new words.

  • Review your newly saved LingQs whenever you finish a lesson.
  • Try to review your LingQs of the Day when you receive them.
  • Take the time to edit the little phrase that is saved for you when you create a LingQ.
  • From time to time review your words in the Vocabulary section, using the different Sort features.
  • Make it a habit to go through your Top 25 terms that you find on your Home page.
  • Print the Top 25 and have them ready when you speak at LingQ or when you write.

Day 8

If you learn the words, and the phrases, and if you listen and read, the grammar will come. The more familiar you are with the language, the easier you will find it to understand how the language works. You can read a little grammar book from time to time. But just thumb through the pages. Don't expect to remember much. As you progress in the language, as you continue with your listening and reading, the patterns of the language will seem more and more natural.

At some point you will be motivated to really work on certain patterns or grammatical structures. When you feel that way, I recommend that you you focus on one structure at a time.

You may want to use the Tag feature. Try to Tag words and phrases that use the particular pattern you are working on. This might be a verb tense, or the use of prepositions or cases, or something similar. Once you Tag LingQs you can review them together in your Vocabulary section.

You may try to use these structures when speaking and writing. Remember, if you use them wrong, that is a good thing. You can learn from mistakes. You find out where the gaps are in your language. From the report you receive from your Tutor you will be able to save those words and phrases that you need to work on.

Please take full advantage of the Ask A Tutor Forum to ask questions about usage. Other members and tutors will reply.

But most of all remember that these specific grammar learning activities are a minor part of language learning. They can help to make the brain more attentive to the language. However, it is the continued listening and reading that will make sure that the grammatical structures become natural patterns in your brain.

Day 10

Are you ready to talk to a tutor, to schedule a discussion?

I usually find that we do not need to talk to a tutor so much when we are beginners in a language. We are still working on getting used to the language and acquiring some basic words and phrases. It can even be a little discouraging to try to talk to someone when we are unable to express ourselves much. However, pretty soon you will be ready to talk to a native speaker and try out what you have learned.

Look for Speak, under Exchange. You will see the scheduled discussions offered by our Tutors. Look for a time that is convenient for you.

When you do talk with a tutor, don't worry about making mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the better. The mistakes are opportunities to work on the gaps in your knowledge. You will import your tutor's conversation report and study it, saving the words and phrases you need to work on.

As your ability grows you will want to join group discussions of up to four learners with one native speaker. These are more economical. It is really rewarding to start to make friends in the language and to find that you can hold up your end of a conversation.

Day 12

Are you ready to try writing something? It takes more discipline to write, but it is a very effective way to start using your new words.What should you write about? It doesn't matter. Why not join a discussion on our Forum in the language you are learning? Or start a blog in the language you are learning.

If you join a Forum discussion in the language you are learning, you may want to use the Post and Submit for Correction function. This lets you participate in a meaningful discussion and provides you with subjects to write about. Your comments are posted on the forum and at the same time are submitted for correction by a tutor.

When you submit writing for correction, you will receive a detailed report showing all of the words and phrases that you did not use correctly, with explanations and a graph of the types of errors you have made.

You should import this corrected writing and study it, saving words and phrases that you need to work on. I would even recommend reading it out loud. You may ask your tutor to record it for you. Some of these corrected writing submissions are recorded by our tutors and placed in the library. They are of interest to other learners.

Day 14

You may want to find your own learning material. You may want to read books on your own. In fact you should. The more varied your learning activities, the better. You need to find ways to enjoy your learning, so that you keep putting in the time.

If you have sources of interesting learning content, just Import them into LingQ. Look for the Import tab and follow the instructions. If the material is under copyright you can only use it yourself, and cannot share it with others in the Library.

Many of our members obtain permission from bloggers, podcasters and other sources of good learning content, to share their content in our Library. Many of our lessons are provided by members just like you. If you're feeling creative, create lessons yourself. Just record yourself, prepare a transcript and share.

That's it. Now, you're on your own. If you have more questions about LingQ or our methodology, take advantage of the following resources:

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