LingQ (Learning Languages with Podcasts) || Worth Your Time And Money?

Our Complete Guide to LingQ || Rated & Reviewed

LingQ Review: 8.7/10 – LingQ is a powerful tool that promotes language learning in a natural way. Forget intense grammar drills and easy games – learn through the things you love. By promoting language immersion, you can understand content the natural way. But… the grammar teaching could be better.

Learn Languages from Content You Love

The fastfun and effective way to learn

That’s the two lines you are greeted with when arriving at the homepage of LingQ.

LingQ

But is LingQ really a place to learn languages?

Today we take an in-depth look into LingQ and give our honest opinions on whether this is a tool you should be adding to your language learning portfolio.

I’ve been using the same language-learning app for 10 years (Memrise) and for 10 languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Taiwanese, and now Telugu). 

Whilst I believe that I’ll continue to use it for a while, it’s always good to branch out and try something new, so I’m also constantly trying different apps and platforms.

Plus, every language is different and some languages need a specific kind of input, some have amazing resources online and dedicated websites, whilst others don’t. 

So, will LingQ be a new one I’m sticking with?

DISCLAIMER || The kind folk at LingQ gave us premium access to their app for a month. Our team spent this time using LingQ, and the end result is this review.

Let’s dive straight into this in-depth LingQ review…

LingQ Review || Intro & Key Stats

LingQ Review || Pros and Cons

LingQ Review || Price (Subscription)

LingQ Review || What is LingQ? (Introduction)

LingQ Review || How Does it Work? (In-Depth)

LingQ Review || LingQ Lessons (Official & User-Generated)

LingQ Review || Premium (Worth it?)

LingQ Review || Premium Plus

LingQ Review || Languages Offered

LingQ Review || Room for Improvements

LingQ Review || Conclusion (Final Thoughts)

LingQ Review || Where to Download

LingQ Review || FAQs

You can also learn multiple languages 24/7 with Flexi Classes

LingQ Review || Intro & Key Stats

App NameLingQ
Description“Everyone learns to speak their native language. Why not use the same approach with a second language? Surround yourself with meaningful input that matters to you. Start at an easy level and work your way up.” (LingQ)
Websitehttps://www.lingq.com/en/
No. of Languages Offered41
Price$7.99 per month – $39.99 per month. (see below for more).
LingQ Key Stats

LingQ Review || Price (Subscription)

LingQ Subscription Cost (USD $)
Premium Per Month$ 12.99
Premium 6 Months$ 71.94 ($11.99)
Premium Annual$ 107.88 ($8.99)
Premium Two-Year Plan $ 191.76 ($7.99)
Premium Plus Per Month$ 39.99 ($39.99)
Premium Plus 6 Months$ 233.94 ($38.99)
Premium Plus Annual$ 431.88 ($35.99)
Premium Plus Two-Year Plan $ 839.76 ($34.99)
LingQ Cost

All the above costs are correct according to the time of writing (April 2023). They may vary depending on the currency you’re using.

All the plans longer than a month are billed monthly and the price shown is the total accumulated cost over the billing cycle you’ve signed up for.

Price per month is shown in the brackets to the side.

LingQ Review || Pros and Cons

For those of you who want quick answers – check out this table which shows the pros and cons of LingQ.

LingQ ProsLingQ Cons
Extensive content.Some errors in user-sourced content. A big red flag.
Focuses on reading, writing, listening, speaking and vocabulary.Free subscription is very limiting.
A good variety of languages to choose from (and being added to constantly).Non-user-friendly interface (outdated).
Big community feel. No grammar lessons (yes, some people need that!)
Natural way to learn languages. Will need to use other resources, too.
LingQ Pros & Cons

LingQ Review || What is LingQ? (An Introduction)

Steve Kaufmann is a big, big name in the language learning field. Chances are if you are studying a language you’ve heard of him.

He and his son Mark are the brains behind LingQ so before even taking a look at the app, we know this has the potential to be the real deal.

Steve speaks a multitude (over 20 according to his Wikipedia page – yes he has one of those too!) of languages.

So what exactly is LingQ?

IN A NUTSHELL || LingQ uses language immersion techniques to help you to learn languages the natural way, from the content you love.

By learning through YouTube videos, podcasts, blogs, magazines, etc… you can build up a vocabulary base learning from content that you’re actually enjoying.

You can use LingQ to improve your skills in reading, writing, listening, speaking and vocabulary building.

Typically, apps that try to do it all are the ones to avoid. Over time, we’ve discovered apps that focus on one element tend to do it better.

However, is LingQ one that can buck this trend?

We delve further into their lessons to see what we can really learn, and how best to use LingQ for language learning.

NOTE || I used LingQ for various languages when testing out this software at varying levels. I started Arabic from absolute beginner, Spanish from basic knowledge, Korean from intermediate knowledge and Chinese from advanced ability.

I did this to get an overall view of who best LingQ is suited for and also an insight into how the various content differs depending on level.

So. Let’s see the results…

Why stop at one language?

LingQ Review || How Does it Work? (In-depth)

You can best think of LingQ as your language learning companion; an assistant, making your language learning a lot easier, and a lot more fun.

LingQ won’t teach you grammar. In fact, it won’t ‘teach’ you anything in the traditional sense of the word.

It prides itself on being a more natural way of learning a language.

Getting Started

First, you’ll need to log in. Then, you’ll need to select your language(s).

After doing this, you should select your level at the top to filter content.

I love how you can select different levels at a time and don’t have just one choice in levels. It’s also very easy to change this!

You will then see a bit of a cluttered mess as all of the courses and lessons pop up in a colourful array of all sorts of visuals and audio things…

This is where it’s a bit overwhelming. But stick with us and we’ll walk you through it all…

LingQs / New Words / Known Words

Every word is clickable. And once this word appears and you click on it to select either ‘known’ or ‘unknown’, it becomes a LingQ!

LingQs are highlighted in dark yellow when you don’t know them – then become lighter and lighter as you learn them. 

The word then becomes a ‘known’ word once the highlight has gone.

All words are blue until you’ve either told the system you know it already, or you don’t and therefore you learn it.

The idea is to clear all the blue from a lesson; either you should learn it or already know it. 

Profile

In the top right-hand corner you’ll find the area to find your profile.

Here you can change your name and profile image, as well as check out all your statistics.

You’ll be able to check things like known words from the previous week and overall time, your daily progress and hours of listening you completed.

This is a really useful area for tracking your progress!

You also have the option to share your progress on social media if you’re feeling extra proud!

Points

The more you study, the more you earn.

Flashcards

Flashcards are made from the vocabulary you learn.

You can access the flashcard area in order to do some vocab drills and really get them stuck in your head!

Psst… if you’re a fan of flashcards, make sure to check out our Anki decks here!

Vocab Review

Practice makes perfect.

In this section you can review the vocabulary you’ve been learning.

Vocab Area

Here, you can check all the vocab you’ve been learning, including the various meanings and also how well they’ve stuck in your memory.

Forum/Challenges/Writing Exchange

And just when you thought there wasn’t room for anything else, there are another few sections.

You can find these in the same area as ‘Profile’. And the sections are pretty self-explanatory.

The writing exchange is an added bonus that not many language platforms have.

So, what do you do with this all?

Let’s move on to the actual learning.

LingQ Review || LingQ Lessons (Official & User-generated)

Courses

The lessons are all arranged into handy courses.

The courses are then split into sections (more on those below).

You basically pick your course, then pick your lesson. Then off you go!

I particularly like the idea of textbook courses – so you can work through a textbook in a much more interactive way, or complement your textbook usage by using the online lessons at the same time.

I wish I’d had this when studying for HSK 6!

Are you up to date with the latest HSK news?

Lessons

Lessons are just individual items you will find within courses. After you click into a course, you can choose your lesson (usually following a course, you’ll want to do the lessons in the correct order).

The lesson will then guide you through using assisted reading/listening.

Lessons are available in various formats, such as video (using YouTube and Netflix), podcasts, audio in other formats, and reading using authentic texts or texts from texbooks and other lessons.

Fan of language podcasts? Take a look at our LTL Chinese language learning podcasts here.

They come in a variety of categories, too, which we will see below – there truly is something for everyone.

Another big bonus is that you can pick your lesson according to how difficult it will be.

After you have selected your level, there is a further gauge you can use.

The lesson will show at the bottom how many new words it will contain based on the ones you’ve already inputted as knowing.

Really handy tool! Although it has its downsides (mentioned later…)

Import Lessons

Just in case you can’t find something that interests you (although we doubt that) you can also import your lessons.

This feature is particularly useful if you’re already using another application or format to learn and you wish to import it to the same place.

It also means that there is tons and tons of user-generated content out there! The plug-in for your browser makes it super easy to import this content!

One big thing to note here is that because it is imported by users, there can be errors. In fact, in just three lessons I spotted at least two mistakes in the pinyin. This is a massive thing for a language learning app – you don’t want to be learning things incorrectly!

Guided Courses

Guided courses are basically a load of lessons together on the same topic.

I was excited for a bit of guidance but in reality, they are just collections of lessons that fit together or are from the same course.

Not so guided!

They are also often just imported from other platforms, for example, the Korean lessons are imported from the popular website Talk to Me in Korean.

This can also be annoying as I might have done these lessons elsewhere before but I don’t know as I did them on a different platform earlier.

So – a big disappointment is the lack of guidance, actually.

Would love to see some more guided courses made by LingQ to actually teach me a language and provide some more guidance and support.

Other sections; Music, trending, etc

This is where you can select what kind of course and lesson you want to do.

There is such a massive range of content to choose from it can be pretty overwhelming.

The main thing here is to just have a play and a browse.

It will take a while to nail down the things you like to learn from and the things that are useful – but once you’ve got that sorted, you might find it very useful to flick between the different sections.

One day maybe you feel like learning from a music video, and the next from a Ted Talk! It’s all there!

Choose what interests you. It’s in this way that you can learn naturally, and in a fun way, through immersion.

Audio-Tracking

One feature that’s worth an extra mention is its ability to track audio with the text on podcasts, audiobooks, and also YouTube videos etc.

I think for me, this is probably its best feature.

You can practice your listening and reading at the same time – and for someone that listens to podcasts to study in the first place, it’s a great accompaniment for it.

LingQ Review || Premium Subscription (Worth it?)

As with most language learning apps, LingQ is free but charges for full access.

Let’s take a look at what you can access with its premium subscription (and whether it’s worth it or not).

Below is a table showing the difference in access from free to premium.

In reality, if you use LingQ often or if you want it to help you improve your language ability at all… you’re probably going to need a premium account.

A premium account will give you unlimited access and most importantly, allow you unlimited words to save.

There is really little point in using LingQ if you can only save 20 words or so…

So, quick answer: yes. You’ll probably need premium.

BUT! Watch out. After reading on some forums, I came to find out that if you have saved words over the free limit on premium, then change from premium to free, you will lose these words. This is awful for those using LingQ for many years then wanting to take a break, for example. All your years of work lost…

LingQ Review || Premium Plus

A Premium Plus subscription offers you 3,000 points which you can then use on; premium lessons, live tutoring, or writing corrections.

This live tutoring and writing correction area is how LingQ claims to be an all-round language learning app.

The price varies, and there don’t seem to be as many tutors as on other tutor-specific platforms.

For Chinese (simplified), there only seems to be one tutor.

For Chinese (traditional), there are only three.

The tutors mainly seem to be language learners themselves who are just offering the service for fun.

This is a tiny amount compared to the hundreds available on iTalki, for example.

The set-up is similar to other online tutoring platforms.

You apply the relevant filters and start searching for your tutor.

Most of them don’t have ratings, either and appear never to have taught on the application before.

Unfortunately, it seems like just an added extra in order to make the whole learning experience on LingQ.

The live tutoring platform isn’t any better than elsewhere and there are other similar live tutoring platforms that just offer this service like iTalki.

Therefore, the service is often a lot better as it’s the main thing they offer and can pool more resources into.

What’s more, online tutoring like this has its own problems.

Tutors are often not qualified teachers and there is no structured lesson plan to go from.

You don’t know what kind of quality you’re getting and you might end up wasting a lot of money…

Indeed, anyone on LingQ can become a tutor.

So… there’s not much wrong with this PremiumPlus platform and if you’re loving LingQ then I guess you could save some money here.

Otherwise, I’d recommend you use a language-tutor-specific platform such as iTalki for online lessons, or LTL Flexi Classes for a much more structured approach to online lessons with official teachers.

Italki Review 2023 // What's Italki & Can It Lead Me To Fluency? Thumbnail

Italki Review 2023 // What’s Italki & Can It Lead Me To Fluency?

Italki is one of the biggest names in online learning, with language tutors in a host of different languages. But is it any good? Here is our italki review.

LingQ Review || Languages Offered

Below is a list of languages offered by LingQ.

(Some are in Beta stage).

English, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Arabic, Swedish, Korean, Norwegian, Latin, Esperanto, Czech, Romanian, Finnish, Hebrew, Belarusian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Catalan, Croatian, Danish, Gujarati, Icelandic, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Persian, Serbian, Slovak, Swahili, Tagalog.

LingQ Review || Room for Improvement

LingQ aims to be an all-round language learning app, learning languages the natural way.

There are some things it’s certainly lacking, though.

Let’s take a look.

The Immersion Method

As a learner of now 10 languages, I am in love with the immersion method. Indeed, it’s exactly how I have learnt all the languages that I’ve managed to get high proficiency in.

LingQ utilises this exact method to study languages.

There is just one thing that LingQ is missing here…

The founder, Steve Kaufmann, is a linguist.

He himself has learnt 20 languages and he notes that the latter languages he learnt, he learnt much faster than the first few.

He claims that this is down to using the LingQ method. Whilst I’m sure there is no doubting this, we also need to consider that he is a linguist.

He knows HOW to study languages and HOW best for him.

It’s the same for me. Every new language I learn now feels so much easier than the first couple I learnt – even though they’re categorically more difficult (for example, Chinese and Taiwanese vs. German and French which I learnt in high school).

This is because:

  1. I know the skills it takes to learn a language well.
  2. I know what methods work best for me.

If you’re new to a language and new to language learning, you might get a bit lost with LingQ.

There is little structure and no explanations on important grammar or things like alphabets and pronunciation which can be tricky.

It’s all immersion. And whilst this is the key element to language learning – it’s not the only thing most people will need.

Most people will need some other kind of input.

I need to learn the grammar structures and rules – or at least have explanations on why something is a certain way.

If I didn’t have this, I’m sure my language learning would be hindered.

Beelinguapp Review (2023) - Learn Chinese with Audiobooks Thumbnail

Beelinguapp Review (2023) – Learn Chinese with Audiobooks

Our Honest Beelinguapp Review from The Language Experts Who Actually Use it (2023) Beelinguapp Review: 6/10An app that’s pretty one-of-a-kind, read alongside in two languages and learn as you go, acquiring languages as you do your favourite things; listening to…

Beginners

For those absolute beginners, some languages might be tricky to get started on.

For native English speakers, something like French or German might be fine for absolute beginners. For those working with languages like Mandarin or Arabic, however, you definitely need the basics before starting on LingQ.

I studied Arabic for a very short time a few years back. I decided to test it out again on LingQ as an absolute beginner. Well, I was completely lost.

There is no explanation on the alphabet and it throws you in at the deep-end straight away. There was no chance to learn anything as I had no idea what was going on…

Maybe if I had stuck at it it might have worked. But for me, it was too overwhelming. So I gave up on Arabic pretty quickly.

Advanced

Actually, LingQ offers some of the biggest selection of advanced learning materials I’ve ever seen.

Plus, you can add your own content so… it’s never-ending!

This is particularly useful for advanced learners. For example, I read the online news in Taiwan every day.

I can just put that straight into LingQ and I have my assisted reader – no need for copy and pasting into Google Translate.

HOWEVER – there are few LingQ-made lessons for advanced learners. And we always want more content!

So, whilst it isn’t as limiting for advanced learners as other platforms, it could be better.

Speaking & Writing?

So the speaking and writing parts are really only available through Premium Plus which we discuss above.

There are better platforms that provide this service – so unless you’re really enchanted by LingQ and want to do everything on the platform, then you might be better off using a different platform to practice these skills.

There is a lot of potential here for LingQ and we definitely see what they’re trying to do – it just seems they’re stretched a bit thin in this area.

The Vocabulary

Sometimes learning the vocab is like google translated vocab. Since all words are separate ‘LingQs’, they are sometimes taken out of context or separated from a word that would have made it another meaning. Watch out for that!

This means that for languages such as Japanese and Korean, where a lot of meaning is in the verb conjugation, not an item of vocab as such, it’s not so suitable or at least not sufficient alone to learn the nuances of the language.

The feature showing the difficulty level in terms of % of vocab you know for each lesson is really exciting for someone starting off with a new language on the platform and building it up from there.

On the other hand, for someone already coming in at the post beginners level, I found this feature rather frustrating at first.

LingQ makes it very easy for you to tell them the words you already know – but as an intermediate learner, there was a downside.

At the start, it was a little time-consuming programming in words I already knew every time they popped up.

Which was a lot – at the first few goes as even words such as ‘and’ ‘it’ ‘oh’ etc would be highlighted as unknown words.

Interface

Outdated, chaotic, and messy. It’s not nice, to be honest.

It took me a long time to figure out where I should go, what I’m supposed to be learning and how I can use it as a learning tool.

LingQ would benefit greatly from a clearer, much more user-friendly layout that doesn’t seem as outdated.

That’s what we’d expect from one of the biggest language platforms out there!

A big thing I’d like to see improved is the listening/visual interface.

If you click into it so that the words follow the audio, there is no possibility to click into the ‘LingQs’.

You have to leave full screen, click on a word, then go back in. This interrupts the learning process quite a bit!

Busuu Review (2023 Update) Learn Chinese with a Personalised Study Plan Thumbnail

Busuu Review (2023 Update) Learn Chinese with a Personalised Study Plan

Busuu Review; How Much Chinese Can I Really Learn Using Busuu? Busuu Review: 9/10A really nicely laid out all-round Chinese learning app that matches up to the CERF framework to help you assess your level. Get a personalised study plan…

Imported Lessons

Because a lot of the lessons are imported from other common platforms, it was annoying as an intermediate learner to not know if I’d done these lessons before on the previous platform and had to go back to check.

As mentioned previously, some of these user-generated lessons can also contain mistakes, too.

LingQ Review || Conclusion

LingQ is a great, efficient, all-round app that differs from most other platforms in that you are learning languages from content you love in an immersive way.

It’s not super simple games and it’s also not vocab and grammar drills. You learn from the things you love. In theory…

But in reality, I think a lot much more input is needed from the learner. The interface isn’t super user-friendly and it’s outdated.

The structure is unclear and a bit messy, and there is user-generated content that contains mistakes. A big red flag for me.

There are masses of content available which is incredible, and the levels go from beginner to advanced learner.

But…

If you’re an absolute beginner, you’re going to be left behind.

LingQ is probably one of the few platforms that is more friendly for advanced learners. I could see myself using it throughout an entire language journey.

After the initial figuring-it-out stage, the LingQ experience gets more and more streamlined to each user’s preferred learning style.

Although for advanced learners this may mean simply slipping back into old learning habits.

Take me for example – after using LingQ for a couple of weeks to input Taiwanese articles and read from there, I decided to go back to just reading articles in the natural way online and looking up words if I needed to.

This is how I’ve done it so far with Chinese and I guess I’m just used to it.

Overall, it’s one of the most in-depth learning tools I’ve tried and uses a method I’m on board with. I would definitely recommend trying it out!

LingQ Review || Where to Download

LingQ app is available on both the iOS app store and the Android play store.

LingQ Plug-in

LingQ also has its own web browser plug-in which is SUPER useful for doing your own imports.

Would really recommend downloading this extension.


We hope you’ve found this LingQ review useful.

Have you used LingQ before? What are your thoughts?

We’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a comment below and share your thoughts and feelings on LingQ as a language learning tool.

LingQ || FAQs

Is LingQ free?

LingQ is free to download, but you’ll need to pay to access all of its content. Prices range from 7.99-35.99 USD per month.

Is LingQ worth the money?
Can you become fluent with LingQ?

Actually… My usual go-to answer for this question is no. Because I believe you have to have input from various things to become fluent. But LingQ does offer extensive materials as well as lessons from teachers – so maybe it’s pretty close to helping you get to language fluency. But it all depends on your own personal learning style.

What languages does LingQ offer?

English, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Arabic, Swedish, Korean, Norwegian, Latin, Esperanto, Czech, Romanian, Finnish, Hebrew, Belarusian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Catalan, Croatian, Danish, Gujarati, Icelandic, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Persian, Serbian, Slovak, Swahili, Tagalog.

NOTE || Some of these are in beta stage.

Can I download LingQ for iOS?

Yes you can download it here.

Can I download LingQ for Android?

Yes you can download it here.

Want more from LTL?

We offer a 7 day free trial to all new students where you can study Mandarin 24/7. Come and check it out free of charge and see what you think.

We also offer immersive Chinese courses in China. You can learn more about those here.

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  1. Chinese Immersion || 4 Top Ways to Immerse Yourself At Home
    Reply

    […] recommend the website LingQ which allows you to import your favourite books and articles into the app and read it at your […]

  2. canko
    Reply

    How to easily master Korean, which can be difficult for beginners

    The most basic thing when learning Korean is vocabulary practice. Before learning sentences, please practice and memorize real-life words used in Korean. Afterwards, if you continue to listen to sentences in which the previously memorized words can appear again and again, the words will naturally be memorized and the sentences will begin to come into focus to some extent.

    In particular, there is an app that teaches Korean language study in this way. Try using the canko app to learn Korean. I also use this app. Because it compares and analyzes pronunciation with that of native speakers, it is possible to correct pronunciation mistakes that you may make.