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Learning naturally at LingQ

Page history last edited by Steve Kaufmann 14 years, 4 months ago


Day 1


I always like to say that the most important aspect of language learning is the attitude of the learner.  Be prepared to enjoy yourself. Try to like the language you are going to learn. Imagine yourself speaking it fluently. Know that you are going to succeed.


Most of all, just relax. Do not worry about what you cannot do or cannot remember. Do not think of previous struggles with grammar rules and tables. That is not the natural way to learn. All those things do not help very much. Language learning is an easy, gradual, and natural process. You will naturally acquire new habits, the habits of another culture and language. It will be a pleasant voyage of discovery. So, do not put pressure on yourself.


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.


Start by choosing some appropriate content from the LingQ Library. Look for something you like at the My Level area in our Library. You can also look at the difficulty level that is indicated, just to make sure it is right for you.  There are lots of items to choose from in the library. Choose something that is of interest and where you are familiar with the background. That will help 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.


Language learning is like walking in a fog......


After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress. Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet. But as you keep walking, you get wet little by little. If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, "Oh, this pace is terrible!" But actually, it is not. When you get wet in a fog, it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress. It is like studying a foreign language. You cannot do it all of a sudden, but by repeating it over and over, you will master it.


-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Master



Day 2.


I hope you have been doing a lot of listening.


At LingQ we believe that you first need to learn to listen and understand, then you will learn to speak. LingQ is based on the idea that we have to allow our brains to get used to a language, to the rhythm and flow of a language, before we can hope to speak well. This is a more natural, more effective and more enjoyable path to fluency than grammar drills, memorization, or trying to speak before we are ready. If, at first you do not understand, do be not be discouraged. Repetitive listening will gradually enable you to understand, as long as you choose content of interest that is not too difficult.


There were probably some words or phrases that you did not understand. Maybe there were many that you did not understand.  As you read the text at your Lesson page, save the words and phrases that give you trouble. We call this LingQing. When you have finished make sure you click on "I Know All". This means that you already knew the words that you did not save.

LingQing, (saving words and phrases to your database) will help you understand the new language. At LingQ we do not believe in drills and complicated grammar rules but we do recommend that you do a lot of LingQing. This will help you understand what you are listening to and reading.These LingQs are a record of your learning activity and they will help your brain notice and remember new words and patterns in the language.


Now use the Flash Cards to quickly review the words that you have just saved. It is important to review words soon after you first meet them in a text. Do not expect to learn words just because you reviewed them in a list or using Flash Cards. The brain will slowly get used to them. 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 content item, move on to another one, whether you understand it or not.


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


Saving 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" and "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 langauge. 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 start to notice what happens in the language. These activities help make you notice what is happening in the language as you listen and read.




 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 content and listen to it many times. I mean 10 or even 20 times.  This is intensive listening.


I really find repetitive listen 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 occasinally 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 to choose another lesson? Have a look in the Library. I advise you to stay with one collection for a while. It is easier to learn from familiar content.


I will not bother you for a few days. Just keep listening, reading and creating new LingQs. If you have any  questions, email me at steve@lingq.com.






Day 7


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 eaiser.


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. Learning words is a bit like becoming rich. Remember the expression, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. That is what is like in learning words.


The more words we understand, 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 does not matter. We have to keep working to build up our vocabulary.


There are a number of things that 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 emailed flash cards 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 at your Home page.
  • Print these top 25 terms and have them ready when you speak at LingQ or when you write.
  • Explore the Vocabulary page. I will talk more about this page later.







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. Do not 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 at LingQ. 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 tutors' forum to ask questions about usage. Native speakers or 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 12



Are you ready to talk to a native speaker, 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 Lessons. 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, do not 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 discussion 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 14


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 does not 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 in 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. You post your comments to the forum and at the same time submit them for correction by your tutor.


When you submit writing for correction, it will be corrected by one of our tutors. In fact you can choose the tutor that you want to correct it. Within 48 hours 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 submission 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 16


At times the study of a language can be a somewhat lonely task. You are on a journey of discovery of the language. You are listening to the language, reading the language, adding words and phrases to your vocabulary, and talking and writing in the language here and there. At times the burden of your studies can seem a little heavy. You may not feel that you are making as much progress as you would like. We are social creatures after all.


I definitely recommend getting involved in the community activities at LingQ. You can make friends and discover people around the world who share your interests. You can find people who are learning the same language as you, or people from your country. Why not make friends with them.


You should begin my providing information about yourself at your Profile. Give yourself an identity. Choose an image, even if it is not a photograph. Tell people about your interests. 


Explore our Forum. Talk about anything you like, in any of the languages we offer. This is a good place to practice your writing in your target language, or to ask questions about how to use LingQ or about the language you are studying.


Maybe you want to tutor people in your native language or correct writing in your language. You can earn points by doing so. You can also contribute content to our library in your language. Get creative. This is a good way to let people know that you are interested in tutoring in your language, and it is another opportunity to earn points.


Help build our community. LingQ's greatest asset is the quality of its members, and that includes you!



Day 18


You may want to work with your own learning content. 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 learners obtain permission from bloggers, podcasters and other sources of good learning content, to share their content in our Library. This is also done from the Import section. In fact that is how we acquire most of the learning content.


If you are feeling creative you can also create some content for our community. Just record yourself, prepare a transcript and share.


When you read a book or magazine away from the computer you may come across words that you do not understand. These can be added to your database, either individually or as lists, in the Vocabulary section.



Day 21


Well, I have just  touched on some of the features of LingQ. Please take the time to read the Help files, and all of the other sources of information about LingQ that have been prepared by us at LingQ our by our members. Some of the best places to look are the following:





LingQ Plaza


If you have more questions please ask on our Forums or email me. I hope you enjoy your learning at LingQ.

Comments (6)

Helen Burgess said

at 3:19 am on Nov 30, 2009

Are you thinking of breaking these into daily e-mails for beginners? Because that's what I would do with them!

Helen Burgess said

at 3:25 am on Nov 30, 2009

Oh yes. I just reread the forum post. D'oh!
Suggestions for other lessons:
working out your level
Estimating time to get to the next level
Dealing with despondency
Using the library
Using your own learning materials
Sharing learning materials
Improving pronunciation
Learning to use idiom
Learning with friends
Choosing tutors
Becoming a tutor
Finding time
Measuring your progress
Getting certificates
Finding help
Planning your time
Individual learning styles

We just need 4 more subjects and that's a month of one-a-day e-mails!

Helen Burgess said

at 3:29 am on Nov 30, 2009

Learning to writing in a new language
Learning to type in a new language
Learning more than one language
Learning different accents
LingQ for beginners
LingQ for intermediates
LingQ for advanced students
LingQ for college students
LingQ for school students

How many of these do you want?

Helen Burgess said

at 3:40 am on Nov 30, 2009

LingQ on the move
working with vocabulary lists
choosing a language to learn
Increasing your activity score

You could make it a daily e-mail lesson for the first 6 weeks. After that they're either hooked or they aren't I suspect.

Helen Burgess said

at 3:44 am on Nov 30, 2009

Add some lessons which try and get them, in their first 6 weeks, to
buy some points
choose a tutor
make a friend
post on a forum
submit a piece of writing
sign up for a conversation
upgrade to a basic account.

SanneT said

at 12:45 pm on Nov 30, 2009

I've just tidied up some little typos. I enjoyed reading the text very much, it reminded me of how to use the system (and I even learnt something new).

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