LingQ.com is a website that allows visitors to study Spanish online. Using the website is free, but there are some premium services one could purchase. A student could use just the free tools and get great value out of the site. However, the premium services give personalized instruction and grammar tutoring to the student.
LingQ's main philosophy is that a person learns better when given real world language situations and the ability to repeatedly listen to natural language conversations. This is in contrast to the thought that the student must have hours of classroom grammar lessons to start learning "real Spanish." The web site owners concede that most people are going to buy and use a grammar book, but they do not encourage it. They believe the student would do better to focus on reading and listening to real Spanish before trying to learn the rules.
Being able to study Spanish online at LingQ gives the student the ability to study at any time of the day or night. The student may have a full time career and wants to learn Spanish online for the purpose of an upcoming vacation. Or, perhaps they want to better their Spanish language skills in order to start a career as a translator. LingQ is an excellent resource for both types of students.
Study Spanish Online: LingQ's Free Tools
The core of LingQ's program is the lessons. Once the student signs up for their free account, they are able to start reading and listening to Spanish texts. While they are called "Lessons" at the site, they are more like real world texts instead of step-by-step instructions in the language. The student is able to listen to and read the texts and pick out the words they do not know. This creates a list of words that need to be learned, while keeping a running total of how many words the student says he already knows. The unknown vocabulary are called LingQs.
Without paying for premium services, the student is able to keep a list of 100 unknown words in their vocabulary list. The vocabulary list contains the term, the phrase that the LingQ was chosen from and the hint or definition that helps the student remember the word.
Outside of the lessons, one of the best tools available freely at the site is the forum. The student is allowed to interact with other students and tutors without paying for one-on-one tutoring. In the forum there are discussions on the best way to learn languages. There are opportunities to interact with people from different countries to see how certain words are used in different regions.
Study Spanish Online: LingQ's Premium Services
The free tools at LingQ are very adequate, but the premium services bring the value of LingQ up quite a bit. There are four different membership plans. The free one is called Free. The Basic plan costs $10 per month. The Plus plan is $39, and the Premium is $79 a month. The main difference with the paid plans and the free one is that the learner can use the included points to buy tutoring time. This tutoring can be either audio or written corrections to submitted writing. The student could also spend time with a native language tutor on the phone going over corrections to the written essays.
The Basic plan allows the student to import an unlimited number of lessons. Plus he can have an unlimited number of LingQs (the unknown vocabulary words that he is trying to learn) and import and export those LingQs freely. The $10 plan has no points included, but points can be bought for a 50% discount over buying them individually like a Free user would.
The Plus plan gives all the advantages of the Basic plan and adds 3000 tutoring points per month. The Premium plan gives 7500 points per month.
Extra points can be bought from any level at any time via credit card. There are also things one can do to earn extra points. Some ways to earn free points are to invite friends to sign up with LingQ and to upload recordings and written content that others can use in their studies.
Native language speakers are the tutors who can work with the student either through Skype or through submitted writing. Either way the student will get a detailed report of what they did correctly and what they need to work on.
Study Spanish Online: Personal Review of LingQ
I have been a member of the LingQ community for a year. In that time I have put several thousand words in my "known words" list and constantly shuffle unknown words in and out of my "new words" list since I am limited to 100 LingQs with a free account.
LingQ is a better place for someone who already has some basic understanding of Spanish, or any of the 11 available languages one could learn at the website. I study Spanish online through LingQ because I live in a Spanish speaking country. I have also started studying Italian online through LingQ and did not have any previous knowledge of the language before starting. However, having learned Spanish I have a head start on Italian. I am not sure how well the system works for someone who knows nothing about the language they are trying to study online.
The lessons and the forums are all that I use on LingQ. I don't use the website every day to study Spanish online. Rather, I tend to focus on language study for a few days and then step away for a couple of weeks before going back. Every time I go back I can see how many words I have learned and review my LingQ list to help me memorize how to use new words. There is also a free iPhone app that is a flashcard program which shows me my unknown words. This allows me to study Spanish even when I am not at my computer.
I think someone could learn a great deal through LingQ without spending money on the memberships. However, they would probably advance much faster with the extra tutoring.
If you sign up with LingQ, we can follow each other's progress.