Lingq, a cool and promising flash card website

I just wanted to write a quick post about Lingq, a website I just found about today. It’s so cool that I just had to write something about it right away. It’s a real world implementation of some of my ideas for a better flash card program. Instead of having to create your own index cards, the website has a thing called a store which is a library of content for the language you want to learn. You can create and share your own content by adding text and upload images/audio.

Flash cards are created by selecting text and clicking a little widget at the bottom of the screen. The flash cards show you a phrase with the word instead of just having the reading and definition like most flash card programs/websites. You can add them if you want, however, as a hint.

This is pretty much exactly what I was talking about. Sharing content and creating flash cards that have meaningful content. Though it doesn’t work for Chinese, Japanese lookups work amazingly well. Now, all they have to add is user ratings to help filter out the most interesting content.

There are also additional features involving tutors and Skype that I haven’t tried out.

I encourage everybody reading this to try it out.

My only minor complaints are that the navigation is hard to get at first and the site seems a bit slow.

Also, my original idea had linking and giving proper credit to the original content. I guess these guys are not too worried about the ethical implications of uploading other peoples’ content directly to their website without providing any kind of credit. Especially since it looks like they are trying to make a buck.

5 thoughts on “Lingq, a cool and promising flash card website

  1. Thank you for mentioning LingQ.

    We are working on improving the navigation and the speed of the site.

    We will introduce ratings for content and other enhancements. At present content can be sorted based on the vocabulary level of each user which ensures that it is at the right level of difficulty.

    There is a lot to the site, and it is difficult to explain in a few words. That is no doubt a disadvantage to the site as it may discourage the less adventurous learner. We need to improve and simplify. But there is a lot there in a variety of languages, and the basic content and functionality is free.

    Most of our content is contributed by members or is from sources that allow us to use their content. We ask content providers to provide acknowledgment and to not use material that is under copyright without permission. Users can and do import copyrighted content for their own use which they do not normally share. Where there are copyright issues we simply take the offending material down when it is brought to our attention.

    The site works best for European languages and we hope to have it working equally well for Asian languages within a few months.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Steve. Looking forward to seeing improved Japanese and Chinese support and more content, of course.

    As a suggestion, you might want to add a url field so that users can indicate where the content originally came from.

  3. I have used LingQ and really like the concept. Here are the things that I like about a fully functional LingQ: 1) articles with audio available in different ability levels 2) pop-up dictionary 3) ability to instantly add looked-up words to a vocabulary list 4) ability to review vocabulary as flashcards 5) ability to export vocabulary list 6) looked-up words will highlight in the workbench, and appear in a list along side of the article 7) can add my own material 8) words are automatically counted, so it’s possible to tell how much vocabulary I have at any time. There’s more to the site than that; these are merely the things I find useful.

    In that sense, LingQ is fully functional for European languages. Japanese is still in work. I haven’t tried to use it for a little while, so correct me if I’m wrong Steve. This is not meant as criticism; I’m just pointing out some things that are still in work. Regarding the items above: 1) article difficulty level isn’t rated very clearly, and there is a lack of easy material 2) because the workbench can’t accurately tell how words are separated, the pop-up dictionary is sometimes fooled. It doesn’t use the best Japanese dictionary 6) highlighting and listing doesn’t work.

    In addition to this, it would be nice to have English translations of the articles. It would also be nice to have spaced-repetition with the flashcards. I think these are in the works (for all languages), but I could be wrong.

    I will use LingQ when it gets fixed. For now, I find an article at my own level with audio and an English translation. I use Wakan pop up dictionary, and export words to my SRS.

    A fully functional LingQ would be better than my current method because a) the material will be easier to find b) the LingQ pop up dictionary word look up is a much faster way to get words into an SRS than Wakan look up and export c) having unknown words highlighted is useful d) I really enjoy keeping track of the number of words I know.

    My dream tool for Japanese would be Anki+LingQ+Wakan. By that I mean have the Anki flashcard program, with LingQ built in. Words looked up in LingQ will feed directly into Anki. The pop up dictionary used by LingQ would be Wakan, which can separate words correctly, and uses the best online Japanese-English dictionary.

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