The battle for the #1 language app is heating up. Today we're squaring off LingQ and Anki. Two language learning tools trying to dethrone the market leaders. There can be only one winner!
This article covers available languages, an overview of both companies, the pros, and cons of both apps, pricing, and an author's conclusion.
Technically ton of languages are available on Anki...Or whatever target language flashcards you want to make or use in the community tab.
LingQ is a reading and spaced repetition platform that allows you to make links (LingQ flashcards) to unknown words, which can be reviewed later. In addition, the LingQ system allows you to read longer, authentic articles in your target language instead of a DuoLingo style building block structure in which you focus on short sentences, phrases, and vocabulary.
LingQ was established in 2007 by the father and son team Steve and Mark Kaufmann. It has enjoyed moderate success since its launch amassing 16000 reviews on the Playstore and garnering a rating of 4.6 stars.
Anki is all about memorization. It is a smart flashcard system harnessing the spaced repetition system method of learning (The same as LingQ but more basic). Its scientific underpinning is that with active recall, we can create more vivid memories of new vocabulary.
Anki was officially released in 2006 by developer Damien Elmes. It is different from some other products you will see reviewed in this blog because it isn't specifically targeted at second language learners. There are no courses or modules, and you have to create your materials, in this case, flashcards. Do not expect encouragement from a jovial cartoon monkey or a green bird. Anki is pure function over form.
Anki's popularity really exploded when student doctors began using it to review medical terms. -In fact, a 2015 survey of students in Washington showed that 31% of students used Anki, and further research shows that those students performed better on the unit's final test.
Even more impressive is the case of Roger Craig, who used Anki to break the daily winnings record on the game show Jeopardy. If it works for medical students and professional quizzers, I can't see why it wouldn't work for native speakers wanting to learn a foreign language.
Anki is free on Android but $25 on IOS.
|The community voted for top translation, as opposed to Google translate||Bugs with some flashcards. The target language is sometimes presented before you have a chance to guess it.|
|A clear indication of progress with the 'known word counter'||Messy User Interface (even worse on the mobile app)|
|SRS flashcard to aid vocabulary retention. Click on words you don't know and be presented with them later||Pricing compared to similar apps|
|You can upload Youtube and Netflix videos that have subtitles and the text will be presented to you in a lesson||A free version is almost unusable(You get a max of 20 LingQ's|
|If you're willing to pay extra, they have a dedicated tutoring service for their many languages||Apps like DuoLingo and Ling are better for beginners|
|A community tab where you can find a language exchange|
|Wide choice of languages|
|In theory, there is no ceiling to progress. You can keep uploading more material until you're beyond advanced|
|Gamification for motivation|
|The algorithm focuses on weak vocab so you aren't practicing words you already know||Completely relies on users own motivation level|
|Wide variation of flashcard styles||Barebones interface without add-ons|
|Community flashcard deck||It's possible to become overwhelmed by new vocabulary and lose motivation|
|Clear stats page|
|100's of add-ons|
As we discovered last time when we reviewed Mango Languages and Memrise, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to picking an app because it often comes down to personal preference and what your learning aims are.
That being said, I think we can make some predictions about what kinds of learners should use LingQ and whats kinds of learners should use Anki.
As a school teacher, I meet children with very different learning styles. There are those who need a clear, outlined plan and enjoy an element of freedom. I would use LingQ for those first set of kids and Anki for the second set.
LingQ is by no means a Duolingo style, hierarchically structured app, but it is in contrast to Anki. There are courses to work through, and although you have LingQ's which are similar to Anki's flashcards, they don't feel as seemingly random as Anki's algorithmic choices. Flashcards are important, and so is your ability to create flashcards, but some people do not have the time or patience, and they would do well to avoid Anki.
Aesthetically, LingQ leaves a lot to be desired, but it is still superior to Anki's bare-bones look. I know Anki has add-ons that can improve the interface, but then that begs the question of why they don't include those add-ons as standard.
LingQ (or perhaps both)
For me, to really learn a second language, I need to practice reading and listening, the same way a native speaker would learn their own language. Of course, as you become more advanced, LingQ has longer sentences, and I don't know about you guys, but I enjoy diving into a new language headfirst instead of just dipping a toe in the shallow end.
I advise you to use LingQ as a foundation and supplement your language learning with new words from Anki's flashcard system.
In the language learning field, it is crucial to have an aid to help you with your development. Ling might not be the market leader(yet), but it has a little something for everyone, from more advanced learners who want to study grammar rules, active vocabulary, and writing skills, to materials for beginners and hobbyists who want to impress and expand outwards from only speaking their native language.
Join me over at Ling's website or even download the Ling app on your phone and let's open up new vistas together!