LingQ vs Lingvist. Not so much a clash of the titans but a skirmish between two up-and-coming language learnings apps with confusingly similar names. This article covers available languages, an overview of both companies, the pros and cons of both apps, pricing, an author's conclusion, and a final address to native speakers.
Let's take a closer look.
|British (English)||American (English)||French||Russian|
LingQ, at its core, is a spaced repetition reading platform that allows you to make links or 'LingQ’s' to new words. It also incorporates other facets of multimedia into its learning system such as speech recognition.
LingQ holds the notable distinction of being older than the market giant DuoLingo. It was established in 2007 by father and son team Steve and Mark Kaufmann. Steve(and the system he developed) echoes the sentiments of many second language professionals, namely that the best way to learn a new language is through comprehensible input, the same way native speakers learn a language.
LingQ has two options: Premium and Premium plus
Lingvist is a smart reading platform that focuses on big data to collect information about your proficiency and then constantly presents you with new vocabulary in your target language. Its strength lies in its ability to ensure you never get bored while reading a text. However, because it's so heavily reading-centric, it's best for learners from B1-C2.
Lingvist was founded in Switzerland by Mait Muntel who holds the notable distinction of being an engineer on the Large Hadron Collider project. Mait used his technical background to develop a prototype centered around machine learning and the app was launched in March 2013.
Since its inception, Lingvist has received many words including Top 50 EdTech companies in the Nordic-Baltic, and the Tallinn Entrepreneurship Awards- Brightest Startup
Lingvist's pricing plan is much more straightforward.
|Community voted for top translation, as opposed to Google translate||Bugs with some flashcards. Target language is sometimes presented before you have a chance to guess it.|
|Clear indication of progress with the 'known word counter'||Messy User Interface (even worse on mobile app)|
|SRS flashcard to aid vocabulary retention. Click on words you don't know and be presented with them later||Pricing compared to other similar apps|
|You can upload Youtube and Netflix videos and the text will be presented to you in a lesson||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|
|A community tab where you can find a language exchange|
|Wide choice of languages|
|Advanced spaced repetition system with A.I algorithm. The system is constantly monitoring your ability and updating target words||Limited languages. At the time of writing LingVist offers only 8 options.|
|Caters to advanced learners...Many language apps aren't complex enough in the latter stages||Lack of beginner lessons. This can particularly be a problem with the Russian alphabet|
|Clean User Interface||Lack of speaking and writing functions|
|Price(At least compared to LingQ|
|Good balance between premium and free version|
Whether you prefer LingQ or Lingvist will largely depend on your personal preference. Learning a language is a highly subjective process.
If you like an app that is beautiful to look at, I’d suggest Lingvist (by any metric LingQ is not pretty). This may sound like a shallow statement, but then you’re more likely to return to an app if it's easy on the eye.
The pricing also has to be taken into account. If you're learning a second language on a budget, Lingvist is the better option. If you have a bit more cash to throw about, then perhaps you could try LingQ. Personally, I think if you're assessing them dollar for dollar, Lingvist is better value for money.
It's clear LingQ is trying to corner the 'obscure' languages market, but the question remains if they can match their competitors. Lingvist does the core languages very well and there's always the danger that in doing too many languages an app can execute some of them poorly affecting the overall product. With some users complaining of flashcard bugs with LingQ, perhaps this is already the case.
Some learners prefer to study a foreign language in isolation and others in a language learning community. LingQ is definitely for those who feel like they need a study buddy or even a teacher. In my experience, people learn much better if there's someone else to keep them accountable.
LingQ offers a wider array of learning methods. Particularly impressive is the ability to create your own lessons from Youtube and Netflix content. This study by Muntane and Soto-Faraco shows a 17% improvement in listening proficiency for those who learned English with English subtitles as opposed to those who chose subtitles in their native language.
As a native speaker and language learner, I'd choose Lingvist but then that's just because I happen to be learning one of their core languages. I'm inclined to support them in the hope that once they have more investment they can provide access to lesser-known languages.
What is also particularly impressive is the seeming drive and ability of their management team.
Ultimate Decision: Lingvist is the best language app between the two.
As a native speaker of English, it is tempting to rest on your laurels and never learn a new language. Learning a new language is not a natural thing to do. Babies do not have to worry about conjugating verbs.
When I learn a language I approach it the same way I approach a math problem. When you first come across numbers there is something alien about them and it's the same when you come across new sounds or scripts. Unless you're Einstein, numbers never come as easily as mimicking your mother's vocalizations, but with enough practice, they can become second nature. Think of a language app as a calculator that helps you with the process.
When you take a second language course you don't only get a sense of personal satisfaction, but you are also rewarded in your personal and professional life. Any local is delighted to hear their mother tongue spoken back at them by someone they don't expect. This also extends into the boardroom. You have an undeniable advantage over your competitors if you know a little of the language of your partners or clients.
Choosing the right language learning app can be a difficult choice. The market is chock full of options from giants like Babbel, Duolingo, and Rosetta Stone to smaller ones like LingQ, Lingvist, and Busuu. You are investing time, money as well as expectations in something that may ultimately disappoint you.
Here at Ling, we are committed to finding you the platform that works best for you. If your mind still isn't made up, why don't you check out some other reviews our writers have written on Elsa and Lingualift and if you still aren't sold, try Ling. An app that offers many of the same features as the apps discussed plus a little extra.
There's no time to waste. Learn a new language today.