Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby Cainntear » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:37 pm

Xmmm wrote:Hi Cavesa,

There is an anti-LingQ bias here that drives me a little nuts.

No, there are several people that don't like LingQ, and you just happened to quote one of the most vocal and us -- me.

To call me cantankerous or overopinionated would be fine, but it's not a bias -- it's a considered opinion, and I give reasons for that opinion.

As I said, whatever the development and hosting costs, the real value in LingQ comes from the library of materials, most of which is user submissions.

I believe that anyone who charges money to mediate the exchange of voluntary free material between individuals has to add value, and I personally don't feel that LingQ (the commercial entity) adds enough value to LingQ (the website) to justify the price.

In particular, as Cavesa also points out, LingQ doesn't suggest new material -- it forces you to choose based on a single dimensional figure: number of new words. A site like that could track so much more, including using an SRS-style "memory schedule" to ensure sufficient repetition of newly-learned words. It doesn't.

And that's what I mean about lack of ongoing development -- there is a whole range of things it doesn't do, but they haven't done anything to reduce that list since they first released: it is still the same product, with just a few cos,etic changes.
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby Cavesa » Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:50 pm

No metrics and no audio doesn't need to be a con. But it is true Lingq is the only one of the 3 with an app (usable offline, I suppose). I cannot use Readlang in public transport.

I think there actually is something like "metrics" in Readlang. You know how many % of a book you've read. The SRS probably inludes some metrics, I have been using Readlang for a too short time to really know. I'll post in this thread, when I know.

I think LingQ is receiving such a reaction due to the too arrogant marketing. I simply expect something very different from a tool trying to convince me it is the only thing I'll ever need to learn a language. All those "cute" stories about the creator recommending a beginning learner to get rid of all those boring and confusing coursebooks and just use LingQ, and other such stuff. And there was (perhaps still is) an issue with paid services being accessible for providing services to learners of your native language. As a native of an unpopular language, I feel at an unfair disadvantage every time I encounter this and it disgusts me.

The lack of improvement Caintear mentions is also an issue. For 10 dollars per month, I would expect quite frequent updates with useful functions, adding things users want, adding more content, more languages. LingQ has been around long enough to include at least some smaller languages too. But has there been such a progress during the last few years? Last time I checked, it didn't seem so. Either make a product and sell it for one time payment as it is. Or sell a service for a monthly fee, but continue working on it and earn the new and new payments.

So far, my greatest complaint about Readlang has been the ugly green colour reminding me of hospitals (it is the most common shade of operating theatre clothes for people who don't touch the patient). :-D Which is not a bad result.
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby Stefan » Thu Dec 22, 2016 11:08 pm

Xmmm wrote:LWT

pros: free

cons: no metrics, no audio, no phone app. time consuming to install and maintain. Potential security risks that aren't present in the two competitors.

I hate to be overly pro LWT because it's not without issues but I'm questioning your cons.


You've got stats for added words, known words, words per text, known words per text, learned words per day/week/month/total. Probably even more. Not sure what kind of measurements you're lacking to put it on cons?

There's support for audio if you want to use it?

No phone app. This is honestly my biggest issue considering my laptop broke and I've only got an iPad now. LWT is made for the browser so it works exactly as it does on your computer but I find it a bit clunky to work with considering I lack a keyboard. I'm not sure how other sites solves this? Edit: apparently there's a dedicated phone view.

Time consuming? It probably took me a few minutes to set up and once you have, it will work exactly as it does until you update the software to make it incompatible or a dictionary decides to change their API. With that said, it depends completely on your computer knowledge and might be an issue for people.


It's free.

You own the data. In theory you can store a computer for 100 years, pick it up and continue with your current database. Altavista is dead. GeoCities is dead. Myspace is sort of dead. Every known service will be gone or changed in x years.

It's open source. Not only can the community continue to develop the source long after the creator is gone but you can also make changes yourself. I wrote a script that incorporates Google Translate as API. I also wrote a script that automatically imports texts just by visiting a link.

Security issue. It's a pro and con built into one. You're saying that LWT is open for potential security risks. I'm saying that I can view the source code and put a lock on the whole domain or maybe even avoid making it accessible online. At the same time, I have no idea if there's a LingQ leak already published with everyones information. Yahoo recently admitted that they leaked 1 billion accounts.

With this said, there's little ongoing development and no one is paying a monthly fee to support it. At the same time, it's doubtful if it would be enough anyway - just look at Readlang. If you know nothing about programming, you can always save up your "monthly fee" and pay a freelancer to develop the functions you're missing.
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby rdearman » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:41 pm

Actually I installed LWT on a machine with access to the internet, and you can use it on a phone, you just go to the website. :)
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby ロータス » Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:27 am

(My god, am I a slow typer. I swear I started this most at 12 something :? )

I would like to add my thoughts to this conversation.

I'm like Xmmm. Textbooks and courses bore me to tears and I never feel like I'm actually learning anything so I stick with learning by reading. Why? Because I love reading. I enjoy it and after seeing several other people claim they learned a language without anki, textbooks, flashcards etc., I wanted to be one of those people. Only problem was that the languages those people learned were 'easy'. As in European languages. So with me learning Japanese, I always felt I was at a disadvantage. Been trying to learn JP for a while and have checked LingQ, Readlang and LWT before. All supported Japanese but not correctly or easily. So I gave up on programs and just started reading whatever I wanted. Easy stuff of course and over time I have noticed I am remembering words I have seen several times before so its working out.

So about this LingQ vs Readlang vs LWT. I read both Xmmm posts and Cavesa posts and was fully ready to 100% side with Cavesa but decided to go check out these programs before I posted.

Nothing much has changed from the last time I used it. Only now you have to pay to do phrases. Not a problem for most language but for Japanese it is. See, Japanese does not have any spacing so in order for me to look up a word, I have to drag my mouse across several character. Readlang sees this as a phrase... So from the get go, I would have to pay just to use the word look up more then 5 times a day. This is where I agree with Cavesa. I dont like paying weekly/monthly for something I might not get to use everyday because of life, school etc. I will feel like I'm wasting money, no matter how little it is, and I hate that. Would rather pay full price for something then have to feel forced to use something everyday. Another problem Readlang has for Japanese is that it only shows the definition of a word. Fine for most languages but Japanese has kanji. So in order to read Japanese you need to know the readings of those kanji and the meaning. Readlang only shows the meaning. And still counts JP as a beta language after all these years so no hope of this getting updated.

Set up is easy but thats because I know computers. Works for Japanese just fine but the look up is a pain. Again because JP doesnt have any spacing, in order to look up a word you have to first click on the first character of the word you want to look up then click on the last character of the word in the little popup that comes up then type in the definition that shows up the the bottom right window then pick a color on how well you know the word and finally click save. Thats alot of clicks and really annoying. I even tried now saving the words and just looking them up but the popup didn't like that and would sometimes get stick.

Back in the day, LingQ was awful for Japanese. Big spaces in between words, google translate the only source for definition( outside of community input ones), couldn't join words that were incorrectly spaced out together, 'words' that weren't really just words but words with grammar particles added on to them. Just a big NO for me. But now, it actually looks worth the cost. Things I liked:
  • Site looks more pretty and organized (after playing around with it)
  • Able to look up words from actually good JP-ENG dic (jisho, tangorin, even Weblio!)
  • Way more Japanese lessons than before ( stuff that actually is interesting and not straight from a textbook)
  • More lessons from JapaneseLingQ (before they stopped at Beginner 1, now they have over 50 Intermediate lessons)
  • Can get rid of spacing between words
  • Can drag words together if still spaced out wrong
  • Furigana over kanji (and it actually looks correct)
  • Kind-of like this 'Recommended Lessons' but might get annoying after awhile

Things I dont like:
  • Still got that stupid avatar thing
  • This Quick Start Guide when I open a lesson ( hopefully thats gone if you sign up)
  • This 'turn the page and every words get changed to known' (maybe I just want to turn the page to see how long the lesson is?...)

LingQ has definitely improved from the last time I checked it out and very much so for the better but I wont sign up for it, for now. I still don't like the idea of paying monthly but that because right now, I'm a poor college student trying to get through college debt free. Maybe once I got a full time job and a stable life style going, I'll give LingQ another look and most likely sign up. But for now, going to be a cheapskate and see how far this free account goes. Might just read all the lesssons I like and then move on.
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby smallwhite » Sat Dec 24, 2016 5:11 pm

ロータス wrote:Things I dont like:
  • This 'turn the page and every words get changed to known' (maybe I just want to turn the page to see how long the lesson is?...)

Found this from their forum but I haven't tried it yet because I've switched to the old interface altogether.

"As you page

your lessons

all blue words

remaining on

each page


known. (Note:

This function

can be turned

off in the


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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby Stefan » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:07 am

BliuBliu seems to have a handful of mentions on the forum but not in this thread.

There are limitations with 10 own texts and time spent reading so most people probably have to pay the monthly fee. It's possible to upload books (epub, pdf, mobi, txt, docx) and they offer several books in public domain such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. They claim that a mobile app and browser extension will be developed so you can read on any site and on the go.

Their main issue is the use of Google Translate. It's amazing but really should be used together with other alternatives. Yesterday it tried to translate Gedenkgottesdienst to food service instead of something like commemoration or memorial service. By using multiple dictionaries it wasn't an issue but if you're using BliuBliu, you seem to be stuck with the Google Translate version even when you know it's wrong. I believe a site like this would benefit from using crowdsourced translations where all paying members can add and vote for suggestions and then a selected few go through and decide which ones to use. Regular users can then have a setting for which one to show as standard and show the other one when pressing a button. Some kind of system to correct errors.
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby Serpent » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:10 pm

I'm also not a fan of beginner coursebooks, and I love LR. (as described by siomotteikiru - not tiny texts but entire books!) I don't use LingQ for the same reasons as what Cavesa mentions, plus Kaufmann's complicated history with old HTLAL (this was discussed earlier in this thread).
There's no audio but I can simply login to Facebook or Twitter and get those short texts in my target languages :D

I tried out bliu bliu and liked it, but I hated how they were sending emails like "Why have you stopped learning Spanish?" which is patronizing and very ironic given that their Spanish materials were too basic for me.

GLOSS can be used as a pretty similar tool, apart from not having a popup dictionary. It does have parallel texts and audio, and also some fun exercises (not a small feat to be fun enough for me).
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby Cavesa » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:13 pm

Serpent wrote:I tried out bliu bliu and liked it, but I hated how they were sending emails like "Why have you stopped learning Spanish?" which is patronizing and very ironic given that their Spanish materials were too basic for me.

:-D Yes, I hate those too, and there are many apps or websites doing this.
About readlang. For now, I am using it more for the dictionary function than for the flashcards. I opened the flashcards once so far. But I am learning with it just like I usually do with books:a lot of extensive reading. But now, it is simply more comfortable to look up a few words here and there, which is good at the advanced level. Gonna try it with the flashcards function for German.
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Re: Sites/Apps like Readlang, Lingq,, etc.

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:39 pm

Stefan wrote:The creator of Readlang, Steve Ridout, has an interesting post about the development between 2012-2014. Sadly it seems to be difficult to make a living within language learning ($1045 in 16 months) and now he's working for Duolingo. Not much valuable info for your language learning but as a developer, I found it interesting to see how it slowly grew into the current version.

Trying to email Steve from Readlang was a deadend, but you have explained why: Steve moved on.
Steve's blog clarified for me why he charges for translating phrases. For some languages you could get by translating very few phrases and could avoid the monthly fee.
Of course, Steve would still have to eat, I suppose. Having played this game for a bit in my career, for me developing + coding + marketing all together just by me myself alone took up more time than I had available.
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