Lingvist takes you to B2 level

Team Lingvist says: "At the moment, you can expect to learn up to 6000 words on our English-French module, making it roughly equivalent to a B2 level speaker."

November 12, 2014


I've used it for nearly 3 hours over the past few days and it's definitely effective for learning vocabulary. I like the conjugation tables and the read/listen sections too. I'm looking forward to Japanese being available (hopefully I won't have to pay much for it).

November 12, 2014

I have tried Lingvist for a few days now and at least their spaced repetition algorithms seem to work. In Duolingo I have to micromanage myself which lessons to review. No matter how many times I fail certain words in Duolingo they just don't show up more often.

November 15, 2014

It is a beta version and it is only free in the beta version. Only English-French is available now. It is not a sentence based program like Duolingo, but a word drilling system. So far as i see , there are fewer than 5000 words. It is very suggestive: you see the lenght of the word you have to find and you have the information of the sentence. You don't have the possibility for a second possibility / Synonym: only one word is correct.

It's nice, when it's free and as extra by Duolingo.

There is much information about grammatic for each sentence, maybe something for implementing in DL?

November 12, 2014

Lingvist also teaches English and French from Estonian.

November 12, 2014

I've no idea if it will remain free, but then again I don't mind paying for some things. I think we are spoilt with great things like duolingo that are totally free!

You are wrong in that it will accept synonyms, it has for me several times. It is very helpful at distinguishing words with similar meanings - something that duolingo isn't (as it generally allows slightly wrong/non-native word usage).

November 13, 2014

To the synonyms: They do accept some but it looks like they don't currently have a process running to integrate them systematically. I wrote a bug report about a missing synonym a few days ago and received a response from one of the developers, saying they are aware of the issue and working on it.

November 13, 2014

That's pretty awesome in itself, that you wrote them and received an answer in a few days.

January 3, 2015

I don't know, not ignoring bug reports is something I'd consider just polite. But, yes, I know what you mean :)

January 3, 2015

Haha DuoLingo, I've lost count of the bug reports (sometimes I've reported 3 in one day) and have yet to see a single report.

I've seen one or two of the bugs fixed...but even there I don't know that they were actively fixed, or if they started working by default after they did an overhaul of some other feature on the site.

I treat DuoLingo like VERY GOOD functions pretty much like abandonware though, I've seen really basic glitches, stuff that, as a web programmer, I would think of as being "low hanging fruit" as bug fixing, go 1-2 years without ever being fixed.

November 14, 2017

Duo+Lingvist is a great combination for learning French. I don't think Lingvist can, on its own, teach you a language from 0 to B2; on the other hand I am finding it really effective for learning words. You don't reach a B2 level with just the 2000 words you learn on Duo.

November 13, 2014

At this rate, I should get to 6000 words way before I've spent 200 hours on there... I am now at 780 words after 2:34 hours. I guess that just means I am not spending enough time on the Read and Listen bits!

Interestingly, I stumbled across an post in Estonian on their blog, which says that the service is free at this stage of development for Estonian learners. Estonian learners -- does this mean they are planning to start charging non-Estonian learners earlier?

November 13, 2014

I have 600 words in two days (8 hours). The most time you need is to repeat the errors you made. The third day i had more than 200 words to repeat and that only takes 50 minutes. And i'm in the range 80-90 procent correct answers. The 200 hours should be for people who starts with a new language. And the counting of the hours is on the low end, i think i takes a max. seconds for each answer.

But it is a very good program:

  • many very good listening and reading text
  • very good voices
  • the sentences are all usable in daily life, what's not for DL
  • better statistical folluw up: how much time every day, new words every day, procent correct sentences
  • it is not based on translation English> French (the translation of the sentence is hidden and is only visible when moving with the mouse above it)
  • only the translation of the word is visible, but also all the other possible translations of the word
  • you don't lose time with typing English sentences and you aren't punished for an error in the English sentences, what is very important for students that are not native English (like me)
  • for verbs you get al the conjugations, and al the differen conjugations that are the same for different times and persons

But also the negative things: - no social contact and help from other students like in DL - no grammar explication - not excellent for students who don't have a basic knowledge of the language and his grammar.

I think it's ideal when you have finished the language tree Eng><French in both directions and a little time practicing in DL. (like me).

I have learned a lot in DL (English, German, French), but for French i use now Lingvist.

November 14, 2014

Basic grammar explanations are there now :) (At least for the French course)

December 11, 2014

My statistics don't really count since I'm already pretty comfortable with French. But just to add another data point: 4 hours, 1372 words, 98-99% correct. I really like the collection of texts and audio samples. This project looks really promising to me.

November 14, 2014

I like Lingvist as supplement to Duolingo, but if "Team Lingvist" think that it is a self-contained language learning programme then they are crazy. It is a very useful vocabulary drill, but nothing more. Learning a language is much, much more than learning vocabulary. Do they really not know this? Have any of them ever been involved in teaching languages before?

Having said that I hope the Duo team will look at Lingvist and see if they could use its method of just testing one word in a sentence to introduce new vocabulary during the Duo tree. It would make life much better for us when learning new words if when we begin a new skill we could see the new words that are going to be introduced and then have Lingvist-like fill in the one missing word tests, before we go on to the usual Duo translation questions. Perhaps this could replace the rather dodgy multiple choice questions, which are usually of little value.

In addition it would be great if Duo could follow the Lingvist pattern and add another 4000 words after the normal tree was finished, as well as reinforce the words already learned, by having a second tree based on just filling in the one new word in a sentence.

November 14, 2014

Wouldn't Duo be cheating just a bit by introducing everything in that last paragraph and following in our footsteps so closely? ;)

Having said that, we appreciate every bit of feedback. The Memorize section has received the largest chunk of time from our overall development, but we're planning to put more emphasis on reading and listening, and also introduce various new exercise types at some point in the future. However, with our small team everything takes a lot of time.

Do you think Duo (or any other similar language site) has enough content and different elements to be a self-contained language-learning programme? Why (not)?

December 11, 2014

Hi Lingtiina,

I don't think that it is "cheating" for a language website to see what others are doing and learn from them. I think that Lingvist is very good at what it does, and I learned all 4,676 words from it pretty quickly, but I think that it should look at sites like Duo and Yabla to see how it can improve.

Is Duo a self-contained site with enough content? Not at all. Duo is useful practice for long term learners like me, but I think that it is useless for ordinary beginners who are neither following another course, nor are brilliant self-teachers and multi-linguists who can discover all the language rules for themselves.

I have recently started using which is a series of graded grammar tests from A1 beginner to B2. I have learned so much from it, even from the A1 section, and wish that simple grammar explanations like those in were fully integrated into Duo. But is not self-contained and is lacking in the vocabulary teaching that you get in Lingvist, the sentence writing that you get in Duo, and the aural and vocabulary practice you get in Yabla.

Both Duo and Lingvist should look at and work out how they can include progressive grammar explanations into their programmes. Unfortunately it seems that both sites are run by people who are clever enough to work out all the rules for themselves just by looking at random sentences. Do these geniuses know how difficult it is for ordinary people like me to pick up patterns without explanations and remember them without lots of graded practice?

December 11, 2014

Hi Killary, first of all, I want to thank you for your comments. I've bookmarked and will have a look at it. Second, I want to politely disagree with what you twice stated, that Lingvist is nothing more than a vocabulary driller. They have mathematically analyzed the frequency not only of words, but of expressions. Therefore what you are learning will be immediately useful in real life (DL is sorely lacking in this area). Further, they have an excellent TTL that says each and every sentence that they drill you on, as well as individual words if you want. Learning a language is also kinesthetic; you must accustom yourself to producing the words. I repeat each sentence out loud. DL is also pretty weak in this area... for the first time, I am really diving into learning a language from scratch in DL (Swedish) and I'm finding the audio lacking. My knowledge of written Swedish is far superior than my speaking ability, and listening skills are also lower than reading (I'm trying to supplement by using the Pimsleur Basic Swedish course). What's more important is that Lingvist developers seem to understand the latest progress in language-acquisition studies -- that we tend to learn meaning in chunks. Therefore using these contextualized examples will indeed help us in achieving fluency, in the long run.

January 3, 2015

Hi Jairapetyan, I said that Lingvist is a very useful vocabulary drill, and I stand by that. It is the selection of its words, the use of phrases rather than individual words, the repetition formula and the excellent TTL that make it a very useful vocabulary drill. I found it very helpful and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good vocabulary drill.

I also stand by my comment that it is nothing more than a vocabulary drill. It lacks many of the features needed by a good language teaching programme: and the reading and listening passages are nothing special. I would be surprised if any of the nuclear scientists behind Lingvist have much experience at teaching languages to ordinary people.

January 3, 2015

I had a look at, but was surprised to not find any details about pricing, not even in the FAQ, for something that is clearly a payable service. It seems a bit suspect to me not to mention the price at all, and I was reluctant to sign up even for the free bit because of this.

As a user of this service, could you shed some light on its pricing structure?

January 3, 2015

I found that you can use for a few weeks before they ask you to pay anything. If you do not want to pay then you can just stop using it. The monthly fee, is I believe £9.99 - I expect that for most people one month would be enough to cover a lot of useful grammar topics, but I learned a lot of French grammar from it and found it worthwhile.

January 3, 2015

Thanks a lot for your reply and the information!

(Of course I realized that you can just do the free test (I got the impression that this was the only free bit on there) or some more free parts, as on many websites. But with all the good language learning tools out there, I was hesitant to even put any of my time into using something that isn't upfront about its pricing. I might drop them a line about it on their feedback form. As such, one week / month / any specific amount of time for free followed by a clearly explained fee structure is of course absolutely fine.)

January 3, 2015 contains a structored approach effective enough to be a standalone a1 to c2 program

April 3, 2019

Learning 6000 words may be necessary for reaching B2 level, but I don't think that it is sufficient. B2 requires, amongst other things:

I can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible. I can take an active part in discussion in familiar contexts, accounting for and sustaining my views.

I can present clear, detailed descriptions on a wide range of subjects related to my field of interest. I can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

As far as I can tell from my brief experience of Lingvist, it's purely a vocabulary drilling system, but if there's more to it I will be delighted to be set right.

November 12, 2014

It's mainly a vocab drilling system but I consider their collection of very diverse audio samples (including casual conversations with a lot of background noise and singing choirs) useful, too. You are right, it basically does only one thing (introducing and training vocab using short "real life" sentences as context), but as far as I can tell from a few days using it, it does it very well.

November 12, 2014

I will definitely give it a more thorough try once they launch German. It seems like a very promising resource. I just thought that their B2 claim was a little disingenuous -- perhaps they only meant to imply that you will acquire vocabulary sufficient for B2, but I find "making it equivalent to a B2 speaker" rather ambiguous. 6000 words and nothing else might well get a learner to B2 reading level, though.

November 12, 2014

Yes, sure. The wording is (maybe intentionally) ambiguous. I read it as being only about the vocabulary since this is obviously what they are doing, but there definitely are better options to phrase it.

November 12, 2014

From what I can tell, their 6000 words is counting things like dire dite dit and disons all as different words, so even that is dubious. Although, I've used it for a few hours since joining a few days ago and I do like it, especially the voices.

November 12, 2014

Does Duolingo count verb conjugations? It seems like it does.

November 16, 2014

It does. I believe Duo does not actually support words having different forms. I remember the English->Turkish team saying this is why they can't do very much; Turkish is agglutinative and Duo has no support for a language like that.

November 18, 2014

It might get you to a B2 level for reading/listening , but it won't give you a B2 level written or spoken/conversational skills.

Drilling straight vocab won't give you the ability to speak or write properly

Edit: I actually still use it regularly alongside duolingo, because its voice is far far superior to the duo bot. Duolingo is good for grammar & writing, whereas lingvist is good for listening comprehension & vocab.

November 12, 2014

Another observation: at Lingvist their advertises their site saying that they can teach you a language in "only" 200 hours. It is not a small time, considering that it is a flash-cards-based course: as a matter of fact they suggest to do 150 cards per day to have the maximum learning rate. Personally I am able to do 150 cards in about 20 minutes, which is 1 hour every 3 days, thus 200 hours in 600 days, almost 2 years! 2 years is not a long time to learn a language, but 200 hours sounds definitely better!

November 14, 2014

I agree. I'm wondering whether the idea is to spend, say, 30 minutes per day doing flashcards and 30 minutes per day using the listening and reading comprehension parts? That sounds pretty ideal to me in terms of learning (although the flashcards are too much fun for me to follow this strategy just yet).

It would be very interesting to test this method for a language that one hasn't studied at all before. Even their blogger has studied a semester of French (in Brussels! -- they don't seem to count living there towards her experience in French...).

I am generally quite averse towards paying for services you can get in a slightly different form for free (cf. Duolingo), but I am curious as to how this experiment works out and what kind of pricing they will decide on in the end.

November 14, 2014

although the flashcards are too much fun for me to follow this strategy just yet

Some of the texts and audio samples are fun, too. Just try it :) Somewhere on their blog they suggest 15 min flashcard, reading one text and listening to one audio sample as a learning unit.

I'm curious about their intended pricing scheme. I am fine with paying a reasonable subscription fee for useful and time-saving tools if a) it's not too pricey and b) I don't have to pay per language. The latter is a real show-stopper for me on sites like Babbel.

November 14, 2014

I have tried them a bit, and they seemed quite good (or am I mixing up my experience of this with my experience of -- we really are spoiled for choice nowadays!). But I just love the fast pace of the flashcards, especially in combination with the realistic sentences and excellent pronunciation.

I never even imagined that the pricing might be per language... That would indeed be a no-no.

November 14, 2014

I would like it if they actually had "learning units," as you mention. Something you can try to do in ten or twenty minutes. You can always do more if you have the time. When you get on and start, it's like swimming straight out into the ocean; there's no end in sight.

January 3, 2015

Personally, I'm fine either way but for the majority of learners it's probably a good idea.

January 3, 2015

They should try to keep it free, getting income from advertisers or something else. I am also using Mango, which must be paid because I have to access it though my library account.

January 3, 2015

Hmm, I don't really like the ad idea. IMHO, learning sites should be kept free from ads. I'd rather pay a (reasonable©) fee.

January 3, 2015

I have just completed the Memorise part of Lingvist French. According the statistics I spent 29 hrs 18 minutes over ten days and now know 4676 words. They say that they will be adding more words soon, but that at the moment they have no more new ones to test me with, although I can still go back to the section to be tested on words I have got wrong in the past.

I would recommend Lingvist (especially while it is free) to anyone who has finished the Duo French tree, or is quite a way down it, and wants to try a different challenge. I cannot see that it would be much good for beginners.

The vocabulary in Lingvist contains a lot more colloquial words and slang expressions than Duo, even some swear words I think. I believe that this is very useful. They seem to count all the different tenses and persons of a verb as separate words, as well as adding the feminine and plural forms of adjectives when they come up - which means that you do not really know 4000+ different words, more like 2,500 I would say.

I wish that the brains behind Lingvist (or Duo) would produce a programme that teaches all the verb forms in a systematic and interactive way. It would be so useful to have the patterns pointed out to us gradually, with us having to learn and be tested on each tense, voice and mood for regular and irregular verbs alike, before moving on to the next one. Michel Thomas taught all the verb forms really well just using a few cassette tapes - with well-written software it could be so much easier to really know how the verbs work, instead of having to guess all the time.

November 17, 2014

I'm definitely going to try Lingvist. I like Memrise a lot in addition to Duo because I feel they each cover different areas and complement each other well. I've also been directed to try Quizlet but I didn't like it that much... I'll try going back to it in a while and see if we "connect".

I tried the Michel Thomas German course and found it difficult to follow... I was never sure when I was supposed to be speaking and when I was supposed to be listening. He sure knows his stuff, but for audio learning I prefer Pimsleur.

January 23, 2017

Babbel does that. But of course, it is not free...

October 1, 2017 does verb conjugation for many languages irregular conjugations shows up as red. On lingist they show conjugations under the gear icon.

March 13, 2018
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