LingQ 5.0 (Japanese) Review

By far my favorite way to learn a new language is through using LingQ. I came across them by chance several years ago and have been hooked ever since.

I’ve tried it out with Japanese, Ukrainian, Chinese (Traditional), and even English (ha!). But the one language that I really put all of my time and effort into was Japanese, so this post will be my LingQ 5.0 Japanese review.

They recently came out with a major update to their platform (hence the 5.0), so I would also like to update my old review to talk about LingQ as it is today. Let’s begin!

How LingQ Helps You Learn

learning with lingq

LingQ is primarily focused on helping people learn a new language through lots of reading and lots of listening.

This method of learning is known as “input” and in my own personal experience it is a very effective way of learning Japanese.

I think this is because the human brain is a pattern seeking and pattern recognition mechanism.

When you feed it lots and lots of material, it has a lot of opportunities to notice those patterns and figure out the meaning behind them.

For myself I’ve noticed this when I encounter a word I’ve seen a few times before and am able to understand it, even when it’s presented in an entirely new context.

It works well with grammar too, as the same pattern occurs again and again in new situations and with new words surrounding it.

However, the main problem that I had with learning new words and phrases in Japanese was looking up the meanings of new ones and then trying to remember them.

LingQ’s platform helped me out immensely with this!

lingqs japanese reader

As you can see from the picture above (and the previous one too), LingQ lets you read and listen to material entirely in Japanese.

When you click on a word, information like its meaning and pronunciation are provided. Being able to look up and learn new words like this has saved me hundreds of hours (not even exaggerating).

But LingQ goes even further than that.

As you can see from the pictures, the words have different colored highlights associated with them.

Blue words are new, which means you haven’t encountered them yet and have an opportunity to learn them.

Just click on the word, and see what it means!

Once you do this, you add it to your own personal dictionary and the color changes to yellow.

Yellow words are ones that you’ve seen before and can try to remember what they mean. This sort of recall exercise is excellent in helping lock in new information.

Finally, once you feel that you know the word, you can change the color to white.

Eventually you get to the point where an entire page is white because you’ve learned all the new words, and you can simply focus on enjoying the material.

It is a surprisingly simple, yet incredibly effective way to learn new words. That, and it saves a lot of time.

Why Learning Vocabulary Is Goal #1

Steve Kaufmann is one of the founders of LingQ and creates a lot of YouTube videos that talk about language learning in general, and how people can use LingQ to study more effectively.

Here is a video of his that explains why learning vocabulary is the #1 goal in language learning and how LingQ is designed to help.

Check it out as he shows many of the tools and features that are designed into the platform.

Learn From Content You Love

harry potter in japanese

If you’ve ever taking a language learning class through school, you’ve no doubt gone through the textbook learning phrases like “the apple is red.”

…which of course it something I say every day, lol!

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with beginner materials since they are really just meant to get you going.

But the whole point of learning a new language is so that you can enjoy the good stuff!

When it came to learning Japanese, I was primarily interested in being able to read manga and light novels, watch anime, and play JRPGs all in the native language.

The thing that blew my mind was that LingQ allowed me to do most of these while I was learning!

LingQ allows people to import native Japanese content and start using it to learn the language.

To me, that is incredible because it turns study time into play time.

In other words, I didn’t have to learn Japanese first and then I would be able to read The Rising Of The Shield Hero.

Instead, I could import the light novel and audiobook and use it as my learning materials.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned Japanese from after importing them into LingQ:

  • Podcasts
  • YouTube videos
  • Netflix shows
  • Anime
  • News articles
  • Light novels
  • Guided courses

For me this was great for two reasons:

  1. I got to enjoy my study materials.
  2. I learn the common words and phrases used in these materials.

So instead of learning polite Japanese from a book and then trying to understand what the characters were saying when I watched anime, I could just learn those exact words in the anime I was watching and pretty soon I understood it all.

And all I had to do was click on the “import” button. LingQ did all the heavy lifting for me.

LingQ also has a large library of material for users (beginner to advanced levels).

So even if you don’t have anything that you want to import right now, there is plenty of stuff to look through until you find something interesting.

If all of this sounds cool, then you can try it out for free by clicking the link below:

Click Here To Try LingQ

There is quite a bit more that you can do on LingQ and I’d like to talk about some of that next.

Practice Speaking and Writing Too

japanese tutors

I would say that the primary focus of the platform is reading and listening (input), but they also provide opportunities to practice speaking and writing (output) as well.

There are lots of qualified tutors that you can book an appointment with and practice having a conversation with – entirely in Japanese!

The nice thing about doing this through LingQ is that the tutors can note any words or phrases that you struggle with so that you can later review them in LingQ.

There is also a section where you can practice writing in Japanese and people can make corrections to it in order to help it sounds both correct and natural.

On Computer, Phone, And Tablet

The great thing about digital technology is that you can access it from just about anywhere. I’ve used LingQ on my computer at home, my computer at work (don’t tell my boss!), my android phone while I was out, and also my iPad when I visited my brother.

Generally speaking, I will use LingQ on my computer at home when I know that I can sit down and spend an hour or so going through new material that contains a lot of new words I will need to look up and add to my personal dictionary.

But when I’m out for a walk, driving in the car, or doing data entry type stuff at work I will typically load up LingQ on my smart phone and go to the Playlist where I can listen to the audio of my lessons.

phone screen

This is nice too because all I have to do is upload the material once (usually on my computer) and then I can access it anytime I want to.

I might start reading a new chapter at home, but finish it the next day on my phone during my lunch break.

It’s pretty convenient.

Additional Features

words read

If you’re like me, you are interested in seeing statistics on the things you do a lot.

For example, I like to see how many steps I’ve taken in a day / week / month. I like to see how many hours I’ve played certain video games on steam, and so on.

LingQ allows you to do the same thing with categories such as:

  • Known Words
  • LingQs Created
  • Listening Hours
  • Words of Reading
  • Coins Earns
  • and more

The reason why I like this is because it provides motivation to keep at it, and even to set goals for improvement.

Speaking of goals, LingQ hosts regular challenges that people in the community can sign up for in order to work on improving their language abilities together.

Which brings me to the community. There is a forum for everyone so that people can connect with one another, share success stories, study tips, or just hang out.

japanese language learning form

The people I’ve spoken with are super nice and have always been really helpful whenever I’ve had a question.

Try Out LingQ and Save 35%

In my own personal experience, LingQ has been the best way to learn Japanese.

The cool thing is that everyone can sign up for a free account to see if they like it.

I’ve talked about using it myself and the many things that you can do with it, but the only real way to know if something is right for you or not is to try it yourself.

So if you’re interested in LingQ and want to get a good feel for how the program really works, then I would encourage you to try it out and see if you enjoy it.

Click Here To Try LingQ For Free

There is one additional thing that I want to share with you.

Recently I was contacted by the incredible team at LingQ and they told me that they wanted to give me a special code that I could give to all of my readers that would give them a huge discount on the Premium version.

I was super excited!

Not only do I get to share with you my favorite way to learn a new language, but I can also help you save 35% off of the regular price.

If that is something that interests you, then I encourage you to check it out by clicking on the link below:

Click Here To Save 35% Off LingQ Premium

Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thanks!

19 thoughts on “LingQ 5.0 (Japanese) Review”

  1. I already had a plan of visiting Japan this coming year but I’m concerned with learning their language,thoughts like how will I cope do run in my mind,and have been taking several measures to learn Japanese but am not getting it.luckily for me I came across how I can learn it with what I do everyday.I love reading so learning my dream language from reading is such a great idea.Thanks 

    • Yeah, I think that these next two years are going to be huge for visiting Japan, so there’s really never been a better time to start learning the language in preparation for a trip over there. Let me know if you ever have any questions on the different aspects of Japanese!  

  2. I’m definitely gonna need to check this out! I’m a gamer and an anime fan to the core, so visiting Japan is somewhere near the top of my bucket list. What seems great about these courses is that you’re learning the language in a practical manner as opposed to the generic lesson structures of most language courses. Having a new language presented with familiar reading material also seems like it would go a long way in helping you retain the information. How long did it take you to become fluent in Japanese using this platform?

    • Yeah, learning from meaningful content is definitely preferable to learning through generic lessons. However, I do feel that at the very beginning a normal lesson can be a great help since it allows you to learn the new language in bite-size amounts.

      Still, the sooner that you can learn from native material, the better off you will be. A combination of both is usually the best way to go about it, in my experience.

      As for using LingQ, I’ve been using it myself for a little over three months now and I can say that I’ve seen a huge increase in my passive vocabulary for when I’m listening and reading Japanese. 

      I’ve been using other methods before LingQ for the previous 18 months, and I can communicate just fine at normal day-to-day topics, but I really wanted to bring my Japanese vocabulary up to 30,000 or 40,000 words so that I can use Japanese at the same level as my English (native) language.

      Based on my progress so far, I would say it will probably take me another 9-12 months if I maintain my current daily pace. 

  3. Dear Nick Hoyt,

    Learning other languages is always awesome and fun, but It needs a lot of dedication and discipline.

    To share my own experience… In my childhood joined french school and later switched my medium. I started to learn Hindi, after few months I didn’t attend those classes and recently I started to learn Hebrew and didn’t shown much interest. After reading your review post LingQ Japanese I am determined to attend my Hebrew classes without skipping it. Thanks a lot!

    “Learn Languages from Content You Love” this is an awesome concept and for sure it will be a greater help.

    Thanks for the valuable advice “Do lots of reading and lots of listening in the language you’re learning” I am going to follow it. I often think Japanese is a tuff language to learn after reading your post I feel like learning languages and becoming a linguistic seems easy.

    Very helpful site and going to learn Hebrew online with Lingq. I joined Lingq thanks for the great recommendation.


    • Yeah, I think that probably any and all languages are tough to learn for someone who is monolingual. Once you’ve learn a second or third language, you are better able to learn a new once since you have that experience of success and you know some methods that work.

      As for learning through things that you find interesting, it’s a very powerful concept since it turns “study time” into “play time” once you begin to understand what’s going on. 

       A lot of people spend 1-2 hours each day doing things that the love in their native language, like watching TV or reading a book, and once you begin to do that in the language you are learning, you are virtually guaranteed success since it will ensure that you spend lots of daily time in the second language, over the course of months and years. 

      As it turns out, you can ALSO learn Hebrew through LingQ! Check out the link I left above, and use it to start a free account so that you can begin learning Hebrew through LingQ’s system! Good luck!

  4. Wow!  Thank you for this great review.  I’ve lived in Japan and learned Japanese.  I love the concept of LingQ and learning through the content you enjoy. Indirectly, I did that by certain TV programs and discussions with friends and agree 100% to do lots of reading and lots of listening in the language you’re learning. 

    This system seems way better and faster that what I have done in the past.Now I’m putting a little effort into Mandarin, and being 20+ years older, am finding much harder. Is this LingQ product available for Mandarin? Have you personally learned Japanese through this system? Whats your favorite of all the systems online to learn a foreign language? 


    • Yeah, you can definitely learn Mandarin through the system, and the best part is that you only need a single account in order to gain access to ALL of the languages on the platform.

      Like yourself, when Steve was learning languages he had to struggle to find things that he could learn from that were at his level of comprehension. But through mass effort he eventually broke through the fluency barrier. 

      Then over a decade ago he teamed up with people to create LingQ, which is like a turbo-charged version of the way he learned langues before!

      HE even says that he has actually learned more languages through LingQ in the past 10 years, than he did in the first 50 of his life!

      I’ve been studying Japanese for the past two years now, and have used a boat load of different courses, books, and methods. Out of all of them, I would definitely say that LingQ is my favorite for learning new words and increasing comprehension (both reading and listening).

      I’m using it now to boost up my Japanese vocabulary, as I want to bring it up the about the same level as my English.

  5. I found this very interesting and a great idea. Learning by reading what you enjoy. As an avid it appeals to me..

    I am wondering if this also applies to other languages like spanish? Although I guess if yes learned 17 languages it would. But, still curious. It seems very easy if your an avid reader. Will give it serious thought. 


    Scarlett and Elaine

    • Yeah, in fact you could learn Spanish even easier than Japanese through this method since Spanish is much close to English in the way that it’s structured. The written system is also 10x easier than Japanese’s!

      And the cool thing about LingQ is that once you sign up, you gain access to ALL of their available languages. So instead of having to buy a “Japanese” course or a “Spanish” course, you can just get the one LingQ account and start learning any language from interesting content.

      Good luck! 

  6. This was an awesome read. It’s very impressive that Steve Kaufmann is able to speak around 17 languages using doing simply lots of reading and lots of listening. He kind of reminded me of how I learned English. My native language is Chinese. Learning English as a second language was not an easy thing to do. Whenever people asked me how I learned to speak English. I never really knew how to answer them. After reading your LingQ Japanese Review. I 100% agree with LingQ’s approach. He reminded me that I used do a lot of reading, listening on the radio, watching tv, and also speaking with Natives to learn English. These are some great ways to improve your new language skill. I took three years of Japanese in high school. I barely remember any of them now. I’ve been thinking about brushing up on my Japanese but didn’t know where to begin. I am so glad to read your article. This is one of the most informative and helpful articles about LingQ Japanse review. I like the idea of learning the language through reading and listening to stories. I also like the fact that you can sign up for free.I will definitely check it out. What can you lose when you have a chance to use something for free. Thank you so much for sharing. 

    • Yeah, I can say just from reading your comment that your English is excellent! Probably even better than some of my American friends, lol!

      Yeah, the thing about learning is that the human brain is always looking for and recognizing patterns. And since all languages are just a collection of repeating patterns, once your brain gets enough data into it through reading and listening, it begins to figure out how it works.

      There are lots of ways to learn a new language, but LingQ is (in my opinion) one of the best, if not THE very best!

  7. That is a really cool program and I just signed up for it from reading about it in this post.  I have always been a huge fan of learning different languages.  I’ve always said that “anyone can get a degree, but learning multiple languages takes a super power” lol

    I have used duolingo for a few years now and I even listen to podcasts and youtube learning videos, but this looks really good.  I like how you can translate the words and hear them.  I can’t wait to dive in and see how it helps me learn! Thanks for introducing me to this 🙂

    • Yeah, I’ve also tried out Duolingo in the past, and I felt that they were pretty good, but I didn’t really enjoy all of the translation exercises that they use to help you learn the new language. 

      Definitely give LingQ a try and see how you enjoy learning from the interesting topics and stories that are available on there.  The cool thing is that you get access to ALL languages through LingQ, so you can learn multiple ones if you would like to. 

  8. This LingQ is so interesting in the way it caters learning to individual’s needs. You choose what you want to learn, and add those words to your database. The color scheme is such a genius idea too, so it makes a more lasting impression if you know you had encountered this word before. It helps to tickle your memory even if you have forgotten about having read it before. 

    I’d be trying this out, as I’m visiting Okinawa for holiday in December. Thanks for the recommendation! 

    • Yeah, I also love the color scheme since, just like you mentioned, it reminds you of when you’ve already seen a word. This usually prompts you to try and remember the meaning or the pronunciation and many times you can then recall it.

      It’s definitely a great way to learn a new language! 

  9. Wow Nick, I’m like, super hooked and inspired when I read about Steve’s journey!

    I was like him once, except that I didn’t manage to learn that many languages fast and I only started picking up a language better and faster after I’ve reached that country. There are many language courses all over the world but it’s the story of how they formed up that interests me to join one and start committing myself to learning till I learned the language. 

    Out of curiosity, how many hours do you spend listening and reading before you are able to do it faster each time? 

    • Yeah, I also was inspired by Steve’s language learning journey and I’ve even read his book where he basically talks about the first 50 years of his life or so. A really fascinating read if you ever get the chance.

      As for hours spent with the language, it’s kind of tough to estimate, but I spend about three hours a day of listening (most of it while doing other stuff) and then I read about 3,000 words per day.

      What I’ve noticed is that anything new takes work to understand, but when I re-read something after two or three months it’s actually pretty easy. I think it’s a combination of learning new words, and of course going back over old ones again. 


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