In the last few years, a lot of new technology has come out to help you learn a new language. Some of this technology lies within our wheelhouse of helping you learn languages with TV shows. Included in this list is a resource called LingoPie.
LingoPie started in 2019 and is on a mission to make language learning fun and easy. This is a tool that could be used while you’re in the Language TV Club to help give you an extra boost to your routine. Currently, LingoPie offers 9 languages, but has plans to add more.
In this post, we’ll go through all of the features that we found to be interesting, some features that could be improved and ways in which you can use LingoPie at different levels of learning.
In being forthright and transparent, some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links which means we may receive earnings if you use these links then purchase the product/service. All affiliate links will be marked with a *.
Getting Started with LingoPie
One cool feature within LingoPie* is that you can filter your video results based on level, genre or duration. This is super helpful because you won’t waste your time on content that is too easy or too difficult. You have the choice to watch videos from their thoughtfully curated video library or via Netflix, using a Chrome extension or Safari app. Some of the languages also have a music option.
While LingoPie is thoughtful about their video selections, I have found that some of them are just not very high quality. As they are able to partner with more production studios, this will hopefully improve. I think it also depends on which language library you are looking at. I’ve found that the selections for Spanish are much better than the selections for Chinese, for example.
When preparing to watch a video, you can start by seeing a list of proposed new vocabulary for you (sometimes available). This will help prime your brain to help your recall when you encounter these words in the video. Then, you can change the speed of playback. It provides you with speeds that work best for the 3 main levels: beginner=.65, intermediate=.75, advanced=.9
Also, you can change your subtitles between the languages, including romanized versions as an option, and have dual subtitles.
What to Do While Watching
While you are watching a video with LingoPie*, there are a few things you can do to make the passive activity of watching a more active and deliberate session of learning. If you hover over a subtitle, the video will pause so that you can choose to add this word/phrase to your My Vocab list. If there is a subtitle that is specifically challenging, there is a “loop” button to keep replaying the subtitle until you’ve got it.
Use the buttons on the bottom (headphones or microphone) to practice listening and speaking specific subtitles. When you record yourself speaking, it is supposed to give you a grade. I am not sure how accurate this is yet, because I feel like I imitated a phrase pretty good, but got a score of 0/100.
Using the script on the side of the screen, you can press the lightbulb for a grammar explanation. While this does seem helpful, it doesn’t always explain the grammar that you wanted to know about. I think it would be helpful if there was a chatbot or something there, so you could ask about a specific structure in the subtitle.
The words marked with a star are supposed to be perfect for your level. These can alert you to pay attention to these words and phrases. I feel that these are not always chosen correctly, so I wonder how this is done. There might be a better way for the system to track and tag appropriate words.
Talking about structure, some subtitles are grouped into phrases and are translated based on context, which makes sense, because if everything was translated word-for-word, some sentences just wouldn’t be translated right. If you want to know what the individual words mean, there is an option to click on the “details” in order to see the translations of the single words, which I appreciate, but you can’t save these words individually.
Additional Features of LingoPie
Outside of the videos themselves, LingoPie* offers other resources to support your learning.
At any time, you can check your My Vocab list to see words and phrases that you’ve saved from all of your videos. There are also 3 different games to play to help you review them - Flashcards, Pop Quiz (multiple choice), and Word Master (a matching game). One really cool feature that I like, is that from your word bank, and even some of the review games, you can click on a word to see the scene where it was spoken. This is really helpful because it gives you some extra context to recall the meaning of that word, then you can use that pair of word+scene to remember that word’s meaning in the future.
There is an option to take live lessons, that are usually about a given topic. These lessons seem to only be available for French and Spanish at this time.
There is also a Discord community, so that you can connect with other learners and possibly use this space to ask questions or discuss videos.
Using LingoPie at Different Language Levels
To effectively try out this learning app, I wanted to make sure to try it with different levels that I am currently experiencing.
First, I started with beginner. I chose Korean because I know absolutely nothing in Korean. I used the filter to choose basic level videos. I ended up watching an animated video that was 7 minutes long. It was made for children, about some flowers discussing the importance of washing hands before eating, so it was very interesting. I ended up selecting 11 words and phrases that I thought could help me make my first sentences in Korean.
I will say that even though this video was only 7 minutes, it seemed VERY long. I ended up using the “skip to next subtitle” feature to skip through some of the video that was not so interesting and didn’t have many helpful words.
At the end of the video, a pop quiz began and I got to practice identifying the words I had just learned. I ended up being able to correctly choose 8 of 10! Do I remember those words now? No I do not, so I definitely would need to review many more times. I think that starting as an absolute beginner was difficult for this type of learning. I tried to use the grammar lightbulb feature to help me, but I think having a general overview of the language would have been helpful before starting this way.
Next was intermediate. For this level, I chose Chinese. I liked that in the subtitles, you can choose to have the pinyin along with the characters. There weren’t too many options to choose from at this level, but I imagine they are working on that. There are definitely a lot more videos in the Spanish inventory compared to the Chinese inventory.
I think at this level there are more series from Netflix that are appropriate for you, which can give you more options and also keep you a bit more motivated. But they do have some food-related videos that I enjoyed.
Next, I moved to an advanced language of mine, Spanish. I was delightfully surprised to find a much larger inventory of videos in all of the levels, as well as the options for kids. There was also the ability to choose videos based on 5 different country dialects in the filter section, which was neat, because the vocabulary and pronunciation can change quite a bit between different Spanish-speaking countries.
Even at this level, I was still able to find vocabulary words that were new to me and saved them in my word bank. However, I believe I still remember almost all of them if you quizzed me now, compared to Korean words that I learned without a base to tie them to.
Overall, I believe LingoPie is a very helpful resource. It can be useful for tracking progress too. You can access your My Vocab list at any time and also see how much time you’ve spent watching and learning at the top of your main screen. This can give you an idea of if your time has been worth it. Once you’ve checked words off as “Know”, you’ll also have an idea of how many words you’ve actually learned throughout your time with LingoPie.
Do I recommend you try it out? If you like to learn languages with TV shows, then yes. And why not? They have a 7-day free trial* so you can see if you like it.
Have more questions about how to learn languages with TV shows? Ask us in the comments below!