Glossika Review: Is Spaced Repetition the Right Method For You?

Glossika logoRecently I had the opportunity to use Glossika to learn some German. It is not the first time I have used the product as it formed part of my study routine for Mandarin and Spanish too. I am affiliated with Glossika and I did receive a free sample in order to be able to fully test the course(s). Although I am *affiliated with Glossika this is an impartial and honest review by a language learner for language learners designed to help you make a more informed decision about purchasing this product.

For a full list of products visit Glossika (affiliate link)

 Glossika-Banner-1

So What is Glossika?

In their words…

“Led by Michael Campbell, Glossika was established by a team of polyglots and linguists who wanted to create a method that combines the latest developments in memory, language acquisition, spaced repetition, and linguistic knowledge to make language learning fast, effective, and easy”.

In my eyes…

“Produced by professionals it is similar to Pimsleur, but with a fresh more modern twist. It makes use of the spaced repetition method, which is sentence based-and audio focused. The website now offers language learning through gamification”

What Does it Cost?  

It is It’s absolutely FREE to sign up for an account, but courses can vary in price from $94.99 to $249.99.

How I used it…

Glossika has a recommended schedule that you can use. This is a fabulous idea that will help keep you focused. It fitted in perfectly with my busy lifestyle and it was a product that I could use on the move without using up any of my mobile data! When learning Mandarin and Spanish my study time with Glossika was split into 20-40 minute sessions per day for 15 days.

What Languages are on Offer?

An amazing 40+ languages are currently on offer!

The Spaced Repetition Method

There are two learning tracks with Glossika. The GMS (Glossika Mass Sentences) and the GSR (Glossika Sentence Repetition). The GMS is for the person who has a few hours a day to study and really wants to go hard core (respect to that). The Glossika Mass Sentences method will help you get a natural feel for the grammar, for cultural sayings, and natural speech. It is better for people will less time to dedicate to studying.

Pros and Cons

The Pros 

  • Glossika uses complete, natural-sounding sentences that you’re most likely to come across in everyday conversations with native speakers. Instead of learning word lists, you learn complete sentences in context.
  • Excellent product for busy language learners that are always on the move.
  • 120+ hours of spaced repetition audio (similar to Pimsleur).
  • You have A, B, and C files that make it easy to put the files you need on an MP3 player and tailor them in an order that works best for you.
  • You have the option to get a physical book and an eBook.
  • The PDF books are really helpful and contain translations, Romanized script (such as Pinyin for Chinese), the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), as well as the language in its original script (if applicable).
  • You can work as fast or as slowly as you want to, working with a schedule that is tailored to suit your requirements.
  • Language gamification is now available on the website.

The Cons

  • Currently, there is no option to see the languages spoken. For me seeing the movements of the mouth really help to get my pronation more accurate.
  • The sentences are the same for every language that Glossika is available in! So if you purchase, for example, an English-Mandarin, English-German or an English-Spanish package, you’ll get the same sentences translated into the respective languages. For example:

“”Mi hermano es un buen jugador de tenis …”, “Mein Bruder ist ein guter Tennisspieler” AND “Wǒ gēgē shì yīgè hěn hǎo de wǎngqiú xuǎnshǒu”

  • Different languages have different metaphors, and sayings that are commonplace in everyday life, too much structure across languages does not reflect the individual expressions of the language.
  • Glossika is not really suited for the complete beginner language learner. It targets language learners who have already acquired a basic understanding of their target language.
  • There is no focus on grammar explanations. However, as Glossika is not for complete beginners you should already have the basic elements of the target language.
  • I found that pauses in between sentences are too short, and the pace of the recordings are a little fast. However, that said if you’re listening to the files on your computer or tablet you can always slow the pace down. However, if you are listening via MP3 player this may not be possible.
  • Daily doses of Glossika can get a little tedious on its own, which is why I would suggest using it as part of a language learning routine to keep things interesting. I think it is important to stimulate all senses when learning a new language.

How Do Glossika and Pimsleur Compare?

They both make use of the spaced repetition method. Pimsleur is fantastic for pronunciation, reinforcing the sound of the language into your brain, and introducing you to basic grammatical patterns. Pimsleur also forces you to interact with the material, either actively recalling a word/sentence or creating a sentence for the first time when prompted. A lot of people recommend Pimsleur as an introduction to any language. If you complete the Pimsleur course, you will have good pronunciation and knowledge of simple phrases and grammatical patterns too. Pimsleur however, is not a great tool for learning vocabulary and this is where Glossika fits in perfectly. It takes you to the next level of your language learning.

The Verdict

Glossika contains no grammatical explanations about sentence patterns or rules. What you get is the repetition of key sentence components and vocabulary that you are most likely to find in everyday conversations with native speakers of your target language. Glossika is aimed at people who already have a working knowledge of the language they are learning. However, It is a fabulous resource for brushing up your skills or breaking through the dreaded intermediate plateau. In the past Glossika has helped to give me the confidence to be able to speak Spanish and Mandarin to native speakers.

Overall, Glossika is a valuable asset to a language learner’s tool kit, but I do feel it is not for complete beginners and should be used in conjunction with other methods, such as tutorials, games, books, and movies.

For more information or to purchase a course visit Glossika.com.

Have you used Glossika to learn a language? Are you going give it a try? Let me know what you think of the courses in the comments section: 

Glossika-Banner-1

Interlinear Book Review: Reading Between the Lines…literally

I recently had an exciting opportunity to check out Interlinear Books! I gladly accepted on the basis that I could read one of their amazing new books. *Please note I am not affiliated with Interlinear Books in any way. This is an impartial review by a language learner for language learners designed to help you make a more informed decision before you make purchases.

 

So what are Interlinear Books all about?

In their own words…

Interlinear are bilingual books that include the original and an English translation below in a smaller font. Interlinear gets you reading fascinating literature in foreign languages – subtitles for books

In my eyes…

“I love foreign literature, but sometimes especially if you are new to a language having a dictionary to hand can be time consuming and the story can get lost in translation. This is were Interlinear Books step in. They have taken the term ‘reading between the lines’ literally providing classic books, but with the English translations in smaller print below should you require it.”

What does it cost?  

Books can vary in price depending on length and complexity of the translation of the text.  The books start from around $12.99 – $29.99. In addition to the paid books, there are also shorter free texts available from their library.

How I used it…

 

I read “The Colloquy of the Dogs by Miguel de Cervantes as part of my 10,000 words a day challenge. I was able to learn new vocabulary by reading interesting literature and did not have to spend time looking up words from a dictionary that I didn’t understand. This meant I didn’t lose the storyline.

What languages are on offer?

Currently, the books are in French, Spanish, German, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Lithuanian and Swedish!

Translation includes:Capture1

  • Approximately 170 standard-book pages of text for “The Colloquy of the Dogs
  • Over 20 thousand translated words.
  • The original text with aligned Interlinear translations – allows you to understand and learn Cervantes’ vocabulary.
  • Printable/electronically readable PDF and EPUB files
  • A link to download the audiobook!

Translation methodology

In their own words Interlinear translations say that they attempt to translate words one by one and literally. However, there is an exception to this rule: where a literal translation would impair understanding. If it would, understanding is prioritized.

For example, the usual translation of the sentence above would be “Two thieves stole a very good horse in Antiquerra.” Yet, we have translated it completely literally, as we think that such a literal translation is still understandable, especially since the reader is supposed to have at least some prior knowledge of how Spanish works:

 

Interlinear translation - the dog followed not after him

But try reading this translation if it were literal:
literal Interlinear translation from Spanish

As you can see, in such cases, if translated literally, understanding would suffer. Thus we have chosen a more understandable translation:
not exactly literal Interlinear translation from Spanish

In summary, we have made our translations to be literal, even if slightly clumsy. Unless such clumsiness hinders understanding, in which case we have opted for understanding.

Pros and Cons

The Pros 

  • Save time on searching through a dictionary.
  • Clear, well spaced and easy to read the text.
  • Available in different electronic formats, i.e. PDF and EPUB.
  • The translation is of high quality.
  • Good classic books to choose from.
  • Link to an audio version of the books.
  • Printable.

The Cons

  • Limited selection of books at the moment, but I do not doubt that the product selection will continue to increase over time.
  • The books are not for complete beginners as you are required to have a basic understanding of how your target language works.
  • More electronic formats such as Kindle?
  • Printing off the books could be costly for some.
  • Currently only available as an eBook, it would be great to have printed books too!
  • Lazy behaviors could develop due to the translations being directly below words in the target language! It’s easy to gaze down more often than necessary instead of using your own understanding of the vocabulary!
  • For approximately 200 pages of an eBook $29.99 may seem a little pricey for some.

The Verdict

 

I felt that the products from Interlinear books are of very high quality and fantastic for A2 and above levels in languages. It isn’t suitable to learn languages on its own, but it makes an excellent addition to a language learning routine.

For more information or to purchase a book check out Interlinear Book OR for the latest news visit their blog Interlinear Books Blog.

Have you read an Interlinear Book? OR Are you going to purchase one?

Let me know what your views in the comments section below.

Trisha Tests: What’s ‘SULP’?

Note: For more information on the language resources in the featured photograph above click here.

I am currently piloting the Step Up to Language Program, #SULP. The program will be aimed at taking my target language of Mandarin to the next level within 90 days. I am currently around  A2 and my goal is to achieve B1. During the challenge, I will be applying positive psychological methods to help me maximise my learning using a more holistic approach. As part of #SULP each week I’ll be recording a short video to show the progress (or lack of) I’m making.

What’s #SULP?

This program is aimed at taking people from whatever language level they are in their target language and getting them to the next level of fluency. How much improvement people make will depend on their own efforts and ability to leave their comfort zone. In the program people will be paired up with study buddies (people who will study the language with you), mentors (polyglots with experience in learning languages to orient you).

There are weekly hangout sessions with experienced polyglots, who will answer questions and share tips and resources to enrich language learning; as well as resources available throughout the program. I am currently using the Sound Fluent in Chinese resource, which for me is working better than Glossika!

The Expectations

–          To Set personal achievable and measurable language learning goals that will be accomplished during the 3 months of the program. My goal is to aim for B1 level in 3 months.

–          To Study between 30mins-1hour, 3-7 days a week. So far I am doing 45 minutes over 7 days.

–          Make a weekly video detailing my progress. You can check out my weekly updates here…

–          To Provide support once a week within the private online communities. For me, I plan to offer advice and guidance in my weekly videos for my target language. I will also be posting brief overviews of certain aspects (background information, grammar point, example phrases, etc.) of some of the other languages I am familiar with.

–         I will ensure that I am in contact with my study buddies and mentored at least three times a week to discuss learning points and/or check on progress.

You can follow my progress on my blog.

 

*Note: This is a free pilot version I am taking part in and I will be active in giving feedback before the actual program goes live.  All opinions are that of my own.  I am passionate about language learning and always on the look out for putting to the test new resources to use.I put them to the test so you don’t have to. You can then make more informed choices about the language learning resources you invest in.

————————————————————————–

Let’s Get Connected:

Bloglovin’ | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Pimsleur Digital New Low Pricing 468x60banner