Trisha Tests: Clozemaster

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Clozemaster

The Clozemaster Review: Play whilst you learn! 

Recently I was asked to test Clozemaster an awesome way to learn languages via 1980s arcade style gamification.  I have heard a lot of wonderful  things about Clozemaster so I gladly accepted. As there are so many awesome features I am still testing and will update this post once complete!  *Please note this is an impartial review by a language learner for language learners designed to help you make a more informed decision before using or purchasing the product. 

So What is Clozemaster?

In their words…

Clozemaster is gamified language learning in context through mass exposure for learners of all levels. It aims to answer the question, “What should I do after Duolingo?” and provide a more sentence based and contextual learning experience to complement other language learning apps like Memrise and Anki.”

Clozemaster 

In my eyes…

“1980s arcade feel gamifigation for language learners, making creative use of the repetition approach to learning languages.”

Trisha founder of Language Learners Journal

What Does it Cost?  

Clozemaster is free, but they do have a premium version called Clozemaster Pro, which at the time of this review was $60 a year. 

How I used it…

I’ve been studying Spanish for a while now on and off. I’m not a complete beginner, but I still have a very long, long way to go!

I have been using Clozemaster on my Desktop and tried out a majority (still testing it out) of the awesome features that it has to offer… 

Cloze-Grammer

This section contains lots of challenges that actually make learning grammar fun!  

The Clozemaster  completion receipt. 

Cloze-Reading 

You can improve your reading skills by filling in the blanks for longer texts. Highlight part of a sentence or click on words within a sentence after answering to get useful links and translations. Covering a range of subjects from anthropology and psychology to the arts and technology.  I really enjoyed this aspect of Clozemaster. What makes it more interesting as a lot of sites now focus on speaking element and I feel this very important aspect of language learning is often over looked. 

Cloze-Collections 

Still in beta testing mode, but you can now create and play your own collections of cloze sentences. How awesome is that! 

Pro-Groupings (paid option only) 

Level up your grammar! Play sentences grouped by the grammatical part of speech of the missing word. I plan to test this feature out of the weekend so stay tuned!

What Languages are on Offer?

With a whooping 50+ languages available you really are spoilt for choice! You are able to study more than one language at a time. This is great as some of the sites I use I have to stick to one & I am normally juggling at least 2 languages a month. The premium option of Clozemaster provides you access to content across all languages.

The Spaced Repetition Method

Clozemaster uses an algorithm of repetition to help people learn languages faster. Spaced repetition of vocabulary gently progresses with the ability of the language learner aka in this instance me. This is an awesome method. From a psychological perspective the first time you hear or even read a word, your brain decides if it is important or not to be filed into long-term memory. Often it isn’t important enough until you hear and actually say it aloud several times! Then your brain has the ‘aha’ moment. However, there is no exact ruling on numbers. It depends on a whole range of complex factors that include emotional state, cognitive ability, tiredness…That is why this Repetition Algorithm is so clever as you will get reminded of the word before you run the risk of forgetting it! Now gamification means you are having fun, thus provoking an emotional response adding our ability to remember. Plus the award and recognition received for doing well increases your response to do well. 

Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Lots of the resources are FREE. Actually there are so many resources I am still testing this out! 
  • Well-structured and planned language lessons in a style that reminds me of 1980’s gaming. 
  • Fun, fast and enjoyable to learn languages and practice grammar. 
  • A staggering 50 plus languages. 
  • Sentences that are practical and likely to be used in real life scenarios. 
  • The ability to customize your learning experience to suit your needs. 
  • The ability to learn more than one language at a time! 
  • Gamification approach to make learning grammar more interesting.  

The Cons

  • There is no doubt that spaced repetition tools like Clozemaster form part of a balanced language learning routine. You won’t become fluent in any language by using this tool alone. I still recommend real language tutors or courses. 
  •  I would not recommend this tool for complete beginners. Clozemaster acknowledges this and even recommends itself as an ideal tool for after completing the Duolingo tree. 
  • It’s addictive! BUT that does mean you are more likely to keep up with regular language learning practice. 

The Verdict

As awesome as Clozemaster is I would not solely rely on this resource alone for your language learning. However, it is a real asset to any language learning toolbox. Used in conjunction with support from a tutor or native speaker you’ll cover the basics much faster than more traditional methods on the market.

I personally think Clozemaster is a truly awesome resource and will be addeding it to my language learning tool kit.  

For more information or to get the app visit Clozemaster.com

Have you used Clozemaster? Are you going give it a try? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Trisha Tests: Fluent in 3 Months

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I reassumed my language studies about 3 years ago when I was accidentally hit on the head by a book called ‘Fluent in 3 months‘ by Benny Lewis. At the time I was trying to reach for a French phrase book to brush up on my skills before a trip to Paris. Instead, I accidentally knocked this book off the shelf. I bought it in case I had damaged it, plus people were staring and I did the whole “yes, this is the book I wanted” speech. I am not sure if it was a concussion or the book itself, but a spark was initiated that day that still remains to this day! Thanks for that Benny. So far I have applied this method to brush up on my French, learn Mandarin and Spanish. Now, I intend to learn German from scratch to conversational level in just 3 months!

Just to note I am affiliated with Amazon, but I am not affiliated with this book or Fluent in 3 Months (apart from the large scar on my head, just joking) and Benny is not even aware I was going to review it – “SURPRISE BENNY!“. All opinions are my own.

So What is Fluent in 3 Months (Fi3M)?

Benny had a lot of people to thank at the beginning of his book, but once I finally made it to the introduction I was deeply inspired by his story and it initiated an ancient passion I wasn’t even aware of for languages.

In Benny’s words…

“Language internet sensation, Benny the Irish Polyglot. Can speak a dozen languages thanks to a change in mindset and approach. Benny will help you on your path to fluency via his pro-active communicative techniques”.

In my eyes…

“A very modest Benny, lol informs you that in order to learn a language you actually have to speak it! As comical as that sounds he is right! As students or independent language learners many of us shut ourselves away, pick up a grammar book and wonder why we still can’t have a conversation with a native speaker after years of studying! This method has helped me to have basic conversations with native Spanish and Mandarin speakers within 2-3 months.” 

What Does it Cost?  

The book can vary in price I paid £9.99 for it, but it is available on Amazon for about £7.00. There is also additional premium online content that currently costs $97.

How I used it…

I read it (obviously), took notes and then made a plan to have a basic 10-15 minute conversation with a native speaker within 3 months. I managed to achieve this in 2 and a half months and the conversation was over 20 minutes! How I managed this was I thought about what I talk about in general conversations and then learned the relevant vocabulary. Writing my mission on the Fi3M forum really helped to hold me accountable for my learning.

What Languages are on Offer?

The book is about learning how to learn languages, but most language groups are mentioned.

A Matter of Fluency

What Fluency is can be a matter of opinion, however, The Oxford dictionary describes it as:

“The ability to speak or write a foreign language easily and accurately /The ability to express oneself easily and articulately.” – Oxford Dictionary Online 

Personally, I feel that fluency is about being able to get your point across and understanding/being understood in a wide range of different situations. English, is my native language but I wouldn’t even consider myself completely fluent as there are still words I have to look up or check my understanding of and as for my English grammar – my grammar in Mandarin is better!

The Conversational Approach

I am aware that not everyone is a fan of the speaking from day 1 approach, but to me, it makes perfect sense. A baby wouldn’t grab a grammar book and sit alone in a room reading it! A baby learns from repetition, repeat, trial, and error.

I like to learn some key basics in the languages that I learn, such as “What does X mean?” or “how do you say X in X?”. Therefore I really am speaking from day 1.

Pros and Cons

The Pros 

  • The book includes links to a forum, blog, audio links and official website making it very interactive and fantastic value for money. There is also an option to upgrade to Fi3M Pro that includes additional resources in a wide range of languages.
  • Benny is very motivating, inspiring and humorous in his approach to learning languages.
  • Language learning on steroids! Access to immersion kits and sentence connectors really does help to kick start your language learning so you get speaking it faster!
  • If you really feel this method isn’t for you then it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Cons

  • I personally love this method, but I do understand it is not for everyone. For me, it has worked really well, but it all depends on your learning style and level of confidence. Some people prefer to study languages in isolation with a grammar book and audio kit – if that works for you so be it.
  • Fluent in 3 Months is a catchy title, but a misleading one.  I would suggest ‘Conversational in 3 Months‘, but that isn’t as catchy. This book (and the additional online features) have really helped me to have basic conversations within 3 months with native speakers.

The Verdict

If you need to learn the basics of a language fast or need a motivational boost I would highly recommend this book. If you follow the advice you too might become conversational within 3 months. I love this book and still regularly refer to it. Benny is straight to the point and hilarious. It is certainly a thumbs up from me!

For more information or to purchase the book visit:  Fluent in 3 Months (affiliated Amazon link).

Other products from Benny Lewis is the awesome Language Hacking series with integrated online content and audio features.

Language Hacking – German

Language Hacking – Italian

Language Hacking – Spanish

Language Hacking – French

Have you read Fluent in 3 Months? What are your thoughts?

Let me know what you think of in the comments section: 

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Positively Productive Project

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

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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)

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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: 

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