Learn German Without Studying Grammar? My Glossika German Review

avatarMille Larsen
8 mins read

Glossika is a language learning program that teaches you German through what they call the "mass sentence" method.

You simply listen to a phrase in English, then in German and you repeat. The Glossika system is really simple to use, even though the theories behind are quite complex!

With Glossika German, you learn grammar, not by learning tables and rules by heart, but by getting used to the correct way of speaking German. It's a lot like the way you learned your mother tongue. You didn't study tenses and conjugation in order to speak it correctly. You just heard it used correctly a lot until language mistakes just stated feeling wrong.

Glossika does something similar, but in a much more structured and organized way!

How To Study German With Glossika.. And Why It Works!

When you first sign up for a Glossika trial and start your first study sessions, you're asked to do a placement test to see what level you should be at. If you're a beginner or a lower intermediate student, you can skip this and start from the beginner level.

Now you'll start by studying your first batch of 5 sentences. With Glossika, one study batch is 5 sentences repeated in random order 25 times. This means that you'll go through a total of 25 reps in one go. It only takes a couple of minutes.

When you start your first 5 sentences, you'll be faced with a study screen that looks like this:

On the above page, you see a sentence in English, the same sentence in German and two different ways of writing out the pronunciation. (One is written with the international phonetic alphabet, the other is an estimation written as it would be in English.)

Once you click play, the app will start cycling through the sentences.

  • You first hear the English sentence spoken by a native English speaker followed by a pause. I use this pause for trying to read the German sentence out loud. (It'll sounds terrible and you might have to mumble a bit at first)
  • Then you'll hear a recording of the German sentence by a native German speaker two times followed by another pause. Repeat the German sentence out loud. And try mimicking the German speaker as closely as you can in terms of speed, pronunciation, rhythm and even tone of voice. (And do it out loud, it's important!)
  • You don't have a lot of time and you probably won't be satisfied with your pronunciation at first. Don't worry, you'll see the sentence again many times in the future!
  • Cycle through all 5 sentences in this way (they're repeated 5 times at random, so 25 reps).

After finishing your first 25 reps, you might notice that this isn't hard work. You could do a lot more in one sitting in fact.

But be careful!

All new sentences you do with Glossika will be scheduled for later review. If you add a ton of sentences each day, you'll quickly find yourself with a mountain of reviewing to get out of the way before you can add any new sentences. This can be both frustrating and demotivating, so I recommend that you do max 20 new sentences in one sitting.

The above walk-through is of Glossika's "Listening Mode". You can also switch to "Full Practice Mode" where writing is incorporated into your study sessions.

When you choose this mode, Glossika will shuffle between listening exercises (like described above), copying exercises (which is the same as a listening exercise, but where you're asked to type in the German sentence, still visible on the screen, after hearing it.) and Dictation (where you only hear the German sentence and are asked to type in what you hear).

The full study mode can be extremely useful for learning to read and write German simultaneously while learning the language orally. It's also a good way to better remember words. In general, the more different activities you do with new words, the better they'll stick. (I wrote an article about some techniques for remembering words that you might find interesting).

The full practice mode can be great, but I often just prefer to sit back in the couch and study with Glossika in the listening mode. It's more relaxing than having to sit in front of the computer.

Finally, another thing you can do, is to record yourself each time you repeat a sentence in German. Glossika encourages you to do this and go back and listen and compare your German pronunciation now and again. It can be a great way of measuring your progress, although I don't personally use this feature.

The Importance Of Doing Reps With Glossika German

Once you've finished your first study session with Glossika German, put it aside for a while. When you come back some 12-24 hours later, you'll notice that the new sentences you've added are up for review. Do all the reviews before beginning a new study session.

For each new sentence you study, it'll be scheduled for review in the future. At first, it'll be scheduled for only a day or so later, but for each time you review any given sentence, it'll be scheduled further and further into the future.

This rescheduling system is quite ingenious. It's based on the theories of the forgetting curve which is a mathematical model that predicts how long people remember new information before they'll need to review or refresh the information. But never mind the complicated details. The important thing is that it works.

But what if you find a sentence particularly easy or hard? In this case, the sentence shouldn't be scheduled with the same time interval as average sentences. You have the option of tagging each sentence with a little icon to make the system know if you find it hard or easy. That way, Glossika will reschedule the sentence either a little more often or a little more rarely.

Conclusion: Is Glossika German for you?

Glossika German is quite good in that it helps you "get used" to German and learn it from hearing it over and over again until it simply becomes instinct.

If you keep using Glossika for a long time, it can take you very far in German. There are more than 7000 German sentences in their system, so it's clear that they mean business!

This also tells you something about Glossika German as a whole. It's not one of those salesy, shiny products that promises you fluency in a week and obviously don't deliver.

If you do 20 new sentences a day, it'll take you about a year to get through all of the 7000 sentences that they offer. And 20 daily sentences is actually a lot, so it might take longer.

At this point, you'll have done, perhaps 75.000 reps in total. That's a lot! But it also pretty much guarantees you a very good grasp of the German language. While Glossika can take you far, however, you really should combine it with other things. Make sure to read a lot in German, listen to the radio and watch TV. And try to do as much writing and conversational training as you can.

So is Glossika for you?

Well you'll have to ask yourself:

  • Do I need my language learning activities to be fun, colorful and entertaining?
  • Do I prefer an analytical, grammar oriented approach where everything is explained?
  • Do I expect quick results and fluency in three months?

If you answer yes to these questions, Glossika probably isn't for you.

Glossika's downfalls are that it can be a little boring, it doesn't provide any explanations (although this isn't necessarily a problem), and to succeed, you'll need to be in for the long haul.

But on the other hand, if you want to spice up your learning with fun games and exercises, you can do that at the side, and if you need an analytical understanding of the German language, you can get it from a reference grammar. I don't recommend that you use Glossika as your sole German-learning method. It's always better to keep your approach varied! (Oh and I did an article on that too)

Get-fluent-quick programs on the other hand? Sure, Glossika won't make you fluent quick. But all of those courses that promise you the sun and the moon? They won't teach you German in a month ether. In reality, these things just need some time and dedication!

Finally, there's the question of the price. Glossika costs 30 a month (or 25 if you pay yearly) and that's a lot of money. (Oh, but if you're a student, it's $13.50 per month)

There's no doubt that a lot of language learning programs and courses are cheaper, and some are even free. But to me, Glossika is worth the money. It's more effective than any language classes I've signed up for, and I've bought language learning books and resources that were more expensive than that but helped me very little.

If Glossika German is worth it for you, is for you to decide. And you can try it out for 7 days for free, to better make up your mind.

Read more about Glossika German (link to the Glossika website)