My review of Glossika: A language learning tool for the serious language learner
For a long time I've wanted to review Glossika
Glossika has been around for a few years. Its founder, Mike Campbell is an accomplished polyglot with a special interest in Asian languages and dialects (but many languages from around the world are available, including Moroccan). The system is based on learning languages in chunks through spaced repetition. There are no grammar explanations, no word-lists and no exercises. The system is simple, your job is simple - the only thing you need to do is be consistent, and if you are, Glossika should get you a long way. This is great!
The beginning of a new adventure: Learning Moroccan Arabic with Glossika
Since I started studying Arabic several years ago I wanted to tackle the Algerian dialect also known as Dardja.
This has always been problematic for me. I like learning languages through reading, but Algerian Derdja is a colloquial spoken dialect. This means that I have to approach it differently than I would with most languages (like studying native content with LingQ).
Another obstacle is the availability of study materials; Algeria, despite its great size, cultural wealth and natural splendor, is a quite unknown country in the world. This means that almost no one has any interest in studying the language. There simply doesn't exist a lot of language learning materials for it!
The same can't be said about Algeria's neighbors, though. Morocco and Tunisia are popular tourist destinations which means that they get all of the attention. So if you want to learn a North African dialect of Arabic, you've got to go for one of the two.
Glossika has Moroccan Arabic and what better opportunity to write a Glossika review!
How it works - in short
When you sign up for Glossika, you can choose between a whooping 65 different languages and dialects. This in itself of one of the things that sets Glossika apart from other language learning programs. You want to learn Welsh? No problem! Slovak? Got that! Hakka? I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I don't know what Hakka is - but Glossika has got it!
As mentioned before - with Glossika, you learn languages in Chunks through spaced repetition. For each language that if offered, there are several thousand sentences available complete with audio, a translation to whichever language you prefer and transliteration. This is huge!
You start out by taking a test which places you in the appropriate level.
Now you can begin studying - and it's actually quite simple. You start by studying 5 sentences which will be repeated 5 times in random order. In other words 25 "reps" or repetitions. You first listen to the sentence in English - then two times in your target language. You repeat the sentence each time, trying to mimic the voice as well as you can. I recommend that you don't pause the recording here, but rather try to speak the phrase in a natural speed. Don't get frustrated if you didn't pronounce it well enough for if you didn't get enough time to voice out the sentence. Everything will be revised and repeated several times!
An example of the Glossika study interface
If you want, you can stop your study session for now, or you can add another 5 sentences (or 25 reps) I usually do 15 or 20 sentences at a time, but don't overdo it, because you'll be creating quite a workload when it comes to reviewing the sentences!
Reviewing sentences (or reps)
After a good night's sleep, you'll notice that the sentences you studied yesterday are up for review. Go ahead and review these, before adding another 5, 10, 15 or 20 sentences. For each time you review a sentence, it will be rescheduled for another review based on an algorithm. In other words, the repetitions will gradually be spaced longer and longer into the future based on the idea of a forgetting curve. The system knows when a sentence will need to be reviewed in order for you to remember it. If a sentence remains difficult, you tag it by clicking the little "heart" icon. This lets the system know that this sentence needs to be reviewed more often. If it's easy, you click the smiley face.
What Glossika promises
With a consistent, daily study routine with daily new sentences and repetitions, Glossika estimates that you'll reach a milestone after 25,000 repetitions.
A screenshot from the Glossika website where specific milestones are described
Glossika costs 30 per month, or 25 per month if you pay for a full year. You might find that a little expensive, and sure, it's more than some of the language learning programs out there.
With Glossika, however, you get a huge archive of sentences to study - for some languages, there are more than 7000 unique sentences complete with audio and translations, and there are (as of now) a total of 65 languages available. So in my opinion, you get a lot for your money. If ever I stop advancing with Glossika, I will, however, be quick to unsubscribe. In a way, the price can work as an encouragement.
As of now, I have done around 2500 reps after two or three weeks of using Glossika. I'll be checking in and updating this Glossika review as I reach the 25,000, 50,000, 75,000 and 100,000 reps. I like the idea that Glossika is based on - but I'd like to work with it a bit longer before I say anything final.
So stay tuned for my future updates on using Glossika for learning Moroccan Arabic!
And if you, too, would like to test the system, click here for a 7-day free trial of Glossika!