Glossika review focusing on Moroccan Arabic

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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!

Glossika study interface
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.

Glossika milestones of reps
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!

4 thoughts on “Glossika review focusing on Moroccan Arabic”

  1. So its time for an updaye about your experience. Do you feel thst Glossika helped you with learning darija? Have you practiced the phrases you learned with native speakers? Im also learning darija snd there are limited resources compared to Egyptian for example. Ive been using Glossika and I practiced some of the phrases with a friend who is Egyptian but grew up in Morocco and speaks both dialects. He said that the phrases, while they are correct, seem very formal as if they were modeling the sentence structures in a way that was closer to Standard Arabic. He mentioned that Moroccans wouldnt necessarily say the sentences that way but the verb would be shortened more if that makes sense. Im going to also get an opinion from other Moroccan friends since regionally, some of the vocabulary can be different. I was curious if youve had a similar experience or if you are still studying it?

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Cal, and sorry about the late response. Well, I have to admit that some things have come in the way of me progressing much with Darija, so I don’t have an update to give you. I do, however, agree with the assessment that many of the phrases taught by Glossika are somewhat “stilted” and too directly translated from English. I suppose that this is one of the pitfalls of the platform being so wide and including so many different languages.

      I’ve often come across the same thing for other language programs, however, and think that it’s important to remember that you should never use one language learning system in isolation. Even if the phrases have a certain style with Glossika, they’re still just input. If you were learning English, you shouldn’t have to avoid Shakespeare just because of the old-fashioned language, for example. It’s true, though, that Glossika is meant for being a much more important part of your “language-learning-regimen” than would be an individual novel, but I don’t think you should worry about ending up speaking “stilted darija”, because you’ll be learning the language from several sources at the same time.

      Reply
    • Hi Joseph. That’s a difficult one. And I suppose that it depends on how well year hearing is, but it might be helpful to listen to the recordings via headphones. I’m hoping that someone else who’s got more experience might also reply to your question.

      Reply

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