When it comes to apps, programs, courses and books for learning Spanish, there are plenty to choose from. I've tried a lot of language learning materials over the years, and although I never use just one tool exclusively, I must say that Glossika remains one of my favorites.
Glossika offers both European Spanish and Mexican Spanish unlike most online courses, which is a clear advantage if you're going for the Mexican variant. But even if it wasn't offered, I'd still recommend that you take the Glossika approach to learning Spanish and then just learn the Mexican specifics on the side as you progress.
What's special about Glossika is that it teaches you languages quite effortlessly. You don't have to think a lot, to take notes or to get a headache from Glossika, you only need to study some new sentences every day, do the reviews and keep being consistent.
There are no exercises. There are no tests. And there are no grammar explanations!
This might sound counter-intuitive to some people.
"Am I not supposed to study grammar and do exercises and drills and take notes until my brain seeps out of my ears to learn Spanish?"
ope! Learning Spanish with Glossika is an intuitive way of learning. It resembles how children learn languages. Only it's much more structured and intelligently laid out. There's no need to struggle to learn Spanish. It's effective and it doesn't hurt!
What Is Glossika Spanish And Mexican Spanish?
The Glossika language learning method is quite simple on the surface, but it's built on research that goes a little more in depth with how our brain acquires languages.
With Glossika, you basically listen and you repeat to sentences in Spanish. And then you do that a lot. As you repeat the sentences more and more often, you'll start to know them by heart.
The sentences that you learn with Glossika all come in a certain order. They're laid out in a way that new sentences almost always are related to previous sentences. In that way, different uses of grammar, different vocabulary and pronunciation patters will be introduced little by little and without overwhelming the student.
But didn't I say earlier that you don't study grammar with Glossika? Yes I did, and no, you don't study grammar. But you still end up learning grammar from seeing it used over and over. Certain forms of words apply in certain contexts.. And so on.
What happens when you've seen and getting used to several hundred sentences that use correct grammar? You start to getting used to correct grammar!
A long time Glossika-student will end up knowing grammar intuitively. You won't be able to explain the rules of Spanish conjugation, but you'll feel when it's incorrectly used. Just like your mother tongue!
How To Study With Glossika Spanish
When you first start studying with Glossika, whether you pick European or Mexican Spanish, you'll be asked to do a placement test. If you're already at a reasonably high level of Spanish you can go ahead and take this test and find out at what level Glossika proposes that you start.
But I actually propose that you skip that test and start from the beginning.
Even though you already know the basics in terms of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, almost all students that aren't advanced can benefit from Glossika's beginner's stage.
This allows you to focus on mimicking the native Spanish (or Mexican) speaker as precisely as you can, and work on your speed and intonation when speaking Spanish.
So let's get started on our first batch of sentences:
The study screen for Glossika Spanish (Mexican) in listening mode
When you begin your first study session, you'll be faced with a screen like the above.
You'll see the English sentence and the Spanish sentence along with two types of phonetic writing illustrating how to pronounce the Spanish phrase.
Once you click play, you'll hear the English sentence, then a pause, then the Spanish sentence two times followed by a pause.
After first hearing the English sentence, use the pause to try reading the Spanish sentence out loud. Do this quickly, because you won't have a lot of time before the Spanish recording starts playing.
Now you'll hear the Spanish sentence two times. After this, try repeating the sentence exactly as your heard it trying to mimic the speed, pronunciation and intonation as perfectly as you can.
At this point, you might be struggling! Don't worry if you mumble at first, you'll get numerous opportunities to get it right, later and it will get easier.
After a second pause, the screen will change and you'll see the next sentence. Carry on as before.
With Glossika, a study session consists of 5 new sentences that are repeated in random order 5 times making for a total of 25 repetitions. When you finish your first 5 sentences, doing a lot more will seem quite easy.
But I advise you to not overdo it. Don't do any more than 20 new sentences in one sitting. The reason? All new sentences that you do will automatically be scheduled for review. A lot of reviews. (You don't want to create a mountain of reviews right from the beginning).
Full Practice Mode
The above process is of using Glossika Spanish with the "listening mode". There's another option, which they call the "Full Study Mode".
With the full study mode you add two other types of study to your study session. One is where you type in the Spanish sentence before continuing (While it's visible on the screen, so you're basically copying it). And another where you're doing dictation.
So you're reading aloud, repeating, copying by typing and doing dictation all in one study session.
I find that this varied approach can be helpful as a way of better remembering new words and phrases. The more activities you do with new information, the more tightly your brain will weave a web of information around it. I've written about this in more detail in my article about remembering words.
What's The Deal With Reps In Glossika?
As I said above, you shouldn't add too many new sentences at a time, because you'll end up with way too much work when it comes to reviewing.
So when you've finished your first 5-20 new sentences, put Glossika aside. When you come back some 12-24 hours later, you'll notice that the new sentences you did earlier are now up for review. Review these before adding any new sentences.
Once you've reviewed a sentence in Glossika, it'll automatically be rescheduled for another review in the future. Each time you review it, it'll be rescheduled gradually further and further into the future.
Glossika's rescheduling algorithm is based off the theory of the forgetting curve. The forgetting curve is a model that tries to predict how long you'll remember new information before needing it refreshed. Glossika uses this to schedule reviews (or reps as they call them) just before you'll likely forget.
But what if Glossika doesn't predict this correctly? If you find some sentences particularly difficult or easy, you can tag them as such in the study screen. When you do this, it'll be taken into consideration when rescheduling the sentence in the future.
So how important are reps really?
Reps are everything with Glossika.
The Glossika method relies of putting a huge amount of Spanish phrases in front of your eyes (and making you repeat them). Adding new sentences to the mix is just initiating the learning process. When the magic really happens is when you're doing your reps.
Glossika even has a little rep-counter for each user that counts how many total reps they've done. The official milestones are 25.000, 50.000 and 75.000 reps, which is quite a lot! And when you reach them, you'll be pretty sure to having made significant progress!
Can I Learn Spanish By Only Studying With Glossika?
I think Glossika is a great way of learning Spanish. It's actually one of my favorite tools out there. But I wouldn't use it as my only approach to learning Spanish.
Glossika focuses on teaching Spanish through sentences, which is a great approach, but it's also a little mono-dimensional. While it works great, you'll get a lot more out of pairing it with one or two other approaches. In the beginning stages I'd recommend that you pick up a beginner's guide to Spanish like Assimil or Teach Yourself Spanish.
Then I encourage you to read in Spanish as much as you can. I've written another article about some different techniques for reading in foreign languages that I recommend that you read.
Also try watching television, listening to podcasts and doing as many different activities in Spanish as you possibly can. While Glossika is great in itself, it's always better to go at a language from multiple fronts.
Is Glossika Spanish For You?
So finally, what's my verdict for Glossika Spanish?
Well, you've probably guessed by now that I recommend it. But then again - it's not for everyone.
The Glossika approach is a no-nonsense massive input method, where you learn Spanish by consistently putting in a lot of work every day (or preferably 2-3 times a day!) But it can be a little tedious.
With Glossika, you won't get a little avatar to dress with sombreros and mustaches. There are no points to win and no jokes or fun exercises to do. So if you need that kind of encouragement in a language course, Glossika just might not be for you... (But you can always get that from another course that you do simultaneously..)
And Glossika is a no-grammar no-drills and no-tests approach! For me this is a great thing, because I don't really believe in this kind of thing. But if you like a more analytical approach where you dive into the inner workings of a language, you'll probably be better off with a more traditional course.
And finally there's the price. With Glossika, you get to try the program for free for 7 days. But after this trial period ends, it'll cost money.
For students, it's 13.50 per month, or 11.25 monthly if you pay for a whole year.
For the rest of us it's 30 monthly or 25 if you pay for a year.
Is it worth it? Well, that's for you to decide. Personally, I've spent much more on language classes and grammar books that I got nothing out of.
But to see if Glossika if your cup of tea, give them a try for 7 days for free. And let me know what you think!