Chances are, Glossika is pretty different than any other language app or textbook you might have used in the past. Our first sentences might be harder than you expected, the sentences you're seeing might seem random, and you might be confused as to how all of this is supposed to benefit you.
In this post, we'll discuss a few questions that likely ran through your mind during your first few sessions.
- What is Glossika, exactly?
- Why is Glossika like that?
- How will drilling/repeating these sentences benefit me?
What does a session on Glossika look like?
Glossika is a lean app that strives to do one single thing as efficiently as possible: push you through as many level-appropriate sentences in your target language as possible within the period of time you devote to Glossika.
From your very first session, you'll be assigned five sentences and asked to review them five times each. This yields a total of 25 repetitions, or "reps".
About eight minutes later, you'll have heard a native speaker say each of those five sentences out loud 10 times and will have repeated them out loud yourself five times. From there, you'll be on to the next set of five sentences. And then the next, and then the next.
If you're following our "best practices", you'll strive to do 25,000 repetitions within a period of three to five months. (To give yourself a cushion in case you miss the odd day here and there, this works out to about 200 reps per day, or about an hour of focused training.)
Again, all you will be doing on Glossika during this time is listening, understanding, speaking, and reflecting.
We do not provide any explanation of the sentences you see, and none of them have any sort of context to them. They're practical and useful sentences, but they exist in a vacuum and likely won't fit together thematically. You won't be asked to conjugate any verbs or to fill in any blanks. You'll just work through session after session of five sentences, ideally repeating them out loud as you go.
By the time you finish your first hour on Glossika, you'll have spent pretty much the entirety of that hour either speaking out loud or listening to a native speaker.
Why was Glossika designed like that?
We believe that languages must be used to be learned, and we recognize that it’s difficult to use your language as a total beginner. You need a foundation to stand on, but you don’t have one yet. It’s only natural that people turn towards courses, apps, and textbooks to build that foundation.
The problem is, a lot of people never move beyond those “beginner” applications. They maintain their streaks, and they learn a lot about their target language, but they never really begin using their target language. As such, they never grow beyond a certain level of basic proficiency.
These people aren't total beginners anymore — they’ve studied their language for awhile — but they can’t do anything fun or useful in their language, either.
That’s where Glossika come in.
The majority of these people’s language learning problems would disappear with sufficient exposure to their target languages. In other words, most learners don’t need another textbook. They need something that will help them transform their book knowledge into practical ability.
As such, Glossika is designed to give you as much level-appropriate input per minute as is possible. You’ll be learning with full sentences (albeit very simple ones) from Level 1.
We’ve set up the program to eliminate all of the guesswork from your training regimen:
- We determine what you’ll study next
- We calculate when you should review it
- We move you on once you're ready
This enables you to focus entirely on making sense of your target language.
We spoon-feed your target language to you, it goes in your ears and comes out your mouth, and then your brain picks up on the language’s patterns over time.
So long as you can loosely make sense of how a sentence in your target language and its translation into your native language line up, that’s enough. Your brain is working behind the scenes and building a mental database of how your target language communicates ideas. (See more: why doesn't Glossika teach grammar?)
Glossika’s end goal is to see you build an intuitive ability to express yourself in your target language.
How long is this going to take?
This is hard to answer. It's understandable that you want a concrete number to gauge your time investment, but there's just so many factors that go into this:
- How consistently are you doing your training?
- How much time do you spend training per day?
- Is this language similar to your native language?
- Have you learned another language before?
- Do you have opportunities to use your language outside of Glossika?
- (And on and on and on)
There's just not really an answer I could give you that's both honest and specific.
Having said that, I can tentatively put two things forward:
- In our experience, you'll be capable of navigating simple daily conversations after about 25,000 reps. At around 16 seconds needed to do a rep, on average, that means that there's a bit more than 100 hours of training between you and that conversation.
- The US government collects data about the progress of soldiers, diplomats, etc, going through their language coursework. They've found that, on average, it takes their students 600 in-class hours (+600–1,200 more hours outside class) to reach professional working proficiency (ILR Level 3) in a language like Spanish, or about 2,200 hours (and 2,200–4,400 more hours outside of class) to reach that proficiency in a language like Japanese.
We're confident that we can get you confidently talking quite quickly, relatively speaking, but you should also know that this is really where fluency begins, not where it ends.
Like most things, we make progress in language by doing.
How will drilling/repeating these sentences benefit me?
In our experience, you'll need to put in 25,000 reps before you're ready to reliably stumble through your first conversations. How many reps you do beyond that is up to you, but we encourage users to strive for 100,000 reps. A five year old child has already spoken a million sentences in their native language. Regardless of how smart or diligent or experienced you are, it's going to take a lot of manual effort to bridge that gap.
How long it takes to feel that progress largely comes down to how consistent you are. If you get through 25,000 reps in three months, the progress will be impossible to miss.
Thankfully, this isn't an all-or-nothing thing. You'll work through several exciting milestones along the way, even if it takes you longer to hit that 25,000 rep marker.
Somewhat in order:
1. You'll figure out the rhythm and melody of your target language
A big part of your first few thousand reps on Glossika simply boils down to getting your mouth comfortably around the sounds of your target language. Early on, each sentence may seem like a tongue twister, and you'll struggle to say it smoothly through.
As time goes on, though, the language will "slow down" for you. You'll find that you can hear the audio more clearly, and that you can repeat sentences aloud with much less effort. You may not understand all of what you are hearing upon encountering a new sentence, but you'll be able to repeat after the recording without much effort.
This is an important hurdle to reach for three reasons:
- It gives you a serious confidence boost
- It frees up mental bandwidth, enabling you direct more of your focus toward understanding the logic of your target language
- For your conversation partners — it's easier to understand someone who can speak smoothly in whole sentences
2. Sentences you learned will start "falling" out of your mouth
This is going to sound weird... until it happens to you.
You'll be going through your day, totally normally, and then something will happen. Out of the blue, without a conscious effort, one of your Glossika sentences will appear right there on the tip of your tongue.
That "spontaneous recollection" of your target language will come gradually. At first, it's primarily something you'll notice while doing your review reps.
You'll be drilling a sentence you've already seen several times — such as the one above. Glossika prompts you, you read the beginning of the sentence "on..." ... and then, as if you'd pressed a keyboard shortcut, the entire sentence will pop right out of your mouth: onŭl chumneyo.
This is another important step! It means that your target language is successfully embedding into your brain, stooping like tea leaves in water and getting stronger.
3. Ever smaller "chunks" of information will start sticking out to you
As you continue doing your reps, you'll get ever finer and more independent access to the individual parts of the sentences that you're learning.
Here's a few examples of the sort of information bits you'll latch onto:
- Individual words — From the above sentence, you'd remember the word "onŭl" (today). It doesn't conjugate in Korean or require a special particle to be tacked onto it, so it's easy to use.
- "Recyclable" phrases — you'll see a Spanish sentence like quiero ir a la fiesta (I want to go to the party), and one day it'll occur to you that you can just precede any verb with quiero in order to communicate what you want to do
- Grammar points — continuing with the Spanish example, you'll eventually notice that that 2nd person verbs (the "you" form) tend to end in an -s (bailas, vienes, piensas) and that third person verbs (the "he/she/it" form) don't (baila, viene, piansa)
This won't be a flawless process, and you'll eventually need to consult a grammar reference to polish your speech. However, you really will just be polishing your speech. Repetition alone is enough to let you put words in the right order and construct sentences that have a more or less correct "shape" to them.
4. You'll be able to recycle and repurpose those "chunks"
This is where the magic happens.
All of those details that you've been picking up on — some smaller, some bigger — will eventually become consciously accessible to you. You'll be able to slice, dice, and rearrange Glossika's sentences in order to express your own unique thoughts.
That process looks something like this:
- The weather is nice today.
- (noun) is (adjective) (time).
→ Your outfit is cute today!
→ This curry is delicious!
→ My mother is smart.
In other words, you haven't "just" been memorizing a bunch of sentences. What you've really been doing is internalizing the structure and logic of another language. Soon, you'll be able to manipulate it quite naturally.
To facilitate this process, speak to yourself in your target language as much as possible. Try describing the things you see, narrating your own actions, talking about your plans, and whatever else comes to mind. This is an important practice that will reveal the holes in your knowledge and give you a chance to actively apply your language skills.
5. You'll build your language muscles
At a certain point, you'll find that you can more or less express yourself. No matter what you want to say, you'll have the tools necessary to express that thought, even if it takes a bit of creativity. (By creativity, we mean learning to simplify your English thoughts in order to reconstruct them using the language pieces available to you in your target language.)
From here on out on Glossika, you're simply building your language muscles:
- You'll expand your vocabulary to several thousand words
- You'll master an increasingly wide range of sentence structures
- You'll have figured out which grammar points you can learn through osmosis and which ones you'll need to sit down and intentionally study
6. You'll be able to stand independently in your target language
Eventually, your language muscles will be strong enough that you can function independently in your target language. You'll be able to "graduate" from Glossika and hit the ground running with conversations, books, YouTube, or whatever it is that drew you to your target language and sparks joy in your life.
When exactly this point comes will differ from person to person. A lot of it comes down to your personal tolerance for mistakes and/or how confident you are.
Nevertheless, you will reach this point so long as you're diligent.
You'll know when the time has come.