Anyone who has tried learning to speak another language knows that it is a feat in itself. Finding the right program to fit your needs is equally trying. In this Glossika review, we look at one of the lesser-known language learning program to see how it stands up to the competition.
Glossika Review Overview
Glossika focuses heavily on spaced-repetition and memorization. Upon signing up, you will take a quick comprehension test to find out where you should start. Glossika claims to work for absolute beginners through advanced speakers, though you probably need at least a small base in your new language before starting out.
The platform is very simple. In fact, some users may feel like it is too simple. The entire concept is around listening and repeating sentences. Sometimes you are asked to type the sentence. You will not find a structured and in-depth grammar lesson, but that is the whole point with Glossika and others like it.
It takes you to the most organic, basic way of learning and that is just like you did as a child—by listening and repeating everyday terms and sentences. There is little time wasted on words you might use in an emergency or at a hospital because English is often a second language in these situations.
Some of the features Glossika offers include:
- personalized content
- weekly progress reports
- memory-tracking stats
- native speakers on professional recordings
What Is The Glossika Method?
The method works on the premise that listening, reading and recording yourself speaking sentences in the target language will intuitively allow you to gain a solid understanding and fluency of the pronunciation, syntax, vocabulary and grammar of a language. Glossika is not supposed to be a primary learning source but a supplementary one.
The Glossika Mass Sentence Method means listening to thousands of sentences bilingually while reading them. The texts are 4-fold (as in the photo below): native language (English for me), target language (Russian here), target language with stresses and finally in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
The website has an interactive web based platform that you can see in both my review video from my YouTube channel (above) and here on the Glossika website.
What We Love About Glossika
Over 60 Languages Available
Glossika offers over 60 languages (!) to choose from, and your monthly or yearly subscription includes all of them. This is ideal for anyone who is taking on the monumental task of learning multiple languages at once.
Importantly, it includes less popular languages — often difficult to find in online language programs — such as: Thao, Icelandic, Cebuano, Kazakh, and Uyghur.
In fact, Glossika is determined to support language preservation and therefore offers the following languages free of charge:
- Hakka and Hokkien (Taiwanese)
- Manx and Welsh (UK)
- Wenzhounese (China)
More popular languages like Spanish, French, German etc. are also available (paid).
Glossika Forces Speaking
In other programs, you might find little in the way of speaking practice unless you find a community of like-minded speakers. However, Glossika makes you repeat each sentence you hear while recording it. This enhances your confidence when speaking to someone in person.
After the initial ”wait, is this all?” feeling subsides, you will find that Glossika runs on a very straightforward platform and is incredibly easy-to-use. Your new sentences pop up on the screen and you simply repeat them completing a “rep.” Your “reps” are calculated as you go.
The bilingual sentences (and stressed/IPA texts) are effective as they allow you to absorb the vocabulary and patterns of the new language (i.e. syntax/grammar) without huge effort as they are quite intuitive.
Natural Pace and Intonation
Even if the speed is extremely quick at times, the natural cadence of the language was clear to me when listening to the sentences (with the aid of the text in front of me). This was very useful as vowels are often almost elided when spoken in the manner that native speakers are likely to confront us with.
The audios and sentences can be accessed from your smartphone so Glossika is easy to use any time of day when you have say 15 minutes free to kill. Again emphasizing that everybody has enough time to learn a language; just some of us don’t utilize our free time effectively.
What Glossika Could Improve On
It’s not possible to compare your pronunciation to that of the native speaker and see the differences. You have to rely on your own awareness (which is limited in a new language as new sounds are difficult to distinguish).
Lack of Explanations
Glossika claims that I am going to figure out the language intuitively and with an intermediate level of Russian, I could understand all the structures. However, with a lower level (less than B1 on the CEFRL) it would have difficulty to have spotted the grammatical patterns.
No Grammar or Cultural Teachings
Glossika uses the same generic sentences for each language but this means that most of the culture-specific information is lost. You will not find grammatical explanations of why things are said in a certain way, which could be concerning for some. For others, simply knowing what to say in certain situations will suffice.
In the case of Glossika Russian, seeing non-Russian names for people is a pity as the names vary depending on the case used and I am more likely to be speaking someone called Igor or Sveta in Russian than Brigitte or Daisuke!
Mobile App Could be Improved
Your phone screen must stay in the “awake” mode in order for Glossika to keep working. So, if you step away for a bathroom break or even to write something down, you may need to start over. Additionally, there is not offline version to use when you do not have internet access.
Upon logging into your account, you will be taken to your home screen which tells you your overall progress including how many reps you have, how long you’ve spent learning, and your expertise level. This is where you can add more languages, check your memory strength and skills, and learn new items.
Learn New Items
When you click on the “learn new items” tab, you will be taken to the training screen where your next five sentences are displayed along with their meanings. You can study these for as long as you like before starting the program. Once you start, you will be prompted to repeat or type the sentences you hear.
From your home screen, you will see a topics tab near the top. From here, you can choose exactly what you want your new sentenced to cover. Topics include things like business, culture, engineering, family and science. Eliminate or add topics to your learning to make it more personal.
Who Should Try Glossika?
Those who should try Glossika include those who:
- are learning a language with another program and would like more resources for listening and speaking
- have a quiet place to practice speaking (you probably won’t want to practice in front of strangers on the commute home)
- are serious about becoming fluent in a language and willing to spend the extra money
Who Should NOT Try Glossika?
Those who might not benefit from Glossika include those who:
- are absolute beginners in any language and ONLY using Glossika
- prefer a classroom setting for learning
- are on a tight budget
Glossika vs. Competition
Glossika vs. Duolingo
Duolingo is a game-like learning platform that makes language-learning fun. As you advance through the levels, you earn experience (XP) and lingots, which you can use in the Duolingo store. Duolingo is a free program that just recently started offering French and Spanish podcasts for a fee.
Most of the work in Duolingo consists of filling in the blanks, putting words you hear in the order, and translating by typing words in the answer spaces.
Glossika vs. Innovative Languages’ Pod101
Pod101 courses by Innovative Languages claims to be the fastest and most fun way to learn a language. There are multiple resources within the course to guide you on the way to fluency. There is a free account, but you can also upgrade to a variety of paid subscriptions.
Pod101 courses include a structured learning pathway along with other pathways like ordering food, surviving emergencies, and checking into a hotel. Along with video and podcast lessons, you can access a variety of learning tools like voice recording, flashcards and quizzes.
Glossika vs. Pimsleur
Pimsleur is similar to Glossika in that it is strictly a listen and repeat learning program. You can try Pimsleur for free for seven days and then you must subscribe to continue learning.
Designed with similar ideals as Glossika, the Pimsleur Method is one that focuses on learning by listening and repeating like you did to learn your native language. It promises to have you speaking conversations in just 90 days with 30 minutes of daily practice. There are no sound grammar or cultural lessons.
Glossika offers a free seven-day trial, which is a great way to find out if it is right for you. After that, the monthly subscription is $30. You can also choose to pay for an entire year upfront and you will get two months of service for free. The yearly subscription price is $299.88.
There is also a Premium Subscription for Students that costs $13.50 per month with verification of your student status. Each subscription offers you unlimited access to every language offered by Glossika.
Glossika Review Summary
All in all, Glossika would make a great supplementary resource for listening and speaking practice when added to a more comprehensive course. We feel it is best suited for those with at least a low-intermediate understanding of their language. As a supplementary method for learning a language that you already have some knowledge of or you already speak a cognate language well (family from the same language family like Russian and Ukrainian), we found Glossika to be great.
Personally, I found it was easy to use and helped me a lot with internalizing grammar patterns and native speed pronunciation. In fact, I used it a lot while in the gym on the bicycle or treadmill so it was easy to incorporate it into my daily routine. To sign up for Glossika, click here or on their logo below.