Average cost of the method: USD$79.99 or $87.99 for Fluency 1-3 packages, which each include a total of 3000 bilingual sentences with pronunciation guide in paperback or ebook format + MP3 audio. $39.99 for audio only.
Available in: 36+ languages and growing. 30 new languages currently being developed for publishing.
Type of method: Recommended as a supplement to your other studies, Glossika is primarily an audio method that contains hundreds of bilingual, natural-sounding and common sentences read by native speakers. The sentence structures and vocabulary build up as you go. There is no grammar or explanations included in the method.
Note: Glossika now offers a FREE 30 days trial of Glossika training materials. Simply visit Glossika’s homepage, scroll down until you can see the dark yellow form, and register your details. You will then receive your free 30-day trial via your email inbox.
Glossika is a relatively new language learning method developed by Mike Campbell, an American linguist and polyglot based out of Taiwan. Mike is a very impressive polyglot with advanced skills in an astounding number of languages, and when I heard he was working on the publication of his Glossika Mass Sentence (GMS) and Glossika Spaced Repetition (GSR) methods back a few years ago, I was very excited about it. Now that I’ve tried the method extensively, I can certainly say that I wasn’t disappointed. But just a quick warning: this is for serious language learners!
Glossika comes with PDF books, but it’s mostly an audio-based method. You listen to full sentences being read both in English (or your native language) and in the foreign language you’re learning. You repeat after the sentences, trying your best to replicate the native speaker’s pronunciation. Because of this, Glossika is perfect at home, while driving, or even while exercising; as long as you can repeat out loud after the speaker and focus enough on the meaning of the words and sentences, you shouldn’t have any problems.
How Does It Work?
In a nutshell, Glossika is an assimilation-based learning program. The idea is that armed with enough comprehensible input, you eventually get the feel for what is “correct.” In other words, if you say something correctly enough times, it’s eventually going to intuitively feel wrong to say it incorrectly. You are expected to assimilate enough sentence patterns and vocabulary to be able to produce new, original content on your own after having gone through 3000 sentence patterns (i.e. all three modules). 2 hours weekly for a month is all you need to complete one module. However, you are expected to listen to the files more than once. It’s recommended to spend 30 minutes every day practicing with the method.
Glossika contains no grammar whatsoever nor any explanation about sentence patterns or any such thing. What you get is, rather, LOTS of repetition of key sentence components and vocabulary that you are most likely to find in everyday speech, as used by the native speakers of your target language. Because of this, Glossika is recommended as a supplement to your other studies, and is aimed at people who already have some working knowledge of the language. It can also be good for brushing up your skills or breaking through a plateau in the language you’re learning.
Glossika’s Fluency Modules
Glossika is being published, for the most part, in so-called “Fluency Modules”. One module contains 1000 bilingual sentences (with 3 modules in total, for a total of 3000 sentences). Each module is divided in three types of files: Comprehensible Input Audio (GMS-A), Interpretation Audio Training (GMS-B), and Target Language Audio Training (GMS-C). Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple:
- In the “A” files you have the sentence in your native tongue repeated once, followed by the sentence in your target language repeated twice. For example, you could have English-Chinese-Chinese. When listening to “A” files, you are not expected to repeat after the speaker; just listen.
- In the “B” files, you have the sentence in your native tongue repeated once, followed by a pause to let your say from memory the sentence in your target language, followed by the sentence in your target language repeated once. For example, you could have English-PAUSE-Chinese. When listening to “B” files, you are expected to repeat after the speaker.
- In the “C” files, you only have the sentence in your target language repeated once. There is no translation.
The sentences included in each of Glossika’s three modules have been carefully selected to give you a wide range of expression. The sentences in Fluency Module 1, for example, target the kinds of conversations that you would have discussing day-to-day activities.
As an added bonus, when you purchase a Glossika package you get the “Glossika Spaced Repetition” (GSR) audio files together with the “Glossika Mass Sentence” (GMS) files. GSR files are a little bit less “ambitious”, shall I put it, than the GMS files, because the sentences are repeated many, many times throughout the recordings, and so the pace overall is actually a bit slower.
Below, you will find 4 short audio samples of the Glossika method, for both GMS and GSR files:
Mandarin Chinese GMS Fluency 1 [Beginner] A01
Castillan Spanish GMS Fluency 3 [Advanced] A01
Italian GSR Fluency 2 [Intermediate] Day 01
Overall, Glossika is a very solid language learning method that should be in every serious language learner’s toolbox. Here are some of the points I found the most attractive:
- It uses complete, natural-sounding sentences that you’re most likely to come across in everyday conversations. Instead of learning decontextualized lists of words, you learn entire sentences, always used in context as collocations.
- The fact that you have A, B, and C files makes it easy to put the files you need on your MP3 and go through them in whatever order you feel works best for you. If you’re already an intermediate learner and you just need to brush up your skills in a language, for example, you can easily just choose to go through all C files to progress a lot more quickly.
- The PDF books are helpful and contain translations, Romanized script (such as pinyin for Chinese), the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), as well as the language in its original script (if applicable). Of all the textbooks and methods I’ve seen, Glossika is the only one to include all of those transcripts.
- The recordings sound natural and are not overly formal. You learn the actual language that’s spoken by native speakers, not awkward-sounding, overly formal language that nobody actually uses in real life.
- The sentences are the same for every language Glossika is available in. So if you purchase, for example, an English-Portuguese and an English-Thai package, you’ll get the same English sentences in both, translated in the respective languages. Because different languages have different sayings, expressions, metaphors, and topics that are commonplace in everyday life, you necessarily lose some of this. The good thing, however, is that if you’ve gone through one of Glossika’s languages, if you go through another one you’ll already be familiar with the sentences to be translated and this can speed up your acquisition process.
- Glossika targets language learners who have already acquired a working knowledge of the language (A1~A2 or more). If you have no prior background in the language, the method will not be suitable because it progresses too quickly.
- Overall, I found the pauses in between sentences to be too short, and the pace of the recordings a little too fast. If you’re listening to the files on your computer you can always slow the pace down, but on an MP3 player or CD this can’t be done.