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Glossika method


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I only ever used Glossika back when it was just mp3s/PDFs, not whatever they have these days, but back then it was the same exact set of sentences for every language, so assuming that's still the case then I think doing both the Taiwanese and mainland version would mostly just not be worth the extra time it would take. It takes enough dedication as it is to get through all of the available material using a single version. It's best to just pick one and stick to it.


I also made use of Chinesepod extensively and I felt like Glossika and Chinesepod were sort of complementary and best suited for different purposes. Specifically Chinesepod was great as a low-intensity form of studying that built up listening comprehension and Glossika was more high-intensity and helped with speaking. I'm sure you could try to use one resource for both purposes, but if you don't mind paying for both then it helps. Chinesepod made more of an effort to be fun and that made it easier to get more listening hours in. If you tried to use Glossika for listening practice instead, you would get bored and worn out much more quickly. On the other hand, Glossika was designed with a much bigger focus on picking a corpus of sentences that get progressively harder and cover a wide variety of grammatical structures, so for intense studying it's going to give more bang for your buck. But if you have to pick just one then I would probably go with Chinesepod (with the disclaimer that I haven't really looked at what Glossika is like these days so maybe my impressions are out of date).

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21 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

a) is there any benefit in doing both the Taiwanese and the mainland version? Or would this rather "hurt" your pronunciation as you may end up speaking a mix of both (plus your native accent)? Are the sentences the same or do you get "more" sentences if you complete both versions?

b) could you not achieve the same results with something like Chinesepod (i.e. playing audio of individual sentences and repeating them)? As far as I can see, Chinesepod appears to offer a lot on top of that, which would be a surplus.

c) how long would it take to complete the whole Glossika Mandarin course? (is a 12-month subscription worth it or will I be "done" after 4-6 months)


I haven't used glossika for a while - here are some reasons with the answer to your questions.


A) the sentences are not always the same. Sometimes the arrangement of words or the words used are different according to the different region.


Regarding pronunciation, I think it isn't a good platform for learning pronunciation. You only hear a sentence two times. The first time I end up just listening, the second time is when you can manage to try and shadow. After that, it goes on to a new sentence. I had a lot of difficulty with this. It doesn't let you get into a rhythm of practicing a certain sentence. To take analogies from practicing sports or music, you wouldn't practice a certain combination just twice and intersperse it with other combinations. Glossika argues that the sentence comes up again but I think it is better for listening than speaking.


B) yes. Additionally Chinese pod has a dialogue so you know the context. Glossika has lots of individual sentences and some of the translations are off putting. They don't translate accurately by missing out some details. 


C) don't know. At least a year if you can tolerate random sentences.



There are a few reasons I stopped using glossika.:


1) the problem of translations

2) I prefer to listen to a sentence more than a few repetitions at one time if I am practicing

3) a cumbersome ability to repeat a sentence. You have to mark it as a favourite and go through a separate process to hear it again.

4) boredom - the voices are largely emotionless.


I did a few Chinese pod and it feels much better. There's better emotion when they say the dialogue and that helps a lot in reinforcement.

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3 minutes ago, Flickserve said:

I think it is better for listening than speaking

To clarify, when I said Glossika helped with speaking I meant more in terms of learning to produce different grammatical structures, not in terms of pronunciation. I would agree that Glossika probably goes too fast to use it for learning pronunciation. Frankly I see Glossika more as an intermediate to advanced resource to help push fluency to the next level by sheer exposure to a high volume of sentences and I wouldn't recommend it unless you already have a decent foundation in place in terms of vocab, pronunciation, etc.


2 minutes ago, suMMit said:

How many different languages are we talking? That seems a bit odd, because certain sentences would not be very relevant in a particular culture.

They pretty much just came up with all the sentences in English, then hired people to translate and record them in different languages. You have to admit it's a very scalable model and it means that the same system can be used to learn any language starting from any other language. While this does mean that the subject matter ends up more restricted this way, I think the focus is really on the grammar more than anything else, so the subject matter isn't that important in the end.


So I guess to summarize, if you're already pretty good at Chinese but you want to improve your gut feel for grammar and get better at forming complicated sentences on the fly, then that's where Glossika is most useful.

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I completely disagree on the role a resource like Glossika can play in improving pronounciation, especially intonation and stress in a tonal language, which is so difficult to master beyond just basic tones and tone pairs. I can still hear sentences from years ago ringing in my ears today, and often helps me out when i am thinking about where stress should lie in a sentence and how to express this. That being said, I used and still use glossika audio from its pre-online service days, so the audio is all plugged into my own anki deck, and is customisable according to what and how I want to learn.

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11 hours ago, Flickserve said:

2) I prefer to listen to a sentence more than a few repetitions at one time if I am practicing


I just tested their current version with a 7-day free account: actually you seem to be able to repeat a sentence as often as you like if you hit the "play" button:



2 hours ago, imron said:

From years ago probably being the key difference, so not the current online incarnation

Why would you feel the current online version is inferior to the old version? Is it just because you cannot include them into Anki that easily anymore?


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Also having a play around on the 7-day freebie. Seems to work ok on the Silk browser on my Amazon tablet, and the sentence learning bit is automatic enough (with typing and speaking turned off) to be propped up on console of an exercise bike. 


Do the recordings actually do anything? I know I can play them back if I want to, but is that it? I see in the FAQ they say they don't get played back immediately to maintain the pace of the session, but does it prompt you at any point to listen to them and reflect on how awful you are, or how much progress you've made?

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15 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

actually you seem to be able to repeat a sentence as often as you like if you hit the "play" button:

that’s not very convenient to only have it repeat  once.

how many repetitions do people normally need to learn a new sentence? For me, it’s quite a lot.

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11 minutes ago, Flickserve said:

that’s not very convenient to only have it repeat  once.

No, you can hit the play button as often as you like and repeat it as often as you want. 

Just now I also found they have "memory" function. If you go there, you can replay any sentence you have been exposed to as often as you like:



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Just got an email from Outlier about this:


If anyone's about to sign up (ie. pay) for Glossika then there's a black friday promo on at the moment, use code HAPPYFRIDAY19 to get 47% off for a month if you pay monthly, or 47% off a year if you pay yearly.


The code's valid until 2 December.




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  • 5 months later...

Just coming back to give an assessment. I stopped Glossika because I felt it wasn't very effective after all and here's why, for me.


The sentence comes up and repeats twice. You are supposed to shadow it. I can't get any sort of rhythm trying to say the sentence. The first time is listening and then the second sentence is the attempt. There is no seems to be no option to automatically have third/fourth attempts. The app will go on to the next sentence and the process of starting off on another sentence occurs.


One can argue that the sentence will come around again and you go through the process of listen once and shadow once. For my style of learning, i found that I don't like this way because I get information overload. Yes, I get many sentences but more is less and then I get frustrated. My learning preference is to have a few new sentences and work on them really well. It seems other people love Glossika. I agree with the methodology but its application to my learning style as an individual doesn't sit well with me.


It may be that I didn't stick it out long enough or didn't do enough reps. Yes, that is possible but unfortunately, the frustration and dissatisfaction set in earlier. Ultimately, it couldn't achieve what I wanted and was willing to pay for.




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  • 1 year later...

This is really interesting - I stand by my comment from 2020. However, I actually paid for the online subscription earlier this year when there was a discount on. I did so because I was curious to see what the experience would be like learning Cantonese through Mandarin (my sentences deck in anki doesnt have this option)....and was also curious to learn a bit of Irish and brush up on my Hindi, seeing as it was included in the price. The latter two were more about scratching an itch, but I'm surprised to say I don't regret spending the money to use the online platform for learning Cantonese (even though I have the audio in an Anki deck already).


One thing I've really enjoyed is NOT grading myself correct/incorrect as on Anki (although let me know if switching this off is possible, I would love that). I set the software to listening only, then just shadow sentences on the 'recording' page until I'm happy. Then I just move on, and won't see the sentence again until Glossika decides its been too long since I've seen it (regardless of how I performed). I aim for 75 reviews a day, with 5-10 new sentences introduced each day. The result is stress-free, guilt-free learning, with phrases running through my head all day.


If you're willing to spend the money, its a good investment. That being said, I still think there are plenty of equally excellent cheaper/free options available, but they might require a little more tweaking to get working how you want them.



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