Overall Ranking: 95/100
Price: $39.99 – $119.99
Owners: Glossika.com founded by Michael Campbell
Glossika is based on ideas first proposed by Dr. Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus at USC, back in 1981. In particular, 1) “that the most reliable way to really acquire a new language is to listen to it” and 2) that “there’s a very specific type of listening that learners need to do to become successful … called comprehensible input.” While the linguistic basis for Glossika is more involved than this, those two principles are at the heart of Glossika.
There are two different sets of audio files for each language:
- GSR, or the Glossika Spaced Repetition system, is for “busy people and casual learners.” It simply calls for 20 minutes of listening daily, learning and reviewing 1000 sentences in 104 days for each of three levels.
- GMS, or the Glossika Mass Sentence system, is much more intensive and requires 1-2 hours daily, focusing on 1000 sentences each month. In addition to listening, you spend time repeating the sentences, writing them out, recording them, and translating them.
Glossika is currently available for over 35 different languages, including: Armenian, Belarusian, Brazilian Portuguese, Cantonese, Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Czech, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hakka, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese – Beijing, Mandarin Chinese – Taiwan, Mexican Spanish, Modern Standard Arabic, Mongolian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Swahili, Swedish, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese (Northern), and Wenzhou Chinese. Glossika’s website lists many additional languages in various stages of production, some to be released very soon.
- Careful listening to native speakers and repetition are perhaps the best way to develop correct pronunciation.
- Employs spaced repetition not of individual words, but of entire sentences.
- Grammar is learned inductively by listening to sentences you can understand, and all aspects of grammar are covered intentionally.
- Grammar and syntax are more effectively learned by massive amounts of practice than by learning rules. (Many language speakers cannot verbalize the ‘rules’ of their native language, though they have effectively internalized them.)
- Sentences do focus on conversation and common social situations.
- The manual does suggest several additional learning activities such as sentence mining, transformation drills, and substitution drills.
- According to Glossika founder Michael Campbell, “Our Basic series from 1 to 3 essentially have about 100 hours of training and 54,000 reps” which compares very favorably to competing methods.
- The method does not involve responding to questions or dialogue.
- You never interact with a live teacher.
- There is no explanation of grammar and no exercises or drills. (Some will regard this as a pro.)
- There is no ongoing adjustment of exercises based on your responses.
- There are no translation exercises apart from recalling the meaning of the key sentences.
- There is no real provision for testing, advancement, or progress tracking.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Anyone seeking to acquire fluency in a new language.
Glossika materials are available in several packages including downloadable audio files, a PDF e-book, and/or a printed book (see Pricing below).
As an example of the printed material: the Glossika e-book for Mexican Spanish, level one, is 278 pages long. The first 28 pages explain the linguistic basis for the method, how to get the most out of either GSR or GMS, a guide to pronunciation, and some basic vocabulary. The rest of the book is the 1000 sentences, each presented in English (or another source language), Spanish (or your target language, and in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
A great deal of information is available on the website as FAQs and blog posts (in the language of your choosing).
Glossika materials are available in four different packages including downloadable audio files, an e-book, and/or a printed book, and ranging in price from $39.99 to $119.99.
Packages can be custom ordered in the source and target languages of your choice.
Sample versions and a 30-day free trial are available; however, purchases of audio files and e-books are final. Hard copy books may be returned in original packaging and condition.
Listening is at the heart of language acquisition, and most methods do not incorporate enough of it. After spending more time with Glossika and studying the work of Stephen Krashen, I am now convinced that Glossika can deliver on its promise: “Glossika is a comprehensive and effective system that delivers speaking and listening training to fluency.”
At the same time, the Glossika manual itself states: “It is wise to use Glossika training materials together with your other study materials. Don’t bet everything on Glossika. Always use as many materials as you can get your hands on and do something from all of those materials daily.”
I now regard Glossika as one of the premier tools available for language acquisition. It has become my “go to” program! I continue to use it myself, and I encourage you to add Glossika to your language learning tools as well.