Hi Reddit!

My name is Gabriel Wyner. I'm a former opera singer with a mechanical engineering background, and in 2014, I wrote the book Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language and Never Forget It, where I look into the science of memory to find ways to reach fluency in foreign languages faster.

2 weeks ago, I launched a Kickstarter for a language learning tool that's become the most funded app of all time.

AMA about languages, memory, opera singing, living in Europe, dog training, treadmill desks, whatever. I'll answer juuust about anything.

Edit: This was awesome! Thanks so much everyone! If you have more questions, keep dropping them here and I'll answer stuff as it comes in.

Proof Pic: https://i.imgur.com/S8I0FWB.jpg

Doggo Pic: https://i.imgur.com/k0r23kJ.jpg

Comments: 226 • Responses: 83  • Date: 

movdev27 karma

seeing your rewards, how do you justify $200,000 to build a desktop app of a flash card program?

gwyner32 karma

Excellent question!

So when I started this project, I had around 70 development houses I was looking through, which I weeded down to a 5-company short list. We had a bunch of talks and collected a bunch of estimates. Those estimates blew me away. They ranged from $175k-600k. I ultimately hired two of them for Proof of Concept work, just to see what the experience was going to be like working with them. The best of the companies was REALLY good, and they were, unfortunately, REALLY expensive.

Just to add a native iPad/Android tablet app (which I'd imagined would be not PARTICULARLY hard) was an additional $100-150k.

I guesstimated my stretch goals, but I think in light of the iPad port estimates, I don't think $200k is unreasonable at all.

That said, there's a whole different discussion as to whether I should be hiring such an expensive company in the first place, when I can get it done much cheaper through hiring my own programming team or just hiring a cheaper dev house. In my opinion, this whole app hinges upon quality execution. There are other flashcard apps that already exist. My primary goal is to make this thing phenomenally good. So I'm going to do whatever is needed to hire that company. They really were that good. :P

85fa6e037 karma

If you don't hit your max stretch goals would you consider using a cheaper developer to add more features? Just curious, not saying that is a better way to go.

gwyner6 karma

I might pursue VC to make up the difference. I'm not sure. Also there's the post-Kickstarter rush, where a bunch of people join late and add funding. So a lot of possibilities there, and I'm not sure which I'll choose.

mosayshello6 karma

I'm surprised at how much it costs to develop such products! I'm glad that you're aiming to put out the best quality product you can though! I love the fluent forever method for language learning, but the process can be tedious and time consuming for people with very busy lives. I really think if this app turns out like you have on paper, it will be a game changer for many.

gwyner7 karma

Yeah no kidding. Never even heard of numbers like these. :P

LIKE_A_BOSS117 karma

As a polyglot that learned languages as an adult, do you find yourself starting to lose languages you learned previously? I am curious about this because I have a fear that once I move on eventually to another language, I will start to lose the same level of fluency.

Do you still maintain active Anki decks for languages you learned a long time ago like French? What else, if anything, do you do to refresh these older languages?

gwyner19 karma

For sure. You lose whatever you don't maintain. It's not PERMANENT loss - once you hit the ability to hold a conversation, it becomes much easier to bring it back, but it's not going to be fresh and available and solid. My French/Russian/Italian are all kind of a mess at this point.

But! You can bring them back with 2 weeks of watching a TV series. For me, that's pretty comfortable, and so I'm okay with letting them atrophy. I have an article discussing this and a video of my recovered French over here: https://fluent-forever.com/when-you-forget-a-language/

I do know of some polyglots who want their languages in tip-top shape - Alexander Argüelles to be specific - and therefore work their asses off to keep them there. I don't have that kind of work ethic and language maintenance isn't a high enough priority for me to do that. Honestly, I like LEARNING them more than keeping the ability to speak them, but your own mileage may vary.

gwyner10 karma

One thing I forgot to mention with language maintenance - doing 1 hour with a tutor every week or two is enough to keep a language active and mostly happy, in my experience. (even without flashcard reviews)

GiftoftheGeek16 karma

Duolingo really has the largest grasp on the language-learning app market on the moment. What strategies do you plan to use to convince these users to switch? (I personally gave up on Duolingo and would be interested in trying this.)

gwyner29 karma

Maybe I SHOULD be worried about Duolingo, but I'm not. One of the things that's been interesting about building this system and the pronunciation trainers over the last few years is that they continue to sell.

My pronunciation trainers are hard to use and they're clunky. There's a 45 minute installation video. It's ridiculous. It's the sort of product that should have died really rapidly. (It's one of the reasons I've wanted to make this app so much; I really dislike having to have a 45 minute installation video for my own product :P )

And yet they've continue to sell and do well, and it's because the people who use them KNOW that they work. They SEE the results. And so they recommend them to friends, and friends continue buying them, and so on.

Language learning is a truly unique business, as far as I'm concerned. The second you give someone the ability to actually become fluent in a language, they become a zealot for your product for every year of the rest of their lives. They recommend your stuff to everyone, forever. So if I can make a product here that makes a bunch of people actually fluent in languages, then it will not be hard to turn this into a very, very sustainable business.

Duolingo does a bunch of things right, and people often have a really good time when they use it, but I've never met anyone who's told me that they became fluent in French through Duolingo.

troy_civ13 karma

Hi Gabe,

Thank you for doing this AMA. Hugs to Norbert.

You already gave some in depth explanations on the app a few days back.

To me the database really seems to be the heart of the project. As far as I understood you are planning to include the initial top 625 word list with 3 example sentences each, including professional audio recordings.

  1. Where does it go from there? For me it starts getting interesting as soon as the DB will be a little bigger. How long will it take to fill the DB with 10k+ words in each language?

  2. Will your team continue to create content after the initial 625 list or will they be busy with the reviewing of the contributions by the volunteers?

  3. Have you guys already thought about the possible license for the DB? I think it would be only fair to give people who work on that db the possibility to access and work with it outside of the FF app. But on the other hand you are doing all the reviewing and probably many audio recordings, too. Also you need to take care of possible clones. So I really don't know what's the best solution here.

One more thing: I had an idea recently. One could enter coherent texts/dialogs into the DB. Review them sentence by sentence, or listen to them in one piece.

Greeting, Troy

gwyner6 karma

  1. No way to know how long it'll take for that DB to fill up. It's one of the reasons I'm pushing so hard to reach the $850k stretch goal - that tutoring app is a really essential ingredient towards growing that database with high quality material.

  2. We're definitely considering new content packs, but I suspect the first 1-2 years will be spent managing what's getting contributed.

  3. No, we haven't. That's a few more steps out than we are right now (honestly, right now I can barely look past the next day of media contacts I need to write/phone). I don't know what the best solution is here, either, and I don't think I have the business expertise to make it.

Super idea. I'm already looking into ways of bringing in large bodies of text in a user friendly, useful way.

Yamiyanazz11 karma

Hi Gabe. Using pictures alone, how to you learn ideas or nuances that have no specific physical existence? For example, “ones-self” instead of “him” or “her”?

gwyner15 karma

It's not just pictures alone; it's pictures in the context of sentences, which is how we learn words like ones-self in our native languages, too.

For instance: I gave him a pat on the back.

He gave himself a pat on the back.

Those are two stories that LOOK different. You'd choose different pictures for them, and when you're playing with that sentence and deciding which words to learn, you'd make different choices. (i.e., you'd probably skip the word 'him' in the first sentence, since you'd probably have seen and learned that word earlier in your studies).

It's one of the reasons why pre-packaged flashcards will flounder with abstract ideas like "himself" - how on earth would you know that "himself" is the proper word for "He gave __ a pat on the back" unless you had the experience of specifically choosing that sentence to learn the word "himself", and specifically chose a picture of some self-congratulatory guy for that sentence?

joemmidd11 karma

Hi Gabe. I know that when building flash cards in Anki, you prefer using pictures to words and recommend sticking to the target language (no English). How do you do that with concepts like integrity or words like convection for which truly specific images are impossible to find?

gwyner4 karma

SoggyTaco10 karma

Gabe! Big fan and kickstarter backer here, I've been using Anki and the FF technique to learn French and Spanish and have been absolutely blown away by how much I've learned.

I have one problem though: the transition between learning words, grammar, and pronunciation and actually understanding spoken French. I can read French fairly easily and can pronounce it well enough to confuse a few Parisians. However, even after watching Amélie a million times and running the pronunciation trainer on Anki until my ears bleed, spoken French sounds like a mumbled mess of vowels. I don't have this problem with Spanish at all really. Any tips on how to get from knowing to speaking French specifically?

gwyner9 karma

Interesting. Are you just watching Amélie or are you watching a wide variety of TV/movie sources?

I feel like the most direct way to train listening comprehension is to watch a shit-ton of television without subtitles, be actively interested in what's going on, and then do that for 20-100 hours. Have you already been doing that but are running into comprehension problems regardless?

SoggyTaco2 karma

Much more than Amélie, mostly Netflix originals (stranger things, narcos) with french dubs and no subtitles. Not sure if I've accumulated over 30 hours yet so maybe I just need to give it time.

Do dubs make a difference versus content made in the target language?

gwyner8 karma

I don't think the dubs make a big difference; I frankly like dubs quite a bit. I think it's mostly just about # of hours you can sink into listening to French audio that makes the difference between mumbly vowels and actual words.

NoxiousNeuron10 karma

Hey! Were there any specific studies you've read (journal articles, brain books, etc) where you had an "AHAH!" moment in regard to designing a study system like this? Do you have any favorite material about this learning method (other than your own book of course!). I'm curious to see.

Also, how do you prevent your dog from leash pulling? Thanks again. And congrats on having such a successful launch!

gwyner7 karma


My method never involved personal connections until I read about them in research about Levels of Processing. I read about that, though "Huh! I wonder how that would work!", added personal connections to my Hungarian flashcards, and suddenly noticed a pretty sizable shift in my retention.

As for leash pulling, I use Karen Pryor's Connect-the-dots method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmvX-hvsIIc

Sixyearstoskinny9 karma

Hi Gabe! So excited about the release if your app. I really want to learn French (studied some in school years ago and begrudge myself for not continuing). However, I also want to learn Spanish - AND it will be far more useful for my job. I have a little French as a base so I’m tempted to start there (because I presume the ease/excitement of remembering will hold my interest better). What are your thoughts? If I work through French, will it be easier to pick up Spanish when I start? Or should I just start the one that’s far more practical for me to learn (Spanish)?

gwyner15 karma

Learn French. Always* go for the language that drives you the most. This is a long term project and a lifelong companion you're building in your head. So if you have one language that you love, go with that one first.

(And yes, Spanish will be easier, mostly, after of your French learning experience)

*Naturally there will be cases when practical is going to overrule your desires, but if it isn't life threatening to start with French, then do that.

PandaMommy2619 karma

Hi Gabe, great job with the app! Looking forward to trying it out in beta.

Do you have a long term vision for incorporating your program and tools in schools?

gwyner4 karma

Not a specific one. I'm in talk with some schools in Chicago about implementing it there, but I need teacher input to figure out what their needs are, since they're definitely going to be fairly different from every day folks

dayaniux8 karma

Hi Gabe, I am looking forward to the release of this project, not only to use myself but also to recommend to my friends. I used to have my own language learning blog, and I also thought of creating my own language learning app but did not have the funds to get the project rolling.

My question is, is there a way we can contribute to the development Fluent Forever app once it has been released? maybe by adding revised content like sentences, vocabulary, voice notes, etc. I thought I read something about this on the Kickstarter FAQ but I couldn't find it again to read more about it.

As a native Spanish speaker, with intermediate knowledge in Japanese and Korean, it would be wonderful if the Fluent Forever app could be available for other non-English speakers interested in learning languages (other than English) for example, a Spanish speaker interested in learning Korean, that is the type of audience I used to cater and the demand is incredible, since the amount of learning material available is very limited.

Can't wait to start learning :D Best of luck!

gwyner11 karma

Hey! So we're hoping to create a kind of contribution economy, where you can contribute your native Spanish skills to the database in exchange for getting extra subscription time. We need a clever way to do this that's trolling/gaming resistant, so that we're rewarding ACTUALLY helpful people instead of people looking for ways to get free stuff without actually helping, but I think that's doable.

janelanguagehacker7 karma

What are the plans for adding more languages once the app is fully functional, or will additional languages always move into the category of "unsupported languages" in the app?

gwyner3 karma

Here! https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/7417zw/im_gabriel_wyner_author_of_fluent_forever_im_also/dnupe3n/

Basically they'll first move into Unsupported Language territory, and once we see enough users there to justify making new resources, we'll make them and move it into Supported territory.

kamrulh967 karma

What's the plan if you just miss a stretch goal but are very close to it? So I'm hoping you meet all of them but if you were just short by a couple thousand, what will happen to the excess?

gwyner10 karma

I mean, if we're short by just a couple thousand, then I'll probably just sneak it in. :)

If we're really short, then we'll plan to release without that feature, and then once we make enough $$ to keep the company solvent and also develop that feature, we'll add it.

kamrulh963 karma

So the end goal is to add all the features, even the stretch goals that were missed, eventually? Provided everything goes successfully of course.

gwyner4 karma

They're certainly features I want for my own use, so I'd like to make them happen :P

bleuheron7 karma

Your system works and seems revolutionary. Can't wait for the app!

I am successfully learning French. In about 11 months I'll be going to Russia for a couple of weeks. When should I switch to studying Russian in order to gain a basic traveler's "fluency"?

I'll be with a group and likely won't actually need to speak any Russian. But I won't be happy going without having some grasp of the basics. I don't expect to ever use Russian after this trip, and I'm not at all excited about learning it. On the other hand, learning French is my delight. But knowing I'll be in Russia and not satisfied at all if I don't have some of the Russian language in my head with me is all the motivation I'll need to study it before I go. But not before I have to!

Thanks Gabe for doing this work.

gwyner6 karma

If you just want some travel phrases, I might give it 2-3 months before you go, and focus exclusively on making fill-in-the-blanks with useful travel phrases (don't use my 625 list)

ajw8277 karma

What is your opinion about trying to learn more than one language at a time. I'm interested in French and German. Is that doable, or should I just focus on one?

gwyner10 karma

I always recommend sticking with one at a time; it reduces the amount that they interfere with each other. Do French for 6-9 months, solidify it, if you need to, stop making new cards and just review while you watch lots of French film and maybe chat with an iTalki tutor. Then, when your French is at a solid level that you're happy with, move on to German.

One thing I forgot to mention with language maintenance - doing 1 hour with a tutor every week or two is enough to keep a language active and mostly happy, in my experience.

whinynil7 karma

Hi, thanks for all the hard work! I noticed that Hindi has not received much attention on Fluent Forever. For example, there is no word list or pronunciation trainer in the product list. Also, Hindi is not on the roadmap for the Kickstarter app. Can you provide the reasoning for not including Hindi? What value can I expect out of the Kickstarter If I’m specifically hoping to learn Hindi (or, for that matter, any language that is grouped into the “Support for All Other Languages” stretch goal)?

gwyner12 karma

Why no official Hindi support? So I WANTED to do Hindi, and I put it up to a vote back in 2013 with my first Kickstarter, and the initial Kickstarter backers chose Cantonese. :P

I begrudgingly complied, and over the past 3.5 years, I've become so spectacularly burned out on creating pronunciation trainers that the idea of doing one more official one myself is just not in the cards at the moment. (Eventually I'll train a team to do it)

Now let me address how I'm picturing the Unsupported Language Support: - We make a solid web app for interacting with a tutor on iTalki (or anywhere else) to create your own resources. I make it really easy and obvious how to have your tutor make minimal pairs for you, how to create B as in Boy-style spelling rule cards, etc. I make it easy for your tutor to help you make a sentence, record it, and put it into your flashcards.

  • We halve the subscription rate (i.e., there's no such thing as a 'Full' subscription for the unsupported languages), and we give you (effectively) unlimited image search in English.

  • We come up with a solid system of upvoting/downvoting other users' created resources, and of auto-curating submitted resources.

  • We wait a little while. The database for Hindi grows pretty rapidly as soon as we have even just a few users using it reliably.

  • Now we have a database of minimal pairs, spelling rule flashcards and sentences to play with, comment upon and up/downvote. All users get unlimited access to that database.

  • Wait longer, database continues to grow, now we have a pretty solid offering in Hindi.

  • Now the app is pretty mature and we can see just how many users are learning each language. That allows us to make intelligent choices about which languages we upgrade to Officially Supported Status.

That's the rough outline so far.

whinynil5 karma

Thanks for the detailed response! Assuming you reach the $850k stretch goal, do you have a sense of the timing for when the "other" languages will be supported? What should people do for language learning in the meantime? Should we use the existing book and Anki until then?

gwyner6 karma

Hrm. $850k means I can definitely afford the really awesome app house I want to use, and they work super fast. I'm estimating Spanish to come out by February with them, if not sooner. The other languages should come pretty rapidly after that (I'm planning on getting the content done for them in parallel).

I don't want to make firm time commitments after the debacle of my last Kickstarter, but if I were to throw a date into the air, it might be by November of 2018?

In the meantime, yeah, I think using the existing book and Anki is a good plan.

Keithmontreuil7 karma

I'm currently working on an indigenous language called anishinaabemowin (ojibwe/chippewa). It is a beautiful polysynthetic language that is very precise and vivid in describing the actions of the natural world. I'm curious if the app will be able to support GIF files? GIF files seem to better convey the action-idea meanings of the various morpheme combinations than still pictures do. thanks for all you do, your book is fantastic and i recommend it to everyone.

gwyner4 karma

Jealous. I played with some polysynthetic languages when giving a workshop up in Canada and they're amaaaazing.

I don't see why we shouldn't be able to support gifs, just there's not a great way to search for them. But..then again, that might be fun to add in (gif search on meme websites..)

janelanguagehacker4 karma

Would gif support allow sign languages to be "unsupported languages"?

gwyner5 karma

The problem with sign languages is the lack of a written language. This thing lives on written stuff. I feel like a sign language trainer requires some real re-thinking of this whole thing.

ChucklingBoy6 karma

Hey Gabe,

I've been using your methodology for ASL. ASL has a transcription system called 'Gloss'. It is analogous to how Chinese can be written in Roman characters with numbers to indicate tone. Since Anki can support videos you can roughly make the FF method work as is. Granted, a lot of quality of life could be added.

PM me if you would like to talk about it more once you wrap up the AMA!

gwyner3 karma

Can you poke me about this in 6 months?

mosayshello6 karma

Hey, poor medical student here. This is probably a dumb question that could easily be answered if I made a Kickstarter pledge right now. However, I'll have to wait a bit on supporting when I have more spending money available. My question is: On Kickstarter, if we make a pledge that includes the pronunciation trainer and sentence list, do we get access to those immediately or do we have to wait until the app beta is available to use them? I would like to get a head start on Spanish pronunciation during some down time in the coming months.

gwyner7 karma

Email us in November. We can't give you an early sentence list (they don't exist yet!), but if you've pledged and the money came out of your credit card and everything, I don't see any problem with giving out early trainers so you can start early.

dgbeecher6 karma

Anki gives users a lot of control over the spaced repetition algorithm. It is also transparent about it: you know when you'll next see each card. Will your app function similarly?

gwyner10 karma

We might A/B test interface options with users and see what seems the most satisfying. Sometimes Anki's transparency confuses people - I know I've taught it to folks and they see all these numbers and they just wish the choices were simpler - "Do I know this? Or not?"

Other folks have specifically requested having all 4 buttons of Anki.

I probably won't include a lot of control over the actual algorithm; I think Anki's defaults are optimized for test taking, rather than long term retention, so I prefer longer intervals and I think that's a good place to start. I also think that adding a ton of power-user tools and customization options can bog down an interface and make the app harder to use, which is the exact problem I'm aiming to solve with this app.

falicianessart5 karma

  1. Treadmill desks: yea or nay?
  2. Is this your main job or do you have something else you do?
  3. What is the hardest language you've learned/tried to learn?
  4. Do you have a goal for number of languages you'd like to be reasonably fluent in?
  5. Why did you stop singing/do you miss it?

gwyner4 karma

  1. Yea! For sure
  2. This is my main job
  3. Japanese, 100%.
  4. No, not really. I want to keep trying language TYPES - so many of the Native American languages are polysynthetic, which is a super cool sort of grammar, so that's appealing. The semitic languages are also pretty unique, so I'd want one of those.
  5. Two reasons. The main thing I enjoyed about singing was the creative experience. And so I do miss that. But I don't miss performing; it's always been kind of scary for me.

Neurophilic5 karma

Hi Gabe,

love the book. Do you think that the languages most dissimilar to written English (Chinese languages, Arabic, Japanese, etc) would benefit from a fundamentally different approach to learning? I find the written language barrier in these is pretty difficult to overcome.


gwyner6 karma

Japanese and Chinese are special. In many ways, they don't take a fundamentally different approach, because the aural content is in the same form as other languages (information is encoded in the same ways - word order, word choice, word inflection).

But the writing problem in those two languages is absolutely unique and requires its own layer of work and yes, a different approach. (I keep resisting the word 'fundamentally' here because it's all just memory, and it all works the same way, through building associations). It's one of the reasons that Mandarin and Japanese are in their own stretch goal; we really will need to design new systems for handling the writing in those languages.

gwyner6 karma

(And Arabic is just hard; I don't think it's all that different from most other languages, except that the dialect issues and the challenging grammatical system make it the hardest of the Semitic languages)

Neurophilic3 karma

what do you think of learning a language without bothering with the writing at all (especially with Chinese in mind)? Do you think one could just stick with IPA and effectively learn to speak/hear Chinese?

gwyner3 karma

I think you can learn Chinese using only Pinyin and that's totally valid. It's just hard to find content for that. We may include that as one of our options for Mandarin and Japanese, and it may show up as one of our unsupported language options for things like Cantonese and Wu

janelanguagehacker5 karma

What are you currently doing to keep up the languages you have already learned? The way you learned them, do you mix up closely-related languages?

ChucklingBoy5 karma

What languages do you currently speak, and what does your study and review schedule look like on a weekly basis?

In the course of developing your methodology over the years what has been the most surprising problem and/or discovery?

Have you trained Nortbert(?) to respond to any commands? If so, are they all English commands?

gwyner7 karma

I attempt to maintain my Hungarian, Japanese and Spanish via weekly or biweekly tutoring sessions. Before this Kickstarter, I was actively studying Japanese with flashcards and all that, but it's taken a 30 days pause :P

I'm allowing the other languages to atrophy at the moment, though I know I can bring them back if needed via television.

Hmmm... most surprising problem/discovery... I guess I was really shocked at the effectiveness of minimal pair training for learning to hear new sounds. I figured it'd work, but 10 days of 20-minute sessions taught me more about Hungarian pronunciation than a half semester of French diction class in music school did for my French pronunciation.

Norbert knows sit, down, spin, jump(kinda), bark(kinda), front (come here), BINGO (come here right now omg so much good stuff is here), touch (with paw), nose (touch with nose), and mat (go to your mat and go down). Those are all in English.

ChucklingBoy3 karma

So have you suspended your Spanish, Hungarian, etc. Anki cards? Or have they tapered off naturally since you have not been adding new cards?

gwyner3 karma


coryrenton5 karma

While there are many word frequency lists, I have difficulty finding "pareto word/phrase lists" for languages (e.g. which tiny fractions of a language allow you to express the majority of passable communication) -- can you point to such resources (I'm beginning to suspect that given how poor most language teaching approaches are, they don't exist)?

gwyner7 karma

I've never heard of such a resource existing. All I can really recommend are sentence lists. At the moment, all that I'm aware of are: Tatoeba, Glossika (paid but good), Linguee (searchable and kind of dense)

coryrenton3 karma

which phrases in general do you find "unlock" a surprisingly useful amount of a language when translated?

gwyner5 karma

I haven't noticed any patterns. I tend to learn language as I need it.

I'm usually trying to tell stories with my iTalki tutors, and every time I screw up, that's when I find the holes in my language. So that's the stuff I focus on. I haven't noticed those holes being the same from language to language.

coryrenton2 karma

between which two languages do you find the largest difference in translation to communicate the same concept or idea (i.e. a literal translation would be the most awkward)?

gwyner2 karma

Japanese is pretty awkward with literal translations. I think that one wins.

coryrenton2 karma

Do you mean between Japanese and English, or Japanese and every other language? What's your favorite translation that would look very strange literally?

gwyner3 karma

I mean between Japanese and English.

coryrenton1 karma

What was the hardest sentence to get your head around when trying to translate between Japanese and English?

gwyner1 karma

I wouldn't be able to identify a particular one; I'm generally just aiming to tell stories with my tutor, and I'll stumble through and he'll correct things occasionally in ways that I'd never quite expect.

kermitlegrenouille5 karma

Hi, Gabe! I'm one of your Hyperglot backers, and I'm looking forward to chatting with you! I'm also a (former) singer, and I think that's like 30% of why i decided to back you :P

Do you have any advice for people who are probably great at languages, but can't retain vocabulary? I can break down the conjugation tables of French and German right now, but I can barely ask my Oma about her day. I feel like I could get further if I could just retain more words.

gwyner3 karma

Great username:)

I think these might help:https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/7417zw/im_gabriel_wyner_author_of_fluent_forever_im_also/dnuqdu0/

But overall, I think to the extent that you focus your studies on learning words in the context of actual stories, those words will stick better.

evcrowcro5 karma


What's been your experience learning a new language while keeping your prior languages current and up to date (so to speak) mentally? Tips/recommendations on how to juggle them well? Challenges you've experienced?


gwyner3 karma

Here! https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/7417zw/im_gabriel_wyner_author_of_fluent_forever_im_also/dnuooky/

Also make sure not to recycle images from language to language, try to avoid recycling stories from language to language, and definitely don't recycle mnemonics from language to language!

Sartrean0105 karma

Any advice on deep French immersion in terms of resources? Finding it hard to get access to things in America.

gwyner4 karma

Middlebury! http://www.middlebury.edu/ls/french Apply early, get financial aid grants!

kamrulh963 karma

What about options in the UK/Europe?

gwyner1 karma

We've been trying to compile options here: https://fluent-forever.com/immersion/

But I don't see that we've found French programs we actually recommend yet. If folks DO have suggestions, let us know so we can add them

balsamfir14 karma

Hi Gabe! So excited! Just started Spanish on Anki to get a jump on things, even prior to the Beta, as you already recommended in the threads over on Kickstarter.
Question: I don't recall your book or blogs addressing a different approach for adding the alternative language (Spanish vs Latin American Spanish; French vs Canadian French, etc.). It seems you suggested just to learn the different words. How would we work this in the new app? I think a new trainer and 625 word list wouldn't be targeted to the differences and would be overkill on a language you just learned. Could you consider building trainers just for the differences? Thanks for all your great work!

gwyner3 karma

Basically, I'd suggest you learn standardized French using the supported tools, and then add a dialect afterwards using the unsupported language feature. That'll let you get high level input for, say, Canadian French, and it'll be pretty easy to learn (and pretty easy to hear the differences once you start)

kamrulh964 karma

Are you thinking of supporting Arabic dialects? And if so how? And if not, why not? Many people communicate using dialects more than MSA and use Franco-Arabic script to text (i.e. using Latin script and numbers to write, such as a7lan or 9wiy) than use Arabic script. Thanks!

gwyner3 karma

I'm thinking of incorporating them into the Unsupported Language category, where folks can pick a dialect and learn it with Franco-Arabic script, have tutors record sentences in correct dialect, etc.

Detangling Arabic's dialect issues for the pronunciation trainers was EXCEPTIONALLY challenging, and it will continue to be a challenge with this new app. I think it's doable in the way I described but I imagine there will be hiccups along the way that we'll need to fix.

falicianessart4 karma

What lead to Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Korean to be the first languages you're supporting?

(I backed mostly because of French and Korean...just curious how you got to these languages)

gwyner7 karma

Cost + Interest.

Hebrew + Arabic require additional development of the UI to handle right-to-left stuff, so they needed to be in their own stretch goal. Dutch and Portuguese weren't very popular amongst the pronunciation trainers. So I lumped those into the same stretch goal.

Mandarin and Japanese are their own special dev/design nightmare, and definitely needed their own stretch goal to accomplish.

So the remaining languages we already had trainers for were Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Korean

shawncrowder4 karma

Assuming you hit the stretch goals for supporting all languages (which I hope you do), I'm curious how that will work.

What are the biggest challenges your team faces with implementing support for languages that you don't directly provide the word/sentence content for?

gwyner3 karma

Here! https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/7417zw/im_gabriel_wyner_author_of_fluent_forever_im_also/dnuo6l9/

Biggest challenge, I suspect, is figuring out a good system for rewarding and promoting quality content in the community and demoting poor content. We'll have an easier time than reddit, because you'll find fewer trolls in a group of people who are paying for subscriptions, but I still suspect it will be hard.

ByrneLikeBurn4 karma

I spent a bunch of time learning Latin only to subsequently forget it. I know the emphasis for the app is on spoken languages for conversation purposes, but I'd be really curious to use it for Latin. My thought is grammar. I know that the app will be built out for unsupported languages at the 800k stretch goal but I'm curious how to do the unusual grammar (cases and declensions) associated with Latin. Any insights? Learning more about that wouldn't be a deal breaker, but it would massively increase my excitement level. Thank you!

gwyner4 karma

I don't see a conceptual problem with using the app to learn Latin, with the possible exception of getting recorded sentences.

But there's a LARGE body of written Latin, and that means a large body of sentences that could be brought into the app, and cut apart into flashcards that would teach declension information just like you'd do it in another inflected language like Russian or French

everything_is_still1 karma

How is French any more inflected than English?

gwyner2 karma

I don’t consider English all that inflected...it only has around 5 verb forms, 1 adjective form. But maybe I’m not thinking of something or your sense of ‘inflection’ is broader than mine. What’s your sense of it?

everything_is_still1 karma

In the sense being used above, I understood "inflected" to be referring to the developed case systems in Russian and Latin, as I understood it. French hardly has any more of a case system than English does and it is restricted solely to pronouns, lacking even the genitive of English.

gwyner2 karma

Gotcha. Makes sense. I tend to look at languages more on the basis of what percentage of the grammar is stored in altering the form of a root word, so for me, French has a fair bit of inflection to deal with in its verbs, and you handle learning that stuff in the same way as you’d handle Latin’s noun inflections (just you’d do it more often in Latin)

poiaze4 karma

what do you recommend for those who already reached B2+/C1, what's the best way to reach the next step and almost native fluency?

gwyner2 karma

C1->C2 is mostly a matter of perfecting style and getting a LOT of more advanced vocab into your head. That mostly means a lot of reading, and identifying challenging sentences and getting them into your head (app is well suited for that part), watching a lot of TV, listening to a lot of radio stuff at a high level (news broadcasts and stuff), writing down the words that you're puzzled by, and getting example sentences for those (and getting them into your head), and then interactions with tutors, where you find out where your spoken holes are located and make sentences that target those holes.

EarthBoundRules4 karma

Some say that to learn a language to fluency requires knowledge of around 10,000 words. Why did you pick 625, and is this really enough words to be called fluent?

gwyner9 karma

625 words is definitely NOT enough words to be called fluent.

That said, if you know the top 2000 words in a language, and you really know how to use them, then you're going to be able to understand around 85-90% of the spoken language you encounter. So that level of fluency is around B2 in the CEFR

When you are learning the 625 in the context of sentences, though, you're learning WAY more than those 625. You're picking up all of the high frequency functional words, huge chunks of grammar, and additional vocab. So when you finish that list, you already have around 2000 extremely high frequency words in your head. You should be around B1/B2 by the end of those, and then if you want to go further, then you can start browsing through the community database and/or adding your own sentences.

T4NKie4 karma

Loved your method for becoming fluent in French, it's the real deal!!! planning on using the smartphone app for learning spanish. What date should I be telling my friends for the beta release for French/Spanish?

gwyner3 karma

I'm aiming for a February release of the beta for Spanish. Potentially a March release for French.

Lillik_E3 karma

Hi Gabe!

Thank you for all the past hard work and effort. Your book and materials have helped put me on the track to language fluently. My problem is motivation. As an older student, I find that motivation is my biggest challenge. So my question to you: How does one develop the motivation necessary to stay the course?

Thanks again!


gwyner5 karma

I get that 100%. Motivation is tricky; a lot of things are involved: how much work something is taking, how much you're getting back, how much other stuff is going on in your life. My Japanese is currently atrophying due to this Kickstarter; I just don't have the motivation to keep it up right now.

The solution, I think, is to address those issues in turn. My Japanese will come back once this Kickstarter stress goes down. I could probably bring it back earlier if I spent more time taking care of my stress levels, reading books and chilling.

I'm hoping to get more motivation for Japanese by building this app; by making it easier for me to study every day, it takes another barrier away.

I can use habits to do it; if I set an alarm to go into a certain room and pull out my flashcards and do them at the same time every day, it will make it easier to do that the following day, and the following day, etc., until it's a habit and takes little effort.

Those are some thoughts on the matter!

Ibeagoodman3 karma

Hey Gabe! Thanks a lot for doing this!

I have a question concerning using the Fluent Forever method while living in a country that speaks my target language. I've recently started learning German, and I'll be in Germany and Austria for a few months. I will basically be immersed in the language. Since your method seems best fit for up to an hour of study per day, do you have any advice on what to do during the rest of my time? Obviously I will be learning new words and grammar rules all the time outside of my "official" study time. How should I manage it all? How much do the study methods even matter while immersed in the language?

I hope that makes sense. I can't wait for the app!

gwyner16 karma

When I do immersions, I carry around a notebook where I write down all the missing chunks to my language. Words I misunderstood, words I wanted to know, etc.

Then I spend an hour or so creating flashcards to fill in those holes, and an hour or so reviewing flashcards. (If I'm going to do an immersion, I double my daily study time)

What I found is that the study methods DON'T seem to matter all that much in the middle of immersion in terms of how rapidly you progress, which is going to feel weird and slightly disheartening. But AFTER the fact, you'll find that your overall retention is higher. So I think it's worth the time to actually study in this way, but your mileage may vary.

(As for other activities, do whatever you need to do to hear as much German as you can. Go on museum tours in German, go watch movies, go hang out in bars, go buy stuff. And run away from the Austrians looking to practice their English)

mosayshello7 karma

And run away from the Austrians looking to practice their English

Story of my life when I try to practice Korean XD

gwyner3 karma


[deleted]3 karma

Hey Gabe - I'm a mechanical engineering student (haven't switched to opera yet) and I'm currently trying to learn french, whilst studying in France for a few months. I've read your book, and I've made flashcards for all the words on the 625 frequency list. What is the best way for me to proceed from here to improve my French quickly? Start working through a grammar book, or go for a more immersion heavy approach? Thanks

gwyner5 karma

If you're in France, take advantage of France. Go to museums, take tours in French. Go to restaurants, bars, etc. Get as much immersion as you can.

When you're tired, then go home and use your grammar book. Study everyday and then go back out to practice.

vinsica3 karma

Gabe, it is Vincent. I am having problems finding material at my language level and often leads to long breaks in the studying process. What ideas or resources do you have that can help a language learner find reading material/audio etc that are at the correct level?

gwyner4 karma

Too high level or too low?

vinsica3 karma

The stuff I find is too high.

gwyner2 karma

I really like using iTalki tutors for content generation, because it's exactly at the level you need it to be, and it's also personal. So that's my favorite source.

Other than that, there are generally graded readers that can be used. Audio is harder; I'm not sure what to offer there other than the tutor thing.

Pboman3 karma

Why is Chinese and Japanese your last stretch goals? Will you be adding Chinese characters to the Korean program? Those three languages share a lot of common words from Chinese. Is there a way to relate those three languages to make them easier to learn together?

gwyner4 karma

It's all about the Chinese characters - they require a lot of new design to really handle well - and no, Korean will be using Hangul. From my discussions with folks when creating the Korean trainer, fewer and fewer Koreans nowadays know Chinese characters. We may incorporate some rudimentary support for recognizing them in Korean, but the focus will be on Hangul.

I discourage learning languages together, in order to reduce interference between them. So no, I don't foresee creating ways of bridging between one or the other within the app. It'd more be a matter of learning Chinese, and then learning Japanese, and realizing that your Japanese progress is going faster than it otherwise would.

danbergan3 karma

My wife and I loved your book. (other apps/software haven't taught us correct pronunciation, and we still "translate" instead of just thinking in the new language.) The issue we have had is finding the time (and completely understanding the process) of creating the flash cards. I think it will just take us sitting down for a weekend and plugging away at it. As I understand it, the app will make this whole process easier -- making our "memorable" cards in a step-by-step process.

Do you have any tips for getting us started and break through that feeling of "I don't have time to figure this out today"?

My second question is about picking a language to learn. My wife loves everything French, so her choice is easy! We are starting a travel/tourism business and I want to help our guests, but also be polite and converse in the language of whatever country we are in. So, my initial plan was to learn something different than French, so together we can handle more of Europe. However, we are in France right now and there are times that she compains about her not understanding someone, or that her pronunciation is terrible... I'm feeling that it may be beneficial for me to learn French as well, so that my wife and I can practice together - maybe have some "only French" days where we force ourselves to speak and understand. Since I don't have anything pulling me to one specific language, does this seem like a smart choice?

Thanks, Gabriel!

gwyner4 karma

Tips for getting started: Make a goal of creating 3 flashcards for simple picture cards in Anki.

Then make a goal of putting one sentence into Anki, a few days later when you have the bandwidth for it. Do small, bite-sized chunks, and yeah, sit down for an afternoon and hammer them out.

Yeah, learn French in that context. It's way more fun to do that together than separately, and it's super fun to have a secret, couple's language.

PrimusBaby3 karma

How do you feel about all of the new real-time translators that are coming to the market (both app and in-ear based)? Do you feel like these pose a threat to the traditional way of learning languages? Or even the need to learn a new language?

gwyner4 karma

It might be unwise, but I don't see that as a big threat. It's a fundamentally different experience, actually speaking a language with someone and speaking through translators. A LOT of people dream of learning languages, and I think there's a big enough market for both strategies (actually learning them vs having tech that translates well).

Also I think we're a long way off from having translation tools that actually work well enough for a real conversation.

NanoRabbit3 karma

Would a tablet version of your app contain writing practice as well? When learning languages with non-Roman alphabets (and even with those that DO have them), I always find that writing certain words really helps to get them into my head.

gwyner3 karma

I'm hoping to have that for Mandarin/Japanese. I'm considering that for the others as well, but I suspect we'll add typing before we add writing.

brusselsshrek3 karma

1) Is someone really going to pay $10/month (or whatever it is), to use a flashcard app?

2) Isn't it just a pain, rather than a benefit as a user to have to build flashcards yourself?

3) What would you do if a free app as good as FF came out?

gwyner8 karma

If someone wanted to plunk down $300-600k on developing their own copy of this thing, and wanted to absorb the Google API costs that every user is going to cost them, and also the staffing costs of having native speakers on board to proofread content, then I guess my company would be sunk and I would be sad. :P

Neurophilic3 karma

since you're learning to speak Japanese - is your progress in learning written Japanese about the same as your progress in spoken Japanese? or do you find they're disparately different?

gwyner3 karma

I took a year off of Japanese to learn Spanish.

Initially when I was doing Japanese, I really focused on the writing system, and I'd say that my writing and speaking levels were pretty even.

Then I took 8 months off off to learn Spanish.

When I came back, I suspended all of my writing flashcards and I stopped creating new ones. I focused all of my efforts on audio-only flashcards that I could use while driving. And so my writing is falling behind. I can still recognize characters, and I'm realizing that for my own usage, I only need to recognize them, but yeah, that part of my Japanese is atrophying.

TwinkletoesCT3 karma

Gabe, is there a kickstarter level for "lunch with Gabe"? Because I'd consider it, just to pick your brain about the evolution of Fluent Forever from its genesis until now.

gwyner3 karma

If you help us get all the way to our Japanese stretch goal then I will happily have lunch :)

gwyner3 karma

Actually, if you'd like to chat, head over to the Kickstarter live feed: https://live.kickstarter.com/broadcast/20088?state=broadcast

TwinkletoesCT3 karma

Ha! Fair enough. Does it help any if I was a Japanese major? :)

gwyner2 karma

No, we just need money :P Lol

troy_civ3 karma

How do you think this AMA is going?

little statistic: You have 140 comments so far, Riley Reid has 740.

That gives you 1/5 of her popularity. That's amazingly impressive, don't you think? ;)

gwyner3 karma

Ha! I’ll take it :) this has been fun so far - I was expecting to get murdered out here, honestly

pnoeric3 karma

Hi Gabriel, big fan and following your system (plus backing the app on Kickstarter-- very cool).

Is there any way to more easily "soak up" the vocab words on my Anki flashcards? My biggest problem seems to be just that I have a terrible memory... it takes me many, many, many Anki reviews before I can recall a word for more than a few days.

I've heard of other people suggesting "memory palaces" and similar techniques; others have suggested that as I work with Anki, I write the words in a notepad, to help get them into my head.

Any tips?

gwyner5 karma


If you're already doing the Fluent Forever stuff (learning words in the context of sentences + pictures), then the two things that could enhance retention are:

  • Make your sentences personal. Work with an iTalki tutor and create example sentences that actually apply to your life/memories. That should make them substantially more memorable

  • Add additional sentences that include your target word. That adds additional associations to each word you're learning and should make them more soak-up-able.

I like memory palaces, but not for language learning. I find that they separate words too much into different compartments (/ into different rooms), and PREVENT them from associating with each other, and for me, the whole task of language learning is encouraging words to associate with each other.

MichaHugh3 karma

in the breakdown of the rewards you write things like "enough app usage for fluency in a level 1,2 or 3 level language. How are you defining fluency? that's the ability to order a pizza/ taxi or actually sit down and be able to speak for hours with people on a broad range of topics? also you write that based on your experiences 30 - 45 mins learning a day can take you to fluency in a level 1 language, for example, in 6 months; was that time spent purely reviewing cards or that included the creation of cards? if the latter then presumably, given the often tedious amount of work involved in creating cards - which hopefully this app is going to completely remove, that time would be much lower - like 15 - 30 mins a day? i presume that one is going to be able to copy in text and have translations and pics supplied through the various resources the app is going to be drawing on? that it's not just going to be available for the vocab lists provided? it's most probable that stretch goals like the addition of monolingual dictionaries aren't going to be reached (though we live in hope). In this event how likely is it that you're going to be able to get these missed stretch goals in asap? (are they really going to cost that much more for each addition? that's crazy). also how data hungry is this likely to be? ie if i'm not connected to wifi but rather on mobile data is it going to use up loads of data with all the searches and downloading content like pictures? how is the offline mode going to work? firstly is that included as part of the main product and not a stretch goal? secondly, how much is it going to cache? would i, for example, be able to cache enough material for a 45 min train journey with no internet? is there going to be a function whereby i can just copy in lots of text (like with supermemo's incremental reading) which i can then come back to later (would this also have translations, pics etc cached for offline mode?)? is going to be possible to have these blocks of text separate onto different cards automatically - ie if i copy in a block of text that is 10 sentences long then can it automatically create 10 separate sentences that will be sitting in a queue waiting for me to get to them? i think that's about everything for now :-) Thanks for this! big fan of fluent forever. it has been a massive help and i can't wait to see the process become exceptionally streamlined and portable. i've donated and spread the word. lets hope it picks up massively!! :-D

gwyner6 karma

You're asking a bunch so let me know what I miss:

How am I defining Fluency: - I'm aiming for around B2 or C1. If you're doing that lower end of 30 min/day, then more like B2.

What's that time spent on? - Both card creation and review. And I'd stick to that 30-45 min amount. Worst case, you get too good at your language. :)

Missed stretch goals: - We'll add them as soon as we can (so I guess that's "ASAP"), but I'm not sure when ASAP actually will be. I certainly want them in pretty rapidly for my own studies, so I'll be pushing for going fast.

How data hungry? - Not sure! I don't see why we need to be downloading super high res images, and mp3s aren't HUGE, so...medium data hungry? We won't really know until we get in there and do it.

Offline mode - Aiming to precache searches for the sentences that a user is expecting to play with. We might be able to predict how rapidly you eat up sentences and recommend a quantity for you, based upon your trip length.

Large texts - Yeah, we want to have a way to bring in a bunch of text, break it up into sentences, and have them in a queue.

OK I think that's it! Let me know if I missed anything!

Joe567802 karma

will your app function similar to memrise? one of the main issues with flash cards i feel is it can be difficult to understand particles, i mean even in english i dont think many people really know them too well

gwyner3 karma

Yes and no. Memrise also uses flashcards and spaced repetition, but we're aiming to embed all abstract words into sentences, so there's clear context as to where you'd use a particular particle, a clear story, a picture to go along with it, and multiple sample sentences you can use to see how that particle is used.

SoliDeoGloria17502 karma

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do the AMA! I pledged 75 pounds to be fluent in German!

I am absolutely thrilled that you're making this app. I've been a fan of yours from the beginning, I loved every second reading your book and I've been rejoicing about it to everyone who is interested in learning languages! Here are my questions:

  1. You mention in your book that you advise getting a good text book to use for all of the main ingredients for picking up the language. Will I still need a textbook in order to use the app or can I use the app exclusively to learn the language? (in my case German)

  2. Following my first question, if I am just using the app, is there a sequencial method in going about learning every aspect of the language? Such as the start of grammar, or does it go straight from the 625 words and we go from there?

So far I have learned the 625 words but I have always struggled progressing from there to make my own German sentences. I bought "everything German" text book but I can't find sentences I can put into my anki deck since I don't know where to begin.

Thank you so much, Gabe. As a fellow opera singer from England you're my inspiration.

gwyner3 karma

  1. I've been learning Hungarian, Spanish and Japanese without a textbook (though occasionally I'll go look up an article to figure out how the grammar is working in some construct), and it's been going quite well. I think if we add in grammatical explanations into the comment threads on each sentence, you'll be pretty well covered and can skip the textbook unless you PREFER learning about grammar in that sort of systematic way.

  2. The app just goes through the 625, and you pick up pieces of grammar as they float through your chosen example sentences. That's been my approach for my last 3 languages and I kind of like the feel for it. That said, some folks will prefer a more systematic approach and should use a text to aid them. We have ideas about how to approach folks who prefer that later in the app development process, but that'll be for after the Kickstarter

Smorly2 karma

Hi Gabe,

First of all, thanks for putting so much effort into making all our lives easier!

For the app, will you recycle the audio files you created for the 625 word lists or will you re-record them? I am currently using the Korean one and realised there are a few files that are cut off or where the speaker sounds somewhat unnatural compared to sound bites on Forvo (this one might just be my untrained ear though).

Also, will it be possible to choose between different sound files - same as is your plan for images - and will I be able to add my own?

gwyner2 karma

I'm not yet entirely sure how much we're going to re-use single word recordings, rather than simply having full sentence recordings for everything.

We may well reuse the 625 recordings, so if there's stuff that's meh, email us so we can flag that stuff for re-recording.

Thisishugh2 karma

  • How many languages can you speak?
  • How is your method better than Pimsleurs?

gwyner3 karma

I speak 8: Italian, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Hungarian, Japanese, English

Pimsleur uses spaced repetition but without user input about whether the user knows the material or not, and it relies upon translations. My stuff avoids translations in order to teach more readily memorable associations in your target language, and focuses heavily on imagery and users having the ability to customize their learning materials.

captainmorpheme2 karma

Do you think people would grasp the idea of thinking in a new language better if you added something about "no more translating" to your catchphrase? Have you considered that? Like, "Fluent Forever: Say goodbye to translating! Learn to think in any language." I find people get the concept better when I emphasize that they'll learn faster when they don't try to find an English equivalent for everything. (I explain minimal pairs and the importance of hearing/pronouncing accurately from the start, and what anki is and why SRS works, but people really seem to get it when I add that they won't need to translate. I think people just assume they'll always need to translate when learning a new language, and if they've tried learning one before, they're probably thinking, "I'm bad at translating" or "that method hasn't worked for me.") ~Catherine Murphy P.S. Looking forward to your Tribune article.

gwyner2 karma

That’s an excellent idea. Let me play around with it and yeah, maybe I can switch out the Kickstarter tagline

troy_civ2 karma

one really quick one:

Will Brazilian and Portuguese Portuguese be supported?

gwyner2 karma

Brazilian - official support

EU - unofficial (like any other unsupported lang), except we will have an official pronunciation trainer for it.

kamrulh962 karma

Wait so Brazilian Portuguese is officially supported and EU Portuguese will be unofficial? Or the other way round? Sorry I don't understand the sentence structure

gwyner3 karma

Brazilian is officially supported

EU is unofficial

spiraldancing2 karma

Hi Gabe ... long-time fan; I've been following/reading your stuff since the TowerOfBabelfish days.

I don't know how tightly integrated your app will be with Google ... but as one of the few who still stubbornly refuses to use the Google Play service to get apps (mainly, I use F-Droid, direct downloads, and occasionally compile my own from github source)

... any chance you could do an alternative (non-Google) distribution for Android? Otherwise, I'm stuck hoping for your $1.3M stretch goal.

gwyner2 karma

Erm...I have no idea! I don't know how the app store world works, yet, so I'll have to get back to you on that. Can you ping us in a couple of months so we can get a real answer to your question?

lifeanddoodles2 karma

Hello Gabe, will there be a way to sort the flashcards with sentences by topic(s)?

gwyner3 karma

We've heard of repeated calls for that sort of thing (like having travel phrases, or sentences based on particular word lists), so it's definitely something I'm looking in to!

CloakedInBlack1 karma

Hey Gabe. Glad to have found a fellow Japanese/Russian speaking brother, it's a rare combo. I wanted to a run an idea past you that I'm planning to employ in the future.

How well do you think two 30 minute italki tutor sessions (ex. one on monday other thursday) per week would do for retaining a language? Do you think an hour a week is enough not only to prevent forgetting a language but also to improve it's level? (Let's say if you did an hour a week for a few years).

gwyner2 karma

I think an hour every 2 weeks or 30 minutes a week is a good way to roughly maintain a language. I don't think it's enough to improve your level, and I'm not all that convinced that doubling that will improve your level all that much, either. I've been trying to maintain my Japanese using an hour a week and I don't feel like I'm getting better without my flashcards.

CloakedInBlack2 karma

I see, thanks for the answer! I read a bit more about you. I'm interested if you think your musicality has helped you with languages in any way shape / form?

gwyner2 karma

Definitely. I think a music background gives people a natural focus on sound that's super important to language learning.

muchomuchoamor1 karma

Are you currently accepting demo reels/submissions from voice over artists who are passionate about helping your cause?

gwyner1 karma

Poke us in, say, December! Right now all I can do/think about is Kickstarter related