Fluent Forever: the future of app language learning?

Review

Can you really become fluent in a foreign language after using this app for six months?
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Fluent Forever: the future of app language learning?

Au revoir, Google Translate…

Learning a new language is tough. And the vast choice of learning materials out there doesn’t make it any easier to pick a method that suits you. However, there could be a solution to rule them all. It’s an app called Fluent Forever, promising to make you fluent in your chosen language in just six months.

A brief history

Fluent Forever, the app, is the brainstorm of self-taught polyglot, Gabriel Wyner. After cheating on a French test, he was – to his horror – placed in a more advanced class that involved having to do an interview in French.

With just three months to learn the language, Wyner had to come up with a way to learn faster. He developed his own method that involved using flashcards. By the time the test came around, Wyner had reached near fluency in just a few months.

He published a Lifehacker article detailing how he did it, and later, the Fluent Forever book that has already helped many learn. Today, the app version is the most crowdfunded app in Kickstarter history, having smashed its original $250k target goal, thanks to over 4,400 backers.

What’s so special about it?

One of the problems with learning a new language is that sometimes only select keywords and phrases stick. That’s all well and good, but being able to use those in a real conversation is another matter.

Fluent Forever is about more than remembering keywords. It’s about how you store information. Wyner believes his method is so effective, that you’ll not only be speaking in a new language in as little as six months, you’ll be thinking in it too.

Here are a few reasons why it’s different from the other language learning apps…

Pronunciation first

To learn a language, you must first know how it sounds. That’s why Fluent Forever first teaches you pronunciation. The first two weeks of using the app are spent training your brain through videos and flashcards that deal with consonants and vowels, and words that look similar, but sound different. Right from the off, the app is teaching you the subtleties of your chosen language that’ll guide you on the path to fluency.

Here’s a video from the man himself explaining how the pronunciation process works (presumably the majority of the video budget went on the above):

Smart customised flashcards

You’ll then learn vocabulary and grammar through a spaced repetition flashcards system, that prevents you from forgetting what you’ve learnt. It does this by testing you at the right moment. You’ll create your own cards by choosing images from within the app. And it’s this process of creating your own learning tools pushes information into your long-term memory.

Choose what you want to learn

Choose which words you want to learn, what sentences you want to learn them in, and which pictures you want for each word. By making these choices, you’ll be subconsciously learning your new lingo.

Get help from others

The app introduces collaborative learning. You can browse through a proofread list of sentences that others have submitted. Each sentence will have comment threads, where you can ask others about grammar. A native speaker employed by the company will be on-hand to answer your questions.

Sounds good. When can I download it?

It’s still in the concept stage, so unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for the beta version, which is due for release in April 2018 if you’re a backer of the project. A full version of the app will be available to all on Android and iOS devices in August 2018.

How much does it cost?

There are several packages, currently priced in US dollars for now. The basic app is free. An intermediate package will cost $40 for a one-month subscription. The $75 package for six months is apparently long enough to become fluent in one new language.

A $240 deal will get you a lifetime subscription in your chosen language, a signed copy of the Fluent Forever book, and a pronunciation trainer.

What do you think? A small price to pay for being fluent in another language in just six months? Or a hefty cost for an unproven app? Have you learned a new language faster? Let us know how in the comments below.

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