Learning a foreign language is tough work. Unless you were lucky enought to have been born into a bilingual situation or have a natural flair for languages then you're going to have to put in a lot of hardwork to get to a decent level of proficcency. In the past it was very difficult to get hold of learning resources to pick up a language but now, with the spread of the internet and the plethora of resources avalible online it is becoming easier to learn a language than it used to be.
The lastest offering aiming to easy your language learning experience is a kickstarter by the name of “Fluent Forever.” brought to you by Gabriel Wyner.
What Is Fluent Forever
Fluent Forever is a kickstarter campaign to create a series of applications that aim to help you improve your pronunciation in a foreign language. The application will play various recording and help you to identify the different sounds that occur with the language. Being able to differentiate sounds helps with not only speaking but also listening and understand what you are hearing, vital skills when you are learning a new language. Check out the video
What I Like
The app follows a basic system of Test Teach Test (hear a sound, identfy it between two option, get feed back on whether it is correct, then repeat) which is common within language teaching. It also provides a vast amount of exposure for a learner of the language when they are just starting out and specifically tackling difficult sounds.
This is aiming to help people learn to deal with one of the most difficult areas of learning a language and help them to be able to process the language they hear from other sources.
However, pronunciation is also an area that even long term language learners can struggle with and so it isn't just an application that should appeal to new language learners but also long term language learners.
What I Don't Like
As a language teacher this does introude upon my day job and so there are a few things I don't like about this system. It appears to focus on “minimal pairs” words with only one sound different like ship and sheep, which are often difficult to tell apart but usually we can guess the word via the other words around them (for example"a flock of X", or “a X on the ocean”). In addition when we say multiple words together we sometimes change how we say the word which makes it harder to hear anyway.
Finally, I really hate the name of the app. I understand that this is all about marketting (it also matches the name of the website of the founde) and seeing as the app has been successfully funded (550% and growing) proves that it was a good choice of name but frankly this app won't make you fluent. There are a lot of other elements to knowing a language and
This is not a complete all in one language learning experience, for that you should check out duolingo, but if you want to improve your proncuncation, at any stage of your language learning journey, then it is a campaing you should look to back. Although I have my doubt about the application and I am not keen on some of it's claim I have backed the project as I try to help increase the number of language learning tools that people have avalible.
Head over to the kickstarter campaign to back it yourself