Reviews | How to say what you need to say in another language


Glossika is not flashy. You don’t get much in the way of games (or “gamification” as we apparently say these days). Culture is not the issue either; it is assumed that you will get this kind of information elsewhere. Glossika is all about doing the work. And do it for a few months, getting into all the sentences… and one fine day, it’s like going from black and white to the color part of “The Wizard of Oz”.

Suddenly you can understand what native speakers are saying because now the language is in your ear for real. I will never forget the day when I passed Chinese people and heard one of them say in Mandarin: “Wait, take a picture of this statue”, whereas a few months earlier, I would not have heard anything other than a stream of sounds.

So that’s the most convenient way I know of to go through “It’s my neighbor’s pencil” yourself. And by the way, no, I’m not related to the company in any way. I just want to share something really useful.

Glossika includes other activities to help you learn to write in the language and allow you to listen to yourself speak. I find that less important than just dripping my tongue in my ear on a daily basis, with some kind of repetition that no real human would be patient enough for – even for pay.

I also want more people to know Glossika because its creator, Michael Campbell, is an excellent citizen of the languages ​​of the world. Of the approximately 7,000 languages ​​currently spoken, only 500 or 600 could still be used in a hundred years. Globalization and urbanization force people to speak the large lingua francas, so the languages ​​spoken by small indigenous groups cease to be passed on to children. Additionally, in countless instances in the past, Native Americans and Australian Aborigines have been discouraged from using their language, with children being physically abused in schools for doing so. There is now a linguistic diversity crisis similar to the one facing so much of the world’s flora and fauna.

In response to this, Glossika helps you learn some struggling languages, such as Welsh and Taiwanese, for free. Campbell encourages late speakers of various indigenous languages ​​to record sets of Glossika in their languages. The likelihood that many of these languages, such as the Native American languages ​​of the Pacific Northwest and the native languages ​​of Taiwan, will survive as spoken languages ​​is low. However, having them saved in the Glossika format will be an invaluable way of preserving them at least for posterity.

Campbell hears Glossika as a means learn a language from scratch. However, it’s really a set to go in between. With all due respect to the platform, few adults are truly ready to figure out how a language works by just jumping through idiomatic phrases without knowing any vocabulary or grammar, like babies.

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