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Day 8: Learn French for 14 days

Kristel, 28, has taken on the challenge of being an active beta tester of Lingvist and will learn French for 14 days to see what it’s like to use an adaptive algorithm for language learning. Check out her previous post from Day 5.

Over a week has passed since I started the experiment with Lingvist. I must admit that in a week of studies, I have probably learned close to what I did in a semester at university. 

Learned words: 702 Total study time: 7 hours 59 minutes

Reading the texts provided on Lingvist tends to reassure me that I can actually understand quite a bit. The tricky part continues to be the listening. I’ve been forcing myself to listen to some dialogs every day, but they’re still hard to follow. I keep wishing the speakers would slow down a bit. I’m sure it is attentional to make it sound like real life. But at this point I don’t really care about real life. I need some time to readjust and start making sense of the pronunciation. 

About the vocabulary in the ‘Memorize’ section… I like that for the last few days the program has also been reminding me the words I learned a while back. It’s also useful that the same words have started to pop up in different sentences. So one won’t just memorize one kind of sentences but start following the language on a more wholesome level.

I keep mixing up the words that seem to mean basically the same thing (e.g. donc/alors or chaque/meme/egalement/tous/toutes) but in different sentences the program only accepts one option (probably because it’s the only one that’s correct, but I can’t always figure out why). The verb tenses are also still confusing. And whenever I think that I know the word but make a small mistake in the spelling, I find myself getting irritated ‘cause I feel like I deserve at least a ‘half a point’ for remembering the important part. 

My suggestions to improve the Beta version:

The Lingvist team has told me that since I didn’t start with the listening exercises from the start (my mistake!), the program keeps reassigning me harder exercises because my vocabulary is quite advanced. Still - it would be nice if I could ‘go back’ to the more simple exercises when I feel like I need more time. Or use a ‘slow down’ button. Also at times I wish there was a full translation provided of the dialogs.

Lingvist replies:

Glad to hear that about 8 hours of study time (4 language classes worth) has proved to be useful so far. Lingvist will accept synonyms in the future. It’s something a lot of users have been requesting, and obviously - it’s a crucial part of speaking any language.

One way of getting back to easier texts and listening exercises is to use the Filter - only select “easy” from the left hand submenu. This will limit the number of words in the exercises to around 500. We have French writers working with us, composing original texts especially for Lingvist . So if you have any suggestions (topics, types of texts) that you’d like us to add - drop us a line.