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Day 14: French experiment done!

Kristel, 28, took on the challenge of being a public test user and studied French for 14 days on Lingvist. Here’s her final report and her answers to our questions.

Ladies and gents, I am glad to have been the guinea pig to prove it - you really can learn more than 1000 words in 14 days!

Learned words: 1001 Total study time: 13 hours 55 mins

Graph

Kristel’s learning curve: New words learned (blue) and tests per day (green + blue).

What kind of words did you learn on Lingvist?

“The vocabulary was very diverse and included pretty much all of the possible types of words: nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, etc. It seemed that in general the words were carefully selected by Lingvist according to which words are actually used the most in real life. The main difficulty for me were verb tenses, long words and words that seemed to have very similar meanings. But what came as a surprise to me was the fact that after about 10 days, I started to guess the meanings of words and different possible grammar tenses rather intuitively. So there must be a smart formula or some sort of witchcraft behind Lingvist’s learning method.”

What skill did you improve most during your studies? 

“I found that what improved the most was my understanding of written language. The listening exercises were never my favorite (for various reasons, also explained in my previous posts) and the program does not have any oral exercises (so I wouldn’t want to try out my 1001 words in conversation just yet. But Lingvist sent me some online articles, book chapters and songs from the real world to try out after I finished my 14-day-trial and I was truly amazed that I could really make sense of them. OK, by simply listening to the song, it is still a bit difficult to catch the meaning of the lyrics at first, but after a couple of replays and seeing the lyrics - it is not really that hard at all! (As long as we are talking about simple pop-music not opera librettos :-))”

Some real-world exam materials Lingvist sent me:

Magazine articles (because of the use of casual & contemporary vocabulary)

A famous French book, “Le Petit Prince”

Some music (slow and with good pronunciation by the artist)

Lyrics

Lyrics

Were there times when you felt you progressed faster/slower or was the learning experience linear?

“The learning experience was not linear at all. I started with flying colors and the scores of new words acquired in the first days were much more impressive than at the end of my trial. I also noticed that when I skipped a day, I forgot more and the score results were not that good after taking a break. Guess it makes sense. With any language learning method, the key to success is still regular studies, revision and practice.”

What would you recommend to other people using Lingvist to study a new language?

“In order to see fast progress in just 14 days, I completed 300 cards instead of the default 150 cards per day. There were times I wished I had to do less (so it would take an average of 30 minutes instead of an hour every day). Having said that, those who want to learn quickly should stick to a similar goal to mine, because you start each day by revising the old words from previous sessions, and only then are able progress to new ones. The difference is not that huge when you first start with the program (because pretty much all words are new words then), but when you cross that magical 10-day-line, you really need more time every day simply to revise.”

What did you enjoy most? Enjoy least?

“I enjoyed the Memorize word cards. As I have said before, the system behind this central learning method is very rewarding and can get you “hooked” quite easy. I would strongly recommend to try to work out similar approaches for the Reading and Listening sections as well.”

Will you keep studying? Why?

“I definitely will! After a short break from the holiday madness. I think Lingvist is indeed a great tool for those who wish to improve their language skills on their own terms and around their tight schedules.  Thank you for the chance to test it out! I believe many people will find it a clever and highly useful language-learning tool that is well suited for the 21st century digital nomads.”

Check out previous posts on this experiment our blog, starting with Day 1. We look forward to your feedback, too, via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or on Lingvist itself (use the feedback button).