This article will talk about some behind-the-scenes stuff and will also introduce a few secondary features you might eventually interact with:

  • The "Memory" tab

  • The "Topics" tab

  • Skill trees


All of the sentences in Glossika go through two tagging processes.

  • One set of tags is semantic in nature. These tags concern the ideas expressed in a given sentence, and they help us to categorize our sentences into topics.

  • The other set of tags is syntactic in nature. These tags specify the function of each word within a sentence, and they are partly responsible for the order in which sentences within a given level are presented to you.

Some of your interactions with Glossika will be affected by these tags.

We'll introduce the two main systems governed by those tags (topics and skills). While we're talking about behind-the-scenes stuff, we'll also look into one system that visualizes the spaced repetition algorithms we mentioned in the third article.

The "Memory" tab

Click on the "Memory" tab located in the upper-mid region of your screen to access your Memory page.

From here, you can interact with the sentences you have already learned in a few ways:

  • Memory Strength — how confident Glossika is that you remember a particular sentence. This is one of the factors our system uses to schedule sentences for later review.

  • Native — click the blue audio icon to hear the native speaker's recording of any sentence.

  • Recordings — click the orange audio icon to hear recordings you have made of a sentence. While you're here, compare your recording with the natives! How well do they match? Is there anything you can do better next time?

  • Triple-dot icon — add a sentence to your favorite list, mark a sentence as easy to remove from your future reviews, or report a sentence.


The "Topics" Tab

Click on the "Topics" tab located in the upper-mid region of your screen to access your Topics page.

The Topics page is where you control what sort of sentences you see in Glossika, but you have to be careful with it. Unchecking topics means that Glossika has a smaller pool of sentences to assign you, which in turn means that your difficulty curve will be steeper and that you will run out of content more quickly.

To be safe, for the time being, we recommend seeing the topics list as a place to indicate that you definitely don't want to see certain types of sentences. If you're very squeamish, for example, you might understandably wish to disable the surgery topic. Go ahead and disable it.

While you might think about disabling topics like electrical engineering or military administration because you're a beginner and that's not what you need right now — don't. We know beginners don't need these topics. You won't begin seeing them until the ~B2-high level, at which point you'll be confident enough in the language that some of the more common electrical and military terms might actually be useful to you (because they'll occasionally show up in the content you're consuming).

(Note: Topics are exclusive in nature. If a given sentence has topics A B and C, but you previously disabled topic B, you would not be given this particular sentence because it contains topic B — even though you might have enabled topics A and C. This is why we recommend leaving as many topics enabled as possible.)


Skill trees

At the bottom of your dashboard, you'll notice a shelf entitled "My Skills".

Glossika contains 12 levels (from A1-low to C2-high), and as you move through each level, you'll progress through 14 skills in each one: stative verbs, existential verbs, direction, causative verbs, action verbs, amounts and quantities, negatives, complex verbs, timed action skills, valency, complex causative verbs, complex time, evidentiality, and reasoning.

Each time you graduate to a new level in Glossika, the system will give you sentences of your new level which are very simple: they are either a subject plus a stative verb or a subject plus a copula and an adjective. For example, these bags are heavy. In addition to letting us control the complexity of sentences, this approach will help your brain to tease out the patterns behind certain types of sentences. You might not recognize the "formula" right away, but after you've seen several dozen variations on essentially the same sentence structure, you'll get a feel for the underlying logic and begin being capable of generating your own sentences.

As you progress through a level — say, you make progress through A2-high — you'll unlock more skills. This means that you'll see both a wider variety of sentences and also that you'll see longer / more complex sentences. In more practical terms, here are examples of the sorts of sentences you might see as you move from the very beginning of a level toward the very end of a level.

  • This is soda.

  • He's drinking soda.

  • My friend is drinking a glass of cold soda.

  • My dad is drinking the bottle of soda that I bought yesterday.

  • My brother gleefully informed me that our father drank the bottle of soda I bought with my allowance yesterday.

This also means that you might feel a bit of whiplash when you move up a level. The sentences in B1-low will be much simpler than the sentences in A2-high, and you might even feel that they're actually easier than the sentences from A2-high. The main differences are that the sentences will use a wider variety of vocabulary and that they may include new grammar points. (For example, in A1-low you won't see any sentences in the past tense.)

For a full explanation of Glossika's skills section, see this video (10min).

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