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Glossika Quickstart Guide
Wait… am I just repeating random sentences?
Wait… am I just repeating random sentences?

Nope! Here's what you're accomplishing on Glossika.

Tess Yang avatar
Written by Tess Yang
Updated over a week ago

The short answer is no.

As for the long answer, I have a few of them for you:

Are Glossika's sentences random?


Loosely speaking, our sentences are organized according to (a) their structure and (b) the difficulty of the vocabulary words they contain. This means two things for you:

  1. On a day-to-day basis, you'll be seeing many sentences that are similar in structure. The simplest structure is X (is).

    1. At the beginning of a level, you'll see many sentences like the bags are heavy or she laughs or it is raining.

    2. As you progress through a particular level, that basic structure will get complicated in a variety of ways. You'll see things like it was raining this morning and I hope it doesn't rain today and she said that she wished it hadn't rained at the concert.

  2. Over the next several months, as you progress through our levels, you'll begin encountering sentences that have increasingly difficult vocabulary words. If you start from zero, you'll also see a wider variety of grammar being used. The idea is that, if the learning curve is smooth enough, your brain will be able to figure a lot of things out by itself.

It's admittedly difficult to see this logic on a sentence-to-sentence level, but it'll become apparent over the next couple months and your first several thousand reps.

What is Glossika doing for me?

On the surface, Glossika probably seems to be doing little more than asking you to repeat sentences. After all: you hear a native speaker say a sentence, repeat after them, then review the sentence later on.

It's actually much deeper than that.

You see, the point is not to memorize any particular one of these sentences.

Rather, your goal is to acquire the structure underlying a group of sentences — such as X (is) — so you can independently recycle that structure later on to express new ideas.

In other words:

  • It's great to know a sentence like we'll see a movie at 3:00

  • It's much more useful to “have” the structure <WHO VERB THING AT TIME>

As you build a “mind map” of the structures your target language uses to express ideas, you can begin repurposing those structures to suit the situation at hand. We'll see a movie at 3:00 can quite easily become we ate breakfast at 7:00 or I'll call you tomorrow.

This ability to intuitively recycle (see below image) is your first step towards independently and freely expressing yourself in your target language.

As such, your goal is not to memorize sentences, but to reverse engineer them — to become capable of replicating similar sentences yourself.

Is this just a bunch of rote memorization?


I'd even encourage you to not try to memorize anything.

One of the important things under Glossika's hood is what's known as a spaced repetition algorithm. This is like an insurance policy for your memory. You might also think of it as being like a filter.

  1. We'll ask you to review new sentences more often (daily for the first ~week)

  2. We'll ask you to review old sentences, or sentences you consistently get “correct”, less often — but will eventually nudge you to review them

This ensures that you spend most of your time practicing the stuff you actually need to practice. You'll learn more efficiently and save time.

It also means that you don't need to worry about memorizing anything you see on Glossika. You'll see each sentence 15–20 times over the course of the year, and it'll eventually click — even if it's difficult right now.

Instead, I encourage you to explore the sentences. Give a bit of conscious thought to each one. Do you understand how it works? Why is it organized like it is? Could you replicate it by yourself? What is the verb connected to? Etc.

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