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shared3's avatar

Has anyone used Fluenz to learn a new language?

Asked by shared3 (921points) April 3rd, 2010

I was originally looking at RosettaStone, but I came across Fluenz and it appeals to me much more because it looks like it teaches grammar much better and the company spends a lot more time on each language lesson than RosettaStone’s mass-production method.

Anyone here have experience with it? It seems like it’s really new, and I can’t find that many reviews for it.

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2 Answers

the100thmonkey's avatar

I haven’t used it, but as a language teacher, I can hopefully offer a few insights.

I watched the video explaining the approach they employ. Fluenz seems to employ a mix of Grammar Translation Method and Audiolingualism. Both have been demonstrated to work, to a certain extent, but I find the claims about the “personal touch” somewhat overstated – the program itself provides no feedback on learner performance, which is a critical part of the learning process. Instead, you are placed in the driving seat, as it were – there’s a very clever feature that lets you compare your performance with the pre-recorded speaker’s.

Be under no illusions: this is just as mass-reproduced as Rosetta Stone. However, it does allow you better opportunity to assess your own performance with direct comparison to a fair copy recording than Pimsleur’s method. On the other hand, you could do the same with a cheap voice recorder and Rosetta Stone, from what I can see, a;though it would be a lot more laborious – past the point of interfering with the ‘lesson’.

My suspicion is that it won’t help develop real communicative competence better than the RS series, as it doesn’t have what a real (or very well set up artificial) communicative interlude does – the potential to be thrown a curve ball: what do you do when someone says something you’re not expecting? However, it does seem to build on well-established ways of developing the four skills of speaking, listening, writing and reading at beginner level – something that Pimsleur doesn’t do as well, I feel, particularly with regards to the written language.

In short, I think it probably is better than Rosetta Stone, but also that it doesn’t really overcome the problems of learning without a teacher and other people to communicate with.

shared3's avatar

@the100thmonkey Thanks for another great answer!

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