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Why Fluently Now?

How to best learn a second language

I studied English as a second language the classical way. I learnt it in school, with private tutors, went to university and studied English there. I then worked as a teacher. I had to also study Russian in school but never liked it and thus never learned it. However, I would have liked to study French. So I studied it a bit with a private tutor. Didn’t go too far though.

And then, as an adult, I decided to learn French. I’ve tried different things I found on the Internet. One of the most useful I found was Memrise. It helped me expand my vocabulary a lot but Memrise doesn’t offer a way to study and practice language in larger contexts. So I decided to build an app. FluentlyNow is the product of this desire - to find a better way to learn the language on my own.

One of the things I encountered while searching for tools on the Internet was a site where the author claimed you can become fluent in 3 months. It sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a try. Basically, the idea was to practice for 20-30 minutes every day. And, just like with Memrise to keep repeating the same thing over and over until you reach a level of fluency that can compare with real language.

I tried a site with audio lessons. I came up with the idea that listening to the same piece for 30 times would do the trick. So I did that. I could see that my fluency improved when I tried to reproduce the thing I’ve been listening to for 30 times. However, the downside was that it was really boring. Listening to the same thing for 30 times can improve your fluency but it was challenging to keep my focus when listening to the same thing over and over.

And then, I thought if you could actively listen to the same piece over and over but not passively but do something with the text in an active way would be more fun.

So with FluentlyNow, I can choose a text I like. I can choose something that I am willing to listen to for 30 times. And not just listen but actively deconstruct and reconstruct the text while working on it for 30 times.

I chose to listen to positive affirmations. They have an easy, repetitive structure. It’s not very uniform though. The structures alternate between sentences starting with ‘I am’ and other types of structures. It makes sense to listen to the same piece again and again because it’s a type of mediation and meditation would work if you practice it regularly.

With the type of texts that are used in such a type of meditation, you can easily learn simple structures and a few that are more complex. I then moved to other sources, like guided meditations. There was a different pattern - not so much ‘I am’ sentences - for French. As these were more polite they had a lot of structures with the second person plural - You are.

I’m still learning but I think I’ve found a way that I like to use to practise a second language.

I feel like I’m doing 2 things at once - meditating and learning a foreign language. I like to be able to choose my own texts and not follow a sequence provided by someone else.

Why don’t you try it for yourself?