While we provide guidance on what tasks you can complete daily on the app home screen, if you’re looking for additional pointers on what to do on a day-by-day basis, you’ve come to the right place!
If you’re an Intermediate/Advanced student, skim through this Beginner guide, knowing that you may be jumping past pronunciation and perhaps even past simple words. If you’re a beginner, here’s what your first few weeks will look like:
Get oriented & start learning
On your first day, we mostly just want you to get oriented within the app. You’re going to log in, and then answer some simple questions about your current level in your target language (TL) and how comfy you are with your TL’s pronunciation system.
The Fluent Forever app will show you 2 main sections:
- Today’s Guided Learning: Here you will find daily suggestions of what to do next.
- Self-Guided Learning: In this section, you will find all the app’s features in the following order:
- Practice with a Review Session: Here’s where you review your flashcards. This will push your language into your long-term memory.
- How to Learn More Effectively: Here you will find videos about how the app works and how best to use it.
- Pronunciation: Here you can find pronunciation and spelling lessons.
- Words: Here you will find pre-made word sets to create flashcards with, and you’ll also be able to search for words to create fully customized flashcards.
- Grammar: Here you will find pre-made sentence sets to create flashcards with, and you can also search for sentences to make customized flashcards.
Every day, you’ll want to alternate between building flashcards and reviewing those flashcards in the Practice with a Review Session section.
Let’s head over to the Pronunciation section. If you said you were a beginner in your TL, you will see the list of all available pronunciation lessons. For today, we’ll start with Lesson 1.
- At the top of this section, there’s going to be a video to watch. On your first day, that’s an intro video – watch it.
- Tap on Ear Training 1 and listen to 2 words. Replay the recordings until you can just barely hear the differences between those words. Hit Test yourself on the difference to practice the sounds you have just heard. Then listen to the next pair of words. Do this until your Ear Training is complete.
- You can then watch the rest of the videos in Lesson 1 to complete it and unlock Lesson 2.
Now head over to the Practice with a Review Session section.
- Tap the Review Flashcards button.
- You’ll see a flashcard. Answer the question out loud or in your head (feel free to guess if you don’t know), then tap to reveal the answer. If you got it right, swipe right; if not, swipe left. Throughout this process, when you hear a recording, repeat it out loud if you can. That will help ingrain the words. If you’re on public transport, it will convince folks around you that you’re slightly crazy and they’ll give you extra seating room. Repeat until you’re done with all the flashcards in this set.
- Nice job! You’re done for today!
- (Optional) If you have extra time, tap Review Next Flashcards on the Nice job! screen to keep doing review cycles until you have 0 cards left to study.
- (Optional) If you have a bunch of extra time, head over to the Pronunciation section, where you will find all the pronunciation lessons available. Do as many as you like!
Keep at it
At first, just keep focusing on pronunciation, following the steps we laid out for Day 1. Whenever you have extra time, follow the optional steps. If you’re ever not sure what to do next, go to the Today’s Guided Learning section. We’ll bounce you to the Pronunciation or the Practice with a Review Session section, as is appropriate for where you’re at.
Add simple words to the mix
If you’re a beginner, then your top priority should be getting through all those pronunciation lessons. But by Day 8ish, your ears are going to start feeling accustomed to your new language’s sounds, and you’re likely ready to throw in a few simple vocab flashcards. This will add some extra variety to your reviews (more fun = more retention), and it will also get you familiar with more of our app.
So today, we’ll mix things up a bit.
Self-Guided Learning section:
- Start with Pronunciation, as normal. Do a Lesson (if you still have some left).
- Now tap the Words section. You’ll see sets, each containing a list of several words.
a. If you see a word that you know, swipe it and tap Know It.
b. If you see a word that you don’t care to know, swipe it and tap Skip it.
c. If you see a word that you’d like to learn, tap on it!
- Pick 1–4 images for your word. Tap on the + if you’d like to perform a custom search. Then hit Add Image(s).
- On the Preview screen, you can tap on the top left card to preview the cards you’re about to create. This section will get more elaborate when you’re learning grammar. Tap on Add Cards to Deck to add them.
- Repeat a few more times. Once you get rid of all words, you will move on to the next set, so you can keep doing this for a loooong time. But for today, just try a few of them.
Practice with a Review Session section:
No changes. Do your reviews as normal!
Keep at it
Keep up with your pronunciation lessons until you’re all done with them. That’ll happen sometime between Day 9 (if you’re learning one of the simpler sound systems, and you’ve been religiously doing 4 pronunciation lessons every day) and Day 45 (if you’re learning one of the more complex languages and/or just doing 0–2 pronunciation lessons per day).
When you don’t have a lot of time, just do a review session, and a pronunciation lesson or two.
When you have extra time, here are your priorities:
- Take care of extra review sessions. These are going to provide the most value for your time.
- Do extra pronunciation lessons. These will push you through pronunciation faster, but they’ll also give you extra review sessions to do.
- Learn some basic vocabulary.
Finish pronunciation and try out grammar
As mentioned above, you’ll be finishing up with your pronunciation lessons at some point during Day 9–45. For the purposes of this guide, let’s say that happens on Day 22. Once you’re done with Pronunciation, your main focus will be on Basic Vocabulary. Learn a couple of sets per day (around 10 words). If you have extra time, learn an extra set or two.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, then let’s try out the Grammar section:
- You’ll see a list of sets, similar to the Words section. You can swipe on any word if you Know It or want to Skip It. Tap on a word you’d like to learn.
- Now you’ll see some example sentences with various difficulty levels. Choose the sentence you’d like to learn. If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably want to stick to the easy sentences for now.
- Choose 1–4 pictures for your word. If you tap on the + button, you’ll find a much more sophisticated image search engine that allows you to search for any combination of words from your sentence with just a few taps. Or, you can search for word combinations from the English translation of your sentence. If your chosen word is abstract (e.g. “by” in “My homework was eaten by my dog”), then choose pictures that fit the story in the sentence (e.g. a guilty dog or a chewed notebook).
- On the Preview screen, you have three types of flashcards you can create. You can preview what they look like by enabling them and then tapping on them at the top of the screen. Make whichever ones you think will be interesting to you. I’d suggest the following:
Always do Word Order. Only do this if the word you’re learning is in a surprising place in the sentence (e.g. “Norbert es un perro lindo,” or “Norbert is a dog cute”)
- Dictionary Form:
This teaches you when a word (e.g. “teaches”) is different from its dictionary form (e.g. “to teach”). Skip it whenever the dictionary form feels obvious to you.
- Once you’ve made your first flashcards, you’ll have the option of learning more words from the sentence. Say yes. Then swipe on words from the sentence to mark them as known, tap on ones you’d like to learn, and make more flashcards until you’ve really consumed all the meaty bits from the sentence.
- Tap on I’m done with this sentence and do a review session.
Day 23 and onward
Keep at it!
At this point, you’ve tried out all the basic tools in the app. If you haven’t finished pronunciation yet, finish that first. Then, you’ll have to choose between whether to focus on Basic Vocabulary or Grammar. We recommend moving to Grammar and staying there as soon as it feels comfortable. For some folks, that may be immediate, and for others, that may take several weeks of working on simple words. This isn’t a race, so choose the path that feels most comfortable for you. That said, do move on to Grammar at some point, because it links all your words together and brings life into your language.
Where do the tutors come in?
There’s a phenomenon Gabe discusses in his book relating to personal connections. The short explanation of that phenomenon is this:
MY DOG’S NAME IS NORBERT ← This sentence is great for learning words like “dog” and “name,” and even abstract stuff like “is” and “my.”
MY DOG’S NAME IS [Your dog’s actual name] ← You can memorize information from this sentence 50–100% faster than the first sentence, and you’ll retain it for 50–100% longer.
In the Grammar section of the app, you’re choosing from our pre-made example sentences. Those sentences are as high quality as we can make them, but they can never be as good as a sentence that relates directly to you. So, if you’re going to use a tutor, you could spend that time chatting about random stuff, and that’s always a great use of your time. But a much more efficient use of your tutoring time is to have your tutor help you create personalized example sentences for the words you’d like to learn (i.e., “My dog’s name is [your dog’s actual name].”)
We have been working on our Coaching tool for a long time and it’s finally ready. Our users can now make their own example sentences and collaborate on those sentences with a tutor. If you have lots of extra time, try out chatting with one of our tutors and see if you can find someone who’s a good fit for you. Chatting with native speakers is always a good use of your time, particularly when you actually like your tutor. Then, before you know it, you’ll already have a native speaker friend that you know well, and you’ll be able to maximize the efficiency of each tutoring session.
We currently have the following languages available for Coaching: German, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, Korean, Dutch (pre-registration), Portuguese, and English.