Announcing the Official Beta of the Fluent Forever App!
Update 10/14/2022: This post is about an older version of the Fluent Forever app. A lot has changed since! Visit our products page to download the latest app version, and sign up for our Coaching program to reach fluency with a personal tutor!
It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of the Official Beta of the Fluent Forever app.
While crowdfunding backers have been playing with early versions for a while, this release marks a shift between a preview release that folks can play around with, to a truly useful tool for long-term language study.
The route here
It’s taken us eight years to reach this point. Back in 2010, I was coming up with the first versions of the Fluent Forever Method to help me learn French. That method evolved from year to year, as I began using it for Russian, Hungarian, Spanish, and Japanese, and as I began writing about it and teaching it in workshops to other learners.
In 2013, nine months before my book’s publication, I launched my first Kickstarter to help fund the creation of a line of pronunciation training tools and Word Lists, designed to be used within a flashcard creation platform called Anki.
That Kickstarter led to the birth of the Fluent Forever team, and together, we spent three years developing those products.
Throughout that process, our customers’ feedback was consistent: our products were tremendously effective, but they were also challenging to use. Learners were yearning for a faster, easier way to learn languages – a method that didn’t require a steep learning curve, and didn’t require users to spend hours each week creating flashcards.
As such, we began early plans for a new, streamlined app that automated all of the busywork of the Fluent Forever Method, so that all of a user’s time would be spent learning, rather than figuring out how to install various tools or performing repetitive, boring tasks.
We created our first mockups in early 2017, showed them to users, collected feedback, made new mockups, and continued testing until we saw that we had landed on a product that people would actually enjoy using.
Then, in September, we launched a new Kickstarter that would blow away all historical records for crowdfunding an app. Ultimately, we exceeded the crowdfunding record for an app fivefold, raising more than $1.7m.
13 months later, and we’ve built an amazing team around a friggin’ awesome product.
And today, we get to release that product to you, our users and readers, so that we can hear from you what you need, improve our product further, and develop the best damned language learning platform the world has ever seen.
Core features of the Beta
Here’s what you’ll be able to do with our Beta:
- User guidance:
- Not sure how Fluent Forever works? Our onboarding animations should give you an idea of how the four steps of the method fit in with the app.
- Not sure what to tap? Contextual tool tips will help guide you through the app’s interface.
- Not sure what to do next? Head to the Home tab, and we’ll tell you the next step.
- Languages we support:
- Spanish (Latin American [MX]) – full set of words/sentences
- Spanish (Castilian) – full set of words/sentences
- French – Beta/partial set of words/sentences
- German – Beta/partial set of words/sentences
- Italian – Beta/partial set of words/sentences
- Portuguese (Brazilian) – Beta/partial set of words/sentences
- Pronunciation training
- Videos: Learn the basics of the International Phonetic Alphabet, along with consonants, vowels, word stress patterns, and spelling rules for your target language through a collection of video lessons.
- Basics of spelling: Access a series of customized flashcards to teach you every detail from the video lessons.
- Ear training: Minimal pair testing will rewire your ears to hear the sounds of your target language.
- Simple word training
- Easily build flashcards for 625 high-frequency, easy-to-visualize words. You’ll learn them with images, rather than translations, so that you can rapidly learn how to think in your target language.
- Words are presented in Story Order, a more efficient order for memorization.
- Choose 1–4 images for each flashcard you create. You can select those images from popular images for each word, or use our integrated image search to find anything you can imagine.
- When you review, those flashcards will follow our Spaced Repetition algorithm, to ensure that you’re always reviewing a word at the optimal moment, to help move that word into your long-term memory.
- Grammar training
- Easily browse through 1,875 sentences: 3 example sentences (easy/medium/hard) for every word in our 625-word list. (Non-Spanish languages will have fewer words/sentences at first, though we’ll be rapidly adding content until they’re complete).
- Learn vocabulary, word order and/or dictionary forms for any word in any sentence. You’ll learn these – again – without memorizing translations, by building associations between your target words, the other words in the sentence, and images that you choose yourself.
- Select 1–4 images for every flashcard, using our advanced image search engine that can easily provide custom searches for any word or combination of words in your target sentence, in your target language or in English, with just a couple of taps.
- Automatic flashcard generation – with noun genders(!) – for all words.
- Vocabulary tracking
- Swipe to mark words as ‘Known’ or to skip them.
- Over time, as you mark known words and create flashcards for new words, the app will learn your vocabulary.
- Custom frequency list: Once you’ve passed the initial 625 words, we’ll be showing you the most frequent words in your target language that you haven’t learned yet. By monitoring what you already know, we can determine the most important words for you to learn next. Tap on any word to see example sentences for it and learn them in context.
Video walkthrough of the app
The subscription plans
Upcoming feature highlights
There are way too many features planned to list them all here (we’ve captured 183 of them in our lists, but that’s just a start). That said, here are some highlights of what’s to come:
- Daily goals: We’ll ask you how many minutes you’d like to study per day, and we’ll use that to determine exactly how you should best spend your time.
- Reminders: Easily add custom mnemonic imagery to your flashcards to help you remember abstract concepts like noun gender.
- Explore and Search: Search for example sentences for whatever word you’d like to learn, and browse through new sentences added into our database.
- Edit: Don’t like the images you’ve chosen? No problem; you’ll be able to edit your flashcards on the fly.
- Add Your Own Sentences: Use our web interface to add your own custom content.
- Tutoring interface: Collaborate with a tutor to build your own sentence content.
- Community database: As users add sentences to the app, we’ll have native-speaker staff curate those sentences for inclusion in a huge community database of sentences. That means that there will always be more content to learn on a daily basis, and many high-quality examples of all of the top words in your target language.
- Sentence Q&A: You’ll be able to ask and answer questions about any sentence within our database, and our staff will highlight the best answers within those Q&A threads. In practice, that means you’ll be able to read hundreds of specific discussions about grammar topics within your target language.
- Expansion to the rest of our official languages: Russian, Korean, Dutch, Hebrew, Arabic (Syrian/Levantine), Mandarin, Japanese.
- Expansion to English as a Second Language and localization of the app interface into each of our offered languages (i.e., you can learn English as a French speaker).
Expansion to all languages: We’ll be adding a framework that allows users to learn any language using our platform with the help of a tutor, and to share the sentences they create with all other users studying that same language.
Thank you to all our early backers – we couldn’t have made it this far without you! If you’re new to Fluent Forever and eager to learn the language of your dreams, check out our Beta app and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts and what features you think could make it even better.
Check out this honest Fluent Forever app review with real user testimonials to see how it can speed up your journey to fluency![shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="28313910"]
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