FLP8: Interview with Michael Campbell, CEO of Glossika - Learn Languages by Building Muscle Memory with Sound Patterns

Photo by: Glossika

Michael Campbell is a polyglot linguist, Chinese dialectologist, phonologist and the CEO of Glossika

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Who is Michael Campbell?

Michael Campbell is an accomplished linguist, phonologist, Chinese dialectologist, polyglot and CEO of Glossika.

He is extremely passionate about languages and language learning and has spent the better part of his life figuring out better and better ways to learn languages effectively.

It’s difficult to put a finger on just how many languages Michael speaks, but he is quite familiar with and able to hold his own in dozens!

Michael’s story with languages

In the beginning of the podcast, we get a brief history of Michael's passion for language and how, over the period of a decade, he personally helped thousands of people overcome their language learning hurdles.

This process led to an analysis of what issues in language learning needed to be addressed while helping people overcome language learning hurdles, which in turn led to the formation of Glossika.

What is Glossika?

Glossika has earned a solid reputation as a highly-respected name in language learning.

This system has become popular with polyglots as well as first-time language learners, schools and universities.

Glossika is, to put it simply, unlike anything else that exists for learning languages.

In this podcast, you will discover how and why!

How does Glossika work?

Based on an astounding amount of linguistic knowledge and data, Glossika helps you build muscle memory through exposure to sound patterns. Listening to and repeating the thousands of phrases included in the courses, you quickly become accustomed to the sounds and common patterns of your target language while building the necessary muscle memory needed to recall the information by repeatedly speaking it out loud.

The result is faster learning and better retention of the material.

Grammar patterns are prevalent throughout all languages and, once you are familiar with the common patterns presented in the Glossika courses, you'll quickly become comfortable communicating in a wide variety of situations.

(My full reviews of Glossika for each language available are coming soon! Subscribe to the Free Language Letter to be the first to hear about them when they’re out!)

Not your everyday spaced repetition - increasing and decreasing intervals

Spaced repetition is a learning technique that uses increasing intervals of time between reviewing already learned material. Basically, if you know something then you will review it less and less.

A lot of spaced repetition systems are focused on this concept of an increasing interval alone.

Glossika does offer traditional increasing interval spaced repetition. Additionally, through his endless experimentation with language learning, Michael got incredible results using quite the opposite concept: decreasing intervals. This involves covering material you are familiar with more and more during a period so you are certain that it will sink deep into your memory.

As a result, Glossika arranges the language data in a learning program that gives you the advantage of both increasing and decreasing intervals.

By breaking down a sentence into parts then piecing the sentence back together, you are able to retain more information than you would just working with the whole sentence alone.

Sleep your way to fluency?!

The brain, at the end of every day, goes through a process of assimilation of all the information you've come across that day. This happens during a specific stage of sleep in which dreams are most prevalent, REM.

Chocked full of information after a long day, the brain has to get rid of lots of excess junk in order to make sense of everything it has absorbed during the day.

By separating your Glossika practice sessions with sleep, you are actually building long-term potentiation (LTP) which turns into long-term memory which ultimately leads to the acquisition of a long-term ability, that of speaking a new language.

Building patterns of sound sequences

With Glossika, you focus day after day on high-frequency sound sequences which become ingrained in your memory and can be extrapolated as set patterns you can use to create any number of other sentences simply by replacing verbs, nouns, etc.

Learn a language in only twenty minutes a day?!

When you sit down to learn something, studies have shown that there is a golden window in which you can stay focused and retain information which lasts about twenty minutes.

The Glossika system allows you to organize your learning sessions to cater to any amount of time you have on a given day.

Those interested in learning steadily and with little extra time can do so in as little as twenty minutes per day and take advantage of that golden learning window while it’s wide open.

Those who want to learn as fast as possible can listen as much as they have time to do so.

The hardest language in the world?

Michael makes an interesting point that the most difficult language for anyone to learn is the first foreign language they attempt. This first language is the most difficult one and, subsequently, the more languages you learn, the easier it gets to learn languages.

According to Michael, it is important and even okay to fail your first foreign language!

As you continue learning languages, the process will get easier and easier and you’ll have a much better time

Stay aware!

Michael asserts that awareness is the number one key to learning foreign languages.

Being aware, that is to say, paying attention to what is happening in a language, is the single most important thing you can do. It trumps memorizing grammar systems, conjugations, declinations, gender, etc and so on, because by staying aware and present, you pick up on patterns quickly.

Familiarity with those patterns is what leads to fluency.

This is something the Glossika system accelerates at: presenting sound patterns in the proper order and with the appropriate amount of frequency to allow the aware language learner to quickly and effectively commit those unique structures to memory.

Learn languages as they are spoken

If you focus on learning a language the way it is spoken and not on the way it is written, you have a much better chance to break through to fluency.

Pronunciation options

Glossika publishes all their learning materials with IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) transcriptions.

It is also a great idea to check your pronunciation against the Glossika recordings to see how you are progressing. You can do this by recording your voice and comparing it to the recordings performed by a native speaker.

How Michael would approach learning a new language

In the podcast, Michael gives an overview of some of the first things he’d look into when approaching the task of learning a new language.

Such questions as: Does the verb have conjugation and is it different for each person or for the past? Are there compound verbs?

Do nouns come before or after the adjective? How do nouns and verbs agree? How do nouns and adjectives agree?

Doing this first builds an awareness of the structure of the language.

Ask yourself: Do I recognize which words are what part of speech? For example, can I spot which word is the verb, which is the noun, the pronoun, the adjective, etc?

It's best to have fun

Another key is to make language learning fun. If the experience is enjoyable, the likelihood that you’ll continue is far greater.

Small on grammar, big on sound patterns

Glossika doesn’t tell you anything about the grammar other than a small intro at the beginning of the text. Instead, it allows you to jump straight into the language and start progressing with the sound patterns and becoming familiar with the spoken language itself as quickly as possible.

What to do first when you receive your Glossika course

When you first get your Glossika course, Michael recommends listening to it all once through first in order to expose yourself to the sounds and patterns.

All three thousand sentences should take about three hours.

Sit down and listen through all at once, not with the intent to retain all the information but rather to expose yourself to the sounds and patterns of the language.

When you then go back and cover the materials, repeating lessons until you recall the material well, you will already have given your brain and ears the chance to become familiar with these sounds and patterns.

As you go through the lessons, even this tiny bit of exposure will prove quite helpful.

Michael is excited about languages!

His excitement is infectious, I was totally amped after the interview and his excitement and love for languages comes through strongly in the Glossika materials.

During the podcast, he mentions some of the languages he is most excited about - have a listen!

Get Glossika today!

Below is a list of the languages that are currently available, including many minority languages for which it is usually difficult to find quality learning materials readily.

Arabic (Standard), Armenian, Belarusian, Catalan, Cantonese, Chinese (Mandarin, China), Chinese (Mandarin, Taiwan), Chinese (Taiwanese, Hokkien), Chinese (Wenzhounese), Czech, Dutch, Egyptian Arabic, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mongolian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), Swahili, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese (Northern)

More than just language learning, Glossika is a massive linguistic resource

By documenting the sentence structures of so many languages, Glossika has not only created an amazing learning resource, they’ve also built an incredible body of linguistic knowledge.

Glossika structures these key sentences in an order that makes learning languages accessible, but the data itself is vast and can be used for any number of reasons such as linguistic research.

Episode links

Glossika Website
Glossika on Facebook
Glossika on Instagram
Glossika on Twitter

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