You can find countless language product reviews online, many written by marketers without specific language expertise wanting to make a quick buck.
As a linguist, polyglot, and founder of Effortless Conversations, I decided to do things differently.
I’ve written a book on language teaching methodology and created over 15 different language courses for various companies, taken by 5000+ students. I’ve also consulted some of the biggest language learning apps on their teaching methodology.
Based on that expertise, my team and I have created a rigorous review language product review process.
That way, you can be sure that the product you’re considering will get you fluent.
Here’s how the review process works.
1. The foundation of our review process: Conversation Based Chunking™
The whole Effortless Conversations website is built around the linguistic concept of Conversation Based Chunking™ to learn languages.
You can read a complete overview of the methodology in this post (or in my book), but here’s the 2-sentence rundown:
When you speak a language fluently (like your mother tongue or any other language you’ve learned), you don’t have words and grammar rules in your head. Instead, you have fixed word combinations in your head, frequently recurring phrases and patterns that you say and hear over and over again. (Think “By the way,” “How’s it going,” “I am, ”I don’t,“ ”Happy birthday,”…). That’s why you never have to think about grammar to speak.
Consequently, the fastest way to learn a foreign language is by observing native speakers when they speak, identifying the recurring chunks they use, memorizing them, and using them yourself when speaking or writing. If you get enough exposure, after a while, you’ll have so many chunks in your head that you, too, will speak the language without thinking about grammar.
Some grammar instructions can still be helpful, but the primary language learning process is absorbing chunks. There’s ample scientific proof showing that this is how the brain learns and even that it can cut the time to learn a foreign language in half compared to traditional “words and grammar” teaching.
2. The Conversation Based Chunking™ Stamp of Approval
With this in mind, our review process is easy. Everything boils down to the following question:
“Does this course, app, or resource provide ”sufficient raw material“ to identify useful chunks (i.e., conversations between native speakers), and does it help you memorize them (e.g., through a flashcard app) and put them into practice (e.g., through speaking practice)?”
If this essential requirement isn’t fulfilled -although many other features of the platform are outstanding -, we won’t recommend the product. If it does provide the materials necessary to learn chunks, it has the potential to get you fluent fast, and it gets our Conversation Based Chunking™ stamp of approval.
It’s as simple as that.
3. Other factors we take into account
But that’s not the only hallmark of a good language product. Here are some other variables we look at:
- User Experience: Is the product easy to use, or are you instantly overwhelmed? Can you learn on different devices (or even use the product offline?)
- Value for money: Do you get good value for money? You can use free apps and courses that cost hundreds of dollars – and as usual, free isn’t always better. Courses that come with tutoring or a Q&A community will be more expensive than a relatively simple self-study app, so we take that into account in our review.
4. Our “Linguist Code of Ethics”
For some (but not all) of the products we review, we earn a small commission when you sign up. This comes at no extra cost to you (on the contrary: if we like the product, we always try to negotiate a special deal for you), and it helps support our work.
We write these reviews as linguists and language learners; if we don’t like something or a product doesn’t work with Conversation Based Chunking™ (meaning it won’t help you get fluent fast), we’ll also mention that clearly, so you always get a balanced review.
Effortless Conversations takes pride in providing well-researched, reliable, and unbiased language product reviews, based on the Conversation Based Chunking™ methodology. Our team’s extensive experience in language teaching and learning, combined with our Linguist Code of Ethics, ensures that the reviews you read on our website come from a place of genuine expertise and care for your language learning success. We understand that finding the right language learning resources can be overwhelming, and we’re here to make that process easier and more effective for you.
Ready to make an informed decision about your next language learning journey? Read our in-depth reviews here:
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