What is Language Corpus?
Language Corpus helps intermediate-to-advanced language learners significantly improve their ability to understand spoken language, which has a direct impact on speaking ability as well. Through crowdsourcing audio recordings, we plan to have many thousands of recordings in each of many hundreds of languages, while our Recommendation Engine guides each user through suggested recordings based on their level.
What approach does Language Corpus take?
Language Corpus is built on the principle that significant exposure to comprehensible input should be primary to language acquisition. This is how all of us learned our first language, and it is the key to effectively learning a second language.
Who is this for?
Language Corpus is for intermediate-to-advanced language learners studying one of the languages we offer. Over time we plan to offer many, many different languages, but for now we have recordings in English, Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese.
How do I use Language Corpus?
Once you are signed up and logged in, you will be taken to your "language" page. From there you will see a list of recommended recordings based on your past responses, as well as other recordings to choose from.
After you have listened to a recording you'll be asked to rate how well you understood it. This helps the Recommendation Engine know what to recommmend next, and it also allows you to track your progress regarding how many recordings you have mastered. Read more
You'll see a transcript of the recording and translations into many languages. (As users sign up with various first languages, we'll work on providing translations into those languages as well.)
You'll also see a list of vocabulary words with translations and will be able to mark off the ones you know, so they won't show up on future lists. This way the Recommendation Engine will better know what to recommend next.
The main idea is that you "work through" many recordings, at first understanding most of what is said in them, but mastering them over time by using the transcript, translation, and vocabulary list as you listen.
And as you master more and more recordings spoken by many people on various topics, not just your comprehension but also your speaking ability in the language will significantly improve.
This process, along with establishing relationships with people who speak the language you are learning, is the key to successful language acquisition.
What is wrong with traditional language programs?
It depends on your goals.
If your goal is to be exposed to the language and learn some vocabulary and how to say basic expressions, there are many language learning programs to choose from.
However, way too many classroom and individual learners come away not being able to understand "real" spoken language. In 2015, The Atlantic Monthly reported that “less than 1 percent of American adults today are proficient in a foreign language that they studied in a U.S. classroom,” and quoted an expert saying, “It isn’t that people don’t think language education important. It’s that they don’t think it’s possible.” Read more
In today’s world many solutions are available which take a beginner from “knowing nothing” to "knowing a little." However, there is a huge gap between the materials used in many beginning language programs and "real world" language geared toward native language speakers. As a result, many learners never cross that chasm without spending significant time in a country where the language is spoken, and even then their typical speed of progress is far from optimal.
In particular, language learners most struggle with understanding every day spoken language. Often when reading they can go at their own pace and have a dictionary at hand, and when speaking they can limit what they say to things they know. But when spoken to, or in an environment where the language is being spoken, often the typical language learner is at a total loss despite years of study – for example, Reid’s five years of French in junior and senior high!
Is Language Corpus all that I need to become fluent?
Language Corpus is designed to significanly improve your comprehension, but will only have a strong but secondary effect on your speaking ability. To become a better speaker of the language, in addition to using Language Corpus, you'll want to find opportunities to speak the language in conversation and develop relationships with people who speak the language. Formal, systematic grammar study can also be helpful for many adult learners.
Why is this not free?
We want Language Corpus to be around for the long term. Charging a modest subscription fee of $9.95/month for all recordings in all languages will allow us to cover our server costs and continue providing this service. In addition, we'll use a portion of the funds to obtain additional recordings and transcript/translation editing. Our goal is to have thousands of audio recordings in the language you are learning by speakers from all walks of life talking about many different topics.
In short, we'll do everthing we can to make sure $9.95/month is a great value for you.
As a side note, we are making Language Corpus free for learners of English, and as part of that will encourage them to contribute to the community by recording in their languages and editing for us as part of our crowdsourcing efforts.
Crowdsourcing? How can I get involved?
We'd love for many, many people to take a few minutes and record themselves in their first language talking about one or more of our topics. You can do this directly on our "Share Your Language" page.
Note that you can record on our "Share Your Language" page even if you don't have a Language Corpus account.
In addition, we are working on building a community of editors in various languages who can edit our first-draft transcripts and translations. Please contact us if you are interested in joining this team and be sure to let us know which language(s) you're able to work with.
Can I use Language Corpus on my smart phone?
Yes, everything on our site is mobile-friendly and should work on any phone using a modern web browser.
Can I cancel my subscription?
You can cancel your subscription at any time from the Dashboard when you are logged in. Once your subscription has been cancelled, you will not be charged the following month. You will continue to have access to your account until your subscription expires at the end of the current month.