How I learned Spanish, and how FluentKey helps language learners

Globally, more and more people are learning other languages. Perhaps this comes from a more global world. These days, everyone has contact with more people from different backgrounds, culture, and countries. Mostly, this is from globalization and technologies connecting us with more and more people. Language learning apps provide grammar, vocabulary, and sometimes audio and speech practice. Most of the apps and websites, however, do not provide an authentic experience for users. FluentKey is changing that.

Before I talk about some of the unique features of FluentKey, let me give you some background. When I was in the 7th grade (about 13 years old), I started learning Spanish. My class was typical. We had vocab quizzes weekly, grammar lessons in class, produced videos interacting with the language (kinda), and we sometimes watched Spanish videos in class. When we were really lucky, we got to watch soccer games during class (in Spanish, of course). I was good at Spanish, but I wanted to be better. I started attending ESL classes at my church with people from Chiapas, México. Then I realized how bad I actually was at Spanish. I could take tests well and get good grades, but I couldn’t do the main thing: communicate.

My friendship with the students in the class grew, and I became more immersed in their culture, practicing my Spanish every chance I got. The grammar and vocabulary I learned in class were important to developing my Spanish, but my major improvement came from interacting with my new friends and watching as many authentic videos in Spanish as I could. Fast-forward 5 years… I was conversationally fluent. I was in AP Spanish at this point, preparing for the AP exam. I remember going into language labs to practice listening comprehension. We went to a classroom, but on old headsets and listened to an old audio with unauthentic content. Conversations were normally slow and dramatically separated all the words so that listeners could understand better. In short… the resources we had for listening comprehension in class were unauthentic, frustrating, and boring.

When I first learned about the idea, that later became FluentKey, I thought it was great. Instead of listening to old audios in a language lab, students can have authentic listening practice every day as part of homework assignments. The regular practice of listening comprehension with authentic content is an absolute imperative to language learners. Almost everyone who wants to learn a new language wants to learn it so they can communicate with people and understand conversations. If you go to Latin America and all the audio you’ve ever heard is ,“Maria. Va. Al. Supermercado. Para. Comprar. Huevos.”, and then you travel to a place where the people say, “Mariavaalsupermercadoparacomprarhuevos”, you will be very disappointed and frustrated as to why you can’t understand very simple sentences.

 FluentKey has an impressive library with hundreds of videos in different languages. They range in difficulty from just beginning (Novice-low A1) to near fluent (Advanced-high C2). This feature is amazing and can be easily filtered to show a specific language, level, theme, and more! Each video that says “FluentKey Official” or found in the “Featured” section will have a personally reviewed and quality-controlled transcript as well as a comprehension quiz that is appropriate for the level of the video. This type of resource is going to be increasingly valuable as the amount of content grows daily! Let me know what you think is great about FluentKey in the comment section below!

By Mandy Sofer

Chief Marketing Officer | Director of Spanish

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