We are a small company guided by the conviction that there is a better way to learn languages. We know that while seemingly fun and easy, it’s unrealistic to learn through games or “no-English” approaches. Learners need to understand what they’re learning and they need real tools to reach a realistic level of fluency. Most important of all, they need to stay in it for the long haul.
For us the point of departure is straightforward: to perfect a seamless digital reproduction of one-on-one, interactive tutoring that challenges, leads, inspires, and leaves a life-time impression on the learner. Our current products are far from perfect and far from our own ideal, but we are determined to keep pushing the envelope.
One more thing. While engaging, beautiful design is often dismissed as irrelevant in education, we beg to differ.
“Boutique is a word we like. We see ourselves within the artisan tradition, which means we pay attention to details, we have a real dialogue with our users, we worry about craftsmanship, and we have the time to learn about learning. We're small enough not to worry about investors and analysts, and instead choose to focus entirely on continuously improving our own products every single day.”
The best-known and commercially successful theory for teaching languages during the past century believes that absolutely no English should ever be used to explain how the language being learned works, even if the learner is a complete beginner.
This is based on the belief that adults should learn new languages in the same way they learned their first one as very young children.
Yet, contemporary linguistics research suggests that adults learn languages differently than children. While children learn languages instinctively, as if they are hard-wired to acquire them, they lose this ability upon reaching puberty.
Around the age of 12 or 13, the brain essentially solidifies, radically changing how we learn languages. This is likely the reason it’s so difficult for adults—unlike children—to learn new languages without an accent. And it is the reason why adults shouldn’t expect to learn a new language in the same way they learned their mother tongue.
The flip side is that adults have a major advantage over children when it comes to learning a new language: they already know
an entire system of grammar and vocabulary—that of their own mother tongue.
This is why they can learn new languages much more quickly by relating the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of the language they already know to the one they are trying to learn. Although adults can't learn new languages instinctively like children because their brains have changed, they can learn very quickly. The key is to use one’s knowledge of English as leverage for learning the new language.
If English and Mandarin share a similar way of creating the simple future, doesn't it make sense to draw this out? If the English words for "automobile" and "cell phone" share the same roots with several Romance languages, wouldn't it help to emphasize the association?
By approaching the new language from the point of view of English, what seems unintelligible is made clear. This is the essence of leveraging English to learn each of the Fluenz languages.