I’ve decided that I’m going to be ending my experiment to learn Mandarin, Italian, Cantonese, and Spanish simultaneously. It was a rather ambitious project, and as I’ve come to learn, a complete abuse of the triangulation packages that Glossika offers.

After I started my project, Glossika responded to the confusion behind what a triangulation package was for with a new blog post. Reading this, and based off my own experiences, I think I now understand what their intent behind offering the triangulation courses: to reinforce existing languages, while possibly also studying a single new one.

In my case, none of the 4 languages I was studying were at a high enough level where I could really say that I wasn’t learning new things with them from the course. I do think that in the 83 days I completed of the 9 month course before stopping, that I got a lot of a high level overview from the experiment, but I don’t really think I learned to speak any of them from this.

Total time spent with Glossika’s triangulation course for Mandarin, Italian, Cantonese, and Spanish: 4,550 minutes (~76 hours).

I’d mentioned in my last post about this experiment that I thought my progress was going to slowly and this decision is really just a continuation of that. Instead of doing the 4 language triangulation course, I’ve decided to try just one of the single language courses (Mexican Spanish) and see how Glossika behaves as a language teaching course in it’s purest form.

For a single language experiment, I’ve decided to mix 2 of their suggested studying schedules. I’m doing the 8 week intensive schedule (approximately 1 hour a day) in it’s entirety. Every day for the 8 weeks, I’ll be doing either 3 GMS-C lessons or 2 GMS-B lessons a day followed by 2 GSR files.

The GMS-C lessons are 50 sentences of Spanish read a single time. I’m following along with the provided book as a means of initial exposure to the sentences. The GMS-B lessons are 50 sentences where the English sentence is played, a short pause, and then the Spanish sentence will follow. The goal is for me to say the Spanish translation during the pause and check my response against the Spanish translation that will follow shortly after.

The GSR files, as I talked about extensively while doing the triangulation course, are a space repetition based audio lesson where the English sentence is played, followed by the Spanish sentence, and a pause. There are 50 sentences per lesson, and each sentence is repeated multiple times during the lesson. For the single language course, these files tend to be 15-20 minutes long, which is significantly more manageable than the 60 minutes that the 4 language triangulation courses were averaging.

One of my complaints about the triangulation course GSR files was that there simply wasn’t enough time to repeat the foreign sentence before the next one came. With the single language version, while I often find myself still finishing the sentence while the English for the next sentence starts, it’s not really a problem. I can easily understand the English well enough even if I’m talking over it. This means that I’m actually getting ample practice in speaking Spanish while doing the GSR files, but also means that I’m doing them completely at home so I don’t seem like a lunatic talking to myself while walking to and from work (to be fair, that wouldn’t be abnormal in San Francisco).

Because I’m completely doing the 8 week schedule at home, I now have more time on my commute again. To fill that time, and to make sure that I’m not being overly ambitious with the 8 week schedule, I’m following the 21 week relaxed training schedule’s GSR file recommendations during the walking sections of my commute. These GSR files I’m not speaking along with, but they’re still good practice for really nailing the sentences into my head.

I’m currently 1 week into this new schedule and will be caught up to where I was in the 9 month triangulation course in about another week. Despite this, I feel like my Spanish speaking and listening abilities have sky rocketed compared to what the triangulation course was doing for me.