What is FluentU?
FluentU is a new way to learn a language through authentic video content like music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks. With engaging and immersive content, we empower users to learn with fun videos exhibiting the diversity and vibrancy of modern cultures.
Why learn languages through videos?
Videos bring so much more to the table for the language learner of all levels. Videos are fun, engage more senses than dry written materials, and are abundantly available across the web. Watching subtitled videos is the closest to true language immersion you can give yourself outside of a foreign country. Our goal is to exhibit the diversity and vibrancy of modern cultures, and online video is the perfect way to do so.
What kinds of videos do you use?
We use videos you’ll want to watch! Instead of sedate lectures or lame situational dialogues, we bring you the most engaging and dynamic foreign language videos we can find. Everything from movie clips, to music videos, to inspirational talks from business leaders, to fun commercials. We aim to showcase the vibrancy and diversity of modern cultures by bringing a wide cross section of subject material and formats.
Why learn with authentic content?
A bit self-explanatory, no? Because it’s authentic! Nothing is worse than spending time and effort memorizing a word or phrase, to eventually learn nobody actually uses it, or that it is arcane or extremely situation specific. By learning through real, “in the wild” authentic content, the vocabulary and grammar patterns have been pre-verified. You are able to discern its degree of formality, what value judgements it may convey, and its broader cultural context. Most importantly, learning with authentic content brings you closer to your ultimate goal- to speak like a native sounding person.
Learning about and appreciating a foreign culture is intimately intertwined with studying its language. We purposely choose a wide variety of videos, showcasing various opinions, lifestyles, philosophies, and creeds. We don’t edit any video for content, and don’t espouse any political or societal messages. Instead, you have videos from all corners of the internet giving you an intimate look at the dynamism of modern culture. You don’t get that in any textbook!
Ok, I’m sold on videos, what else does FluentU offer?
We are working to create the world’s first “video textbook”. We start with the web’s best foreign language videos. We’ve been working our tails off to accurately subtitle all videos in both your chosen language and English. We built a pretty sophisticated and intuitive platform which presents the subtitles in real time as you watch the video.
At any time, you can click on a word and its definition, along with 3 example sentences, will appear. You can then easily add the word to a custom vocabulary list for yourself.
Add as many words from as many different videos to as many different lists as you please. When you are ready to review your lists, we’ve built a SRS (space recognition learning system) which helps you review words as logically and productively as possible. We’ve also built quiz and game modes to keep it all fresh!
On top of all this, we have a regularly updated blog, twitter, and facebook where we discuss engaging topics for learners of all levels.
So, to review:
The web’s best foreign language videos…check!
Foreign language/English Subtitles…check!
Original example sentences…check!
Custom vocab lists…check!
Intelligent SRS review system…check!
Quiz and game modes…check!
Engaging blog and social media activity…check!
Yeah, we think it’s pretty amazing too :-)
Who is FluentU for?
All you need to use our product is an internet connection and a passion to learn a new language. We have had great feedback from individual users, private tutors, and professional teachers alike. We are proud of the flexibility and adaptability of our product, and with new videos being added every week, there is more than enough variety of material for any learner in any context.
What is SRS? Should I bother?
The basic theory behind SRS is simple: the best time to review a word is when it is least fresh in your mind. Too early, and you are over-reviewing something you already know. Too late, and it‘s as if you are starting from scratch. That’s it! The details of the algorithms can get complicated, but we have “baked” it in to our basic vocabulary review function so you never need to worry about how to organize or pace your vocabulary review. Read our blog post about SRS here.
Is FluentU really all I need to learn a new language?
There are countless worthwhile, affordable resources online to learn a foreign language, and you can never underestimate the value of a great tutor or language partner. Yet we truly believe we have built the world’s most powerful, comprehensive, and flexible language learning package for any learner. From the dynamism of constantly updated online videos, to customizable vocab lists, to the powerful algorithms of SRS, we are confident FluentU will become indispensable for any language learner.
Where do you get your content?
We use content from Youtube.
Are there copyright issues from using Youtube content?
Our use of Youtube videos is not only allowed, but also actively encouraged by the Youtube API monetization guidelines.
The following is an excerpt from the Youtube API monetization guidelines as of July 9, 2012:
“Remember, the best way to make money using the YouTube APIs is to use your imagination. To be more specific, you should use your imagination to think of a new way to let people interact with videos and then build an actual (not imaginary) application that enables such interactions to take place. And, to be even more specific, your application should provide a service that people are willing to pay for or that presents advertising opportunities. However, those advertising opportunities should not violate the YouTube API Terms of Service (“API Terms of Service”) available at http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/terms.html as described in the following section. We can’t wait to see what you build!”
Our video player and instant, interactive captions is a great example of such “a new way to let people interact with videos.” Also, we don’t interfere in any way with the ability of Youtube and its content partners to monetize off of advertising revenue on our site.
We should also note that we strive to use content uploaded by official Youtube partners who are the actual content owners. When uploading videos, such content owners have expressly allowed for their videos to be embedded on other sites such as our own so that they can monetize through ad revenue.
Are you blocked in China? Huh?
With many of our videos hosted on Youtube (which is inaccessible in China), unfortunately users in Mainland China have reported problems accessing our site. We are working to ensure our website is accessible to every learner around the world.
Sounds great. Who are you guys?
FluentU was founded by Alan Park, a Harvard Law grad and ex-management consultant who had a passion for language learning, but wasn’t satisfied with the existing solutions the market had to offer. He’s recruited a team of language-learning geeks from around the world to help build and bring to market his vision for a comprehensive, engaging, video-based language learning website. Nice to meet you!