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Fluent Forever App Review: Okay, but needs some work

Join us as we dive into this Fluent Forever review and find out if it's worth paying for this language learning app.

Our Verdict

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Fluent Forever makes a bold claim that they can get you fluent in another language in just six months. Unfortunately, we don't believe that's possible with what's on offer at the moment.

While we can't deny the science behind the method, the app could improve in several places including its flashcard activities and grammar explanations. At the moment, Fluent Forever makes sense for beginners but is little to no help for anyone that is intermediate or above.

TL;DR Fluent Forever Review

If you haven't got time to read the complete Fluent Forever review, here's a quick summary:

PROS

  • Customise the app to your liking with changeable flashcards.
  • Useful pronunciation practice within the app.
  • Covers a range of language learning aspects including vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.
  • Affordable pricing.

CONS

  • Spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in some texts.
  • Lack of grammar explanations.
  • Can only be used while online, and only for mobile.
  • Only suitable for beginners.

What is Fluent Forever?

After the success of his best-selling book, the creator behind Fluent Forever, Gabriel Wyner, decided to create a language-learning app based on the same neuroscientific principles. Using a clever combination of flashcards and spaced repetition, Fluent Forever claims it can get you to “learn a language and never forget”. So, does it live up to expectations? Let's find out in this Fluent Forever review.

What is the Fluent Forever Method?

Before we get stuck into the main features of the app, it's worth going over the Fluent Forever methodology – the system the app is based on. It's known as the Four-Step Method and has been carefully created to ensure you make long-lasting and strong connections between words in your native language and your target language.

As step four is currently still in development, we'll be reviewing the first three steps in this Fluent Forever review.

What Can You Do on Fluent Forever?

The Fluent Forever app is based on the idea of spaced repetition via flashcards, so most of your time will be spent reviewing vocabulary, grammar and practising pronunciation. You can spend the rest of the time on the app creating even more flashcards.

Building Customised Flashcards

Fluent Forever utilises the idea of image association rather than word association to help you remember vocabulary and grammar in your target language. In the “Learn section”, you'll be given a list of high-frequency words and you'll need to go through each one, swiping if you know it, and tapping if you don't.

When you tap on a word, you'll be prompted to create a new flashcard for it. You can choose an image that has been pre-selected by Fluent Forever, or upload your own image. The idea is, that by choosing the images yourself, you'll strengthen your association with the words better.

Here's an example of a vocabulary and grammar flashcard:

Reviewing Your Flashcards

Once you've made a few flashcards, it's time to start reviewing and storing them in your long-term memory. This section's relatively straightforward. You'll see an image on the screen, and you'll need to try and recall the word that matches. Click on the flashcard and you'll be shown the answer. We can't help but think this could be a little better done. The flashcards are no more interesting than you get on a free app like Anki or Memrise.

Utilise a Database of Vocabulary

One of the best features of Fluent Forever is its “Explore” section. Essentially, this is a database of vocabulary and sentences that showcase grammar constructs. You can search for any word, for example, horse, shoe, wedding, and it'll show a list of sentences that showcase the word in context.

For example, when I entered “shoe” into the Russian Fluent Forever course I was given three translations, plus six sentences where these words were used in context. From here you can make even more flashcards to add to your deck.

For us, the downfall here is the lack of grammar explanations. Sure, you get the words, and you get the words in a sentence plus the English translation. But, at no point are you told why these words change or have different endings in different sentences.

Practicing Pronunciation

Each language also comes with a series of pronunciation lessons. These generally pander to beginners, so intermediates and advances learners won't really benefit from this section.

Each lesson includes a short 30-second video introducing a new concept. In Russian, this focused a lot on mastering individuals sounds and letter clusters. Once you've listened to the video, you're prompted to complete your “Ear Training”. You'll be shown a pair of words and you'll need to try and differentiate between them. If you struggle with any of these words, you can add them to your flashcard database too.

What Does Fluent Forever Look Like?

Fluent Forever is an application-only product so you'll need a smartphone or a tablet to download it. Your home screen will look a little something like this:

Here you'll find your tasks to complete for the day, how your progress is coming along and any notifications that you've missed.

Along the bottom, you'll find four more tabs that you can use to easily navigate around the app:

  • Home. You home page will tell you exactly which lessons you need to complete next and log your progress.
  • Learn. In this section you'll find the next tasks that you need to complete. This is broken down into three sections: you can learn about the method behind the app, work on your pronunciation or review vocabulary and grammar.
  • Review. This is where the majority of your practice will take place with the help of your homemade flashcards.
  • Explore. A relatively new feature you can use Explore to search for specific words and phrases that you want to work on.
  • Settings. This self-explanatory section allows you to change the language you're learning, the difficulty level and contact customer support.

Who is Fluent Forever Best For?

Fluent Forever supposedly caters to all language learners – whether you're a complete beginner or an advanced student. In fact, when you sign up, you'll need to answer a few questions about your own ability level, including evaluating how well you think your pronunciation is.

For this review, I trialled the Russian course and choose the most advanced option. Unfortunately, a lot of the vocabulary and pronunciation exercises were way below advanced level, and a lot closer to beginner level. It almost made the idea of specifying your language level completely redundant. Afterwards, I tried out Portuguese at the beginner level and found it much better suited.

What Languages Can You Learn on Fluent Forever?

At the moment, Fluent Forever offers courses in ten languages:

  • Latin American Spanish
  • Castillian Spanish
  • Italian
  • French
  • German
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin

There are more courses in the pipeline including Dutch, English, Arabic and Hebrew, and you can request to be notified when your target language is released, which is a nice touch.

How Much Does Fluent Forever Cost?

Fluent Forever offers a subscription pricing model which you can pay every 1, 6, 12 or 24 months. The price is for access to one language only, so if you're learning multiple languages at a time, you'll need to invest a decent amount of money. Saying that, compared to other software on the market, the price is fair, especially for the product that you receive in return.

Remember; you can sign up for a 14-day free trial that gives you access to all of the languages, but after that, you'll be charged a subscription fee and will have to choose one language to continue with.

What are the Pros and Cons of Fluent Forever?

PROS

  • Customise the app to your liking with changeable flashcards.
  • Useful pronunciation practice within the app.
  • Covers a range of language learning aspects including vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation.
  • Affordable pricing.

CONS

  • Spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in some texts.
  • Lack of grammar explanations.
  • Can only be used while online, and only for mobile.
  • Only suitable for beginners.

A Round-Up of Our Fluent Forever Review

The foundations of Fluent Forever gives this language app the potential to be a brilliant supplementary tool, but it still falls short in too many places for it to be worth investing your time or money into. While there is no denying the neuroscience underpinnings, the app gives that feel that it's still in development and there are quite a few limitations, especially for more advanced students.

For beginners, Fluent Forever could still be a good choice – it will introduce you to the foundation of your target language's vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation and help it stick around in your long-term memory. For now, however, I'm not sure the app offers enough extras to choose over free flashcard apps like Memrise or Duolingo.