Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bliu Bliu: Language Learning Without Flashcards and Textbooks

How many of us have attempted to learn a new language and failed to master it, despite all the classes attended, the online courses purchased, and the hours spent on grammar exercises? Lithuanian startup Bliu Bliu promises to give language students a better way to become fluent in French, Japanese, or whichever language they're learning. That means no traditional methods such as flashcards, textbooks, and boring rules and lessons. 

Currently in private beta, Bliu Bliu helps you learn a foreign language naturally, just as how you learned your native language. The startup doesn't believe in lessons, classes, or any “artificial” materials that have been created to teach language. Instead, Bliu Bliu adapts to you. First, it shows you the most frequently used words from the language you're studying to determine how much or how little you know about it. Then, the website presents a list of actual texts taken from the Internet for you to read, based on your knowledge. It also gives you challenge texts, which contain mostly familiar words and a few unfamiliar ones. You can likely guess the meaning of these words since they're used in a specific context.

In addition to text, Bliu Bliu gives you audio recordings and videos that you can understand. Because Bliu Bliu knows exactly which words you know, it only shows content that is tailored to your level. You can also talk to native speakers on the site, and Bliu Bliu will let them know which words you're already familiar with so you'll feel like you're communicating well with them.

The startup was founded by Claudio Santori, an Italian who moved to Lithuania and found it difficult to learn the local language. Bliu Bliu won the recent TechChill Baltics competition and is slated to launch this year. Meanwhile, you can get an invitation here.

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