Glossika – Great Potential

There are a lot of Apps and programs out there for language learning. Some of them are great! Others, not so much. Sometimes, it really just depends on the language, the style of learning you prefer, and what preferences suit you.

I have spent a lot of time searching for an App I enjoy using for learning Mandarin. There are many challenges in trying to find an app that suits every need, and in my experience a one-size-fits-all solution really doesn’t exist.

Every App has its own strength and weaknesses. While I enjoy many programs that aim to teach grammar and writing systems, finding proper pronunciation has always been a challenge as someone who’s focused on learning proper, Taiwanese pronunciation. So far, Glossika has been he best resource I have found for this niche.

Promoting Culture

When I first found Glossika, the first thing I notice was how diverse their language selection was. They offer the basic languages of Spanish, French, German, and East Asian staples like Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. But they have a unique selection of languages that I have not seen in many other places. I’m referring to their endangered language selection, which is largely comprised of native languages that have long been falling out of use. To promote education and revival for these lesser-known languages, Glossika actually offers these programs for free.

Some of these languages include:

  • Catalan
  • Gaelic
  • Hokkien
  • Hakka
  • Kurdish
  • Manx
  • Welsh
  • Wenzhounese

Glossika is not the cheapest program out there, but the fact that they have complimentary languages offered specifically to promote cultures that have been cast aside only made me want to support this program even more.

Getting Specific

Another thing I noticed about this program instantly caught my attention: they recognize that countries sharing the same languages still diverge from one another substantially. Many of us has probably seen English offered in the US or UK form, but this is the first time I had seen language software differentiate Chinese Languages (Beijing and Taiwan), Arabic (Egypt, Morocco, Standard) and Vietnamese (northern, Southern).

The Interface

Glossika’s Dashboard does not differ too far from other programs. Like many other language software options, you will find a progress bar, learned phrases, and your lessons.

It also has the option to set up goals which focus on repetitions and learning new phrases. It’s useful for giving yourself a daily goal to achieve. The standard they recommend is 75/25: 75 review repetitions and 25 new phrase repetitions. It sounds like more than it is: overall this is about 30-45 minutes of language practice a day.

The Learning Process

Glossika is primarily focused on speech and pronunciation. The app reads the meaning in English (or whatever native language you speak), then speaks the phrase in the selected language you wish to learn. After two repetitions from their recording, you will record yourself repeating the phrase. The process repeats through the series of phrases in the lesson, and then you can choose to repeat this again or let the program know you are finished.

Review lessons will run through your current list of phrases you are learning. New lessons typically teach five new words and run through 5 repetitions of them so you get some practice. The goal is to have the meaning stick in your mind through repetition and improve your speed and pronunciation each time.


My husband has overheard me practicing Taiwanese Mandarin with the app, and the first words out of his mouth were “that’s very Taiwanese.” That is the first time I’ve ever heard him say that about a language learning app. They have programs catered to regions, and they follow through with the nuanced language and pronunciation in their programs. I have a lot more confidence in knowing I am saying this correctly, and the Taiwanese way when I work through this program.

I also enjoy the fact that they give you options in the language learning process. Although the primary focus of this app is to teach you how to speak, they still display the written form, the Romanized form (they use pinyin for Chinese languages), and a phonetic pronunciation.


As the title suggests, Glossika has huge potential, but it’s actual uses are extremely limited. What they do, they do well. But like many programs of this kind, it would be quite difficult to fully learn a language using it alone.

Glossika focuses on teaching phrases rather than grammar or vocabulary. This does not mean you can’t pick up on these things by using it, but it does take much more effort on the user’s part to make that happen.

A Hefty Cost

Their price is also quite high for their paid program. While a subscription covers unlimited languages for the duration, their cost is $24.99 a month for an annual plan ($299.88/ and $30.99 for month-to-month. For the cost, I do feel the program should be more in-depth.

My Takeaway

Glossika has a lot to offer and a great deal of potential in the language market. Their focus on promoting endangered languages and their focus on region-specific dialects were the biggest draws for me. It’s very rare to find a language program that offers these as a part of their core curriculums.

However, Glossika is not a one-size-fits-all solution to language learning, and it does carry a hefty price tag for the program that is offered. If you do choose to use Glossika, definitely take advantage of their free trial first to test it out. If you do find it helpful, I would suggest using it alongside supplemental materials. I have included a few Amazon Affiliate links below for some of the resources I found helpful.

Practical Audio-Visual Chinese

Taiwan Today



Minna No Nihongo

Glossika isn’t for everyone: It’s fantastic if you are looking to learn a few key phrases quickly, or you are looking for something to supplement your current routine. If you are looking to get everything you need in one place however, Glossika is probably not right for you. If you do decide to give it a try, I would love to hear your thoughts.


Picture of K. Straub-Kuo

K. Straub-Kuo

K has been writing since she was in middle school. She has always loved telling stories and loves to do research on topics that fascinate her even more. K developed an interest in cultures at an early age, but it wasn't until high school that she became fascinated with East Asia's rich cultural heritage that blends seamlessly with the rapid advancements that cause their cities to thrive. Her interest only grew more when she met her Taiwanese-Native husband, whose expansive travel experiences have encouraged her wanderlust. She takes every opportunity presented to her to try something new and is always thrilled to share her experiences with her readers.
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11 Day Back roads of Japan Tour with Project Expedition

***Note: meals are largely excluded on this tour and are the responsibility of tour members***

Days 1-2: Tokyo

There is no itinerary upon arrival until the welcome meeting which will take place in the evening. The first day will consist of learning more about your tour and meeting your guides. Day two is a walking tour of the fashion district of Harajuku. This eclectic district is popular for its eccentric fashion and youth culture. In the afternoon you will get a chance to visit Sensoji Temple, Meiji Shrine, and the surrounding attractions. 

Day 3: Nagano

You will take Japan’s famed bullet train to Nagano before checking into your accommodations. The highlight of this trip is the Jigokudani Monkey Park, where you will get to observe Japan’s bathing snow monkeys enjoying a bath in the natural hot springs.

Day 4: Matsumoto/Nagano

Enjoy a day trip to visit one of Japan’s most beloved castles: Matsumoto Castle. Afterwards, return to Nagano to venture off to Zenkoji Temple, one of Japan’s last standing pilgrimage sties. 

Day 5: Ōtsu 

Travel in the morning to Ōtsu for some stunning views of Japan’s largest lake: Lake Biwa. Top off the night with a delicious ramen dinner. 

Day 6-7: Hagi

Enjoy a quick breakfast before an extended drive to Hagi. You will then check into your local homestay. Pack for two nights as your remaining luggage will be sent to the next destination by your tour company. Make sure you pack comfortably for outdoor activities. This is a chance to experience life like a local as you meet your host family and take part in a welcome ceremony and dinner. 

Day two is an active day as you take a guided cycle tour around Hagi Castle. Afterward, you will have time to participate in seasonal activities with the locals. You will enjoy a homecooked dinner with your host family.

Day 8-9: Tottori

After breakfast with your host family, take a scenic trip by train on your way to Mihomisumi. There, enjoy learning the art of Washi paper making before hopping on another train to Tottori. 

In the morning, explore the unusual Tottori Sand Dunes along the Sea of Japan’s coastline. After that, make your way to the local fish market for some fantastic seafood lunch options. End the day with a trip to Kyoto to check in to your accommodations. 

Days 10-11: Kyoto

Take a morning trip to the well-known Fushimi Inari-Taisha, one of Kyoto’s many beautiful local shrines. This is where you will find the mystical  trail of torii gates along its trails. After this, you will have free time to explore what Kyoto has to offer. Recommended sites include a walk through the geisha district of Gion, exploration of Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, and a visit to Kiyomizu Temple. 

The next day marks the end of the tour. Public transit is available to the airport, or you can speak to your guide to help find accommodations if you wish to extend your stay. 

Sample of an 11-Day Intrepid Tour

Days 1-2: Taipei City

Take the first day to relax and unwind after your travels before joining your group for dinner. After a good night’s sleep, enjoy learning about Taiwan’s love of sweet potatoes at Sweet Potato Mama for some spud-filled activities. Check out Shilin Night Market to enjoy Taipei’s variable food culture.

Days 2-3: Hualien

Enjoy nature at Danong Dafu Forest Park before spending the evening enjoying even more street food at the local night markets (you may have noticed a trend). Visit Qingshui cliff before venturing off to the famous Taroko Gorge.

Day 5: Yilan

Visit one of Yilan’s well-known onion farms to learn about the agriculture behind them before learning to make a Taiwanese favorite: scallion pancakes!

Day 6: Turtle Island and Jiufen

Set out on a 3-hour cruise around Turtle Island before travelling off to Jiufen, famed by Hayao Miyazaki as the inspiration for Spirited Away. You will be able to explore Old Street on your own. My suggestion: Eat everything ,try lots of samples, and make time for tea at the famous Teahouse.

Days 7-8: Sun Moon Lake

You’ll get to hike from the base of the mountainous area through the trails that snake up the mountain. You can then climb the Pagoda which marks the end of your trek for some incredible views. The next day you will get to explore the Chung Tai Chan Monastery for a unique, cross-cultural experience.

Day 9: Taichung

Visit Taiwan’s “Breadbasket”, where you can go oyster picking, bird watching, and exploring the water-life of the area. Try some incredible seafood and maybe even go out after returning to you accommodations near — Oh look, it’s near another night market!

Days 10-11: Taipei

Visit the Rainbow Village before heading back to the city you started in. You’ll get to see the massive collection of traditional art and artifacts contained within the National Palace Museum before taking the evening for yourself. After breakfast in the morning,  Your tour will end.