Before Clozemaster (Getting Good Enough to Use It)

I love Clozemaster. It’s my single favorite language-learning tool these days.

Unfortunately, I find it is not sufficient for me to get started in a language, i.e. I only start to find it useful once I’ve reached a certain critical point, where I can understand much of the context of the words it’s teaching me. Even starting on the most frequent words of the “fluency fast track”, I find I need a certain base level of knowledge of the language for it to really work for me.

In the past, I’ve used Duolingo and Lingvist to start out. Lingvist seems a bit more advanced than Duolingo and more like Clozemaster, but I think it is a bit more suited to the earlier stages. However, it only offers four languages: Spanish, German, Russian, and French, and it’s been a couple years now since I discovered it and there has been little sign that they’re even planning on adding any new languages, which I find frustrating and discouraging.

Duolingo is pretty accessible, but I also find it has some major deficiencies. Some of their newer courses, like ones in East Asian languages, are pretty terrible. And overall, I haven’t liked the changes that have been made to the site over the past 4 years or so.

Does anyone have any recommendations of resources to get me started out? I am particularly interested in resources for Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, and possibly Indonesian. I think Duolingo’s Turkish course is good enough for me to use that and Lingvist’s French course is excellent so those two feel accessible to me if I want to tackle them, but I’m more interested in these other languages, especially Chinese.


That’s the thing, in order to start a new language is better if you use other resources and then start using Clozemaster.

I agree completely, I’m posting though to ask what people would recommend, especially for the languages I referenced.

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Here you have some resources for those languages.


Hello! Here is a full list of beginner Chinese resources. Help you find something useful :slight_smile:


Hi I think lingq is a really good tool for starting out because you can put your own texts into it. If you need something for free then I think the FSI languages courses are excellent.


+1 on FSI. Dry as the Sahara but will build a great foundation.


Sadly I don’t think those languages are available (yet, there should be more languages added some time this year I think, and if I’m not mistaken Japanese was one of them) - though Swahili and Arabic are! - but I’ll still leave this here for anyone interested, because if it offers the language you are looking for, I think this is another really nice language learning resource, though sadly at the moment it only has “Introduction to Italian” (but again, I think “Complete Italian” is due to be added, fingers crossed, very excited for that one):

It seems to be more based on learning through conversation, by observing patterns, and remembering those, rather than drilling individual nouns and verb conjugations into your head. You listen to a “teacher - student” type conversation and there is space to think and come up with the answer yourself. Anyway it seems a useful way to start a language if you don’t have any previous knowledge of it, so I thought I’d add it to the post.

(And am hoping the Complete Italian will be up at some point this year so I can see if it can help me with all those pesky tenses and such), they have a series of 60 mini stories in many languages, with audio and translations. Listen many times to each of the first 10, also listen to the same story in other languages that you know.

Also consider doing say around 20-30 of Clozemaster Top 100 words collection, repeat 30 times or so (don’t worry about spaced repetition timings, you’re aiming for exposure, to acquire language, not to memorize specific words.


The Clozemaster blog for learning Chinese linked to above says “It is suitable for any level so it’s a good place for beginners to start.”

Those beginners must be a lot smarter than I am! How could a complete beginner who knows only European languages get any Chinese cloze correct except by pure chance?

I started Mandarin a couple of weeks ago using other resources, and keep coming back here to try the FFT, Top 100 and HSK1 collections to see if I can recognise a bit more. It’s fun and rewarding to recognise a little more each time, but I don’t think I’d have got very far if this was my main starting resource.

By contrast, when I did a bit of Italian last year, I was able to play 1,700 sentences here without too much difficulty, just from my knowledge of English, French and some Latin. I felt fairly comfortable using Clozemaster as a complete beginner. Chinese is too different for that to be the case. I’d suggest editing that line in the blog.


As previously stated, I can personally recommend Language Transfer

First, it is free. Second, it gives you excellent beginner exposure/foundation to languages if your goal is to achieve fluency.

I went through their complete Spanish audio program and now I use clozemaster to reinforce what I’ve learned. I’ve advanced my comprehension of Spanish significantly with both of them. Now I just need to work on improving my ability to speak fluently.


Welcome :slight_smile:

Always great to see a fellow Language Transfer enthusiast! And it’s especially great to hear from someone who has managed to do one of the “complete” language courses!

Hope you’re enjoying Clozemaster so far.

Do you have a situation in which you can practice your ability to speak? I definitely find it really helps to be able to communicate somewhere in forcing your mind to construct sentences!

Language Transfer is amazing and completely catapulted my Spanish language acquisition.

Right now I practice by attempting to narrate my day. Hahaha…

I try to switch up between the present and past tenses.

The subjunctive tense is still extraordinarily difficult for me to pull from memory and I have made a habit of writing down my translations to check later.

Do you have any suggestions?

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That sounds like you’re already doing great!

I saw a speaking challenge somewhere as well, where you record a sentence each day, and then you can see your progress over time.

I still miss LiveMocha (which no one else probably has heard of/remembers), they had great exercises you could participate in (writing, speaking) and receive feedback on from native speakers.

Clozemaster’s “Language Challenge of the Day” reminded me of it a bit, but seems to have been dormant for quite some time (though I guess it might still be worth having a look at for inspiration). I’ve been wondering if there’d be a way to revive it again, perhaps now the community is slightly larger, it could be more sustainable, with more members giving each other feedback on their exercises, if people were even interested of course.

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Suggestion 1: listen
Suggestion 2: listen
Suggestion 3: loop back to Suggestion 1
Suggestion 4: I make Clozemaster collections of various tenses/moods/ and especially idiomatic constructions, and sure enough the ones that just come out in conversation are the ones I’ve heard or read many times in many different contexts.
Also, try to stay 90% in target language, don’t translate unless absolutely necessary.


I will have to check them out! Thank you!

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@sindaco - I do indeed remember LiveMocha. It was one of my favorites - up until it was bought by the big “R”

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Language Transfer is great – and they are going to have a Chinese course too – but somehow I have’t been able to follow it consistently. I’ve listened to the French course here and there, and I began the Spanish one as well. Then I decided that I’d finish the French one first and then Spanish, but I haven’t acted upon it yet, for some reason. Completing especially the Spanish course would also help me with talking, which has been lacking by far. I also have Pimsleur 1–3, if I get desperate with that at some point. With French I am happy with building my language skills slowly through comprehension, even if it means that I’ll never speak it, but with Spanish I actually want to speak some in a year or two (depending on how things go, with the pandemic and all).

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With regards to getting good enough before starting Clozemaster, I started Spanish straight away with Clozemaster. There was a steep learning curve, but it worked. I also tried to refresh my very beginning Vietnamese, just to discover that it Clozemaster Vietnamese was not beginner’s material. If I were to seriously study Vietnamese again, I would probably begin with Memrise and Peppa Pig immersion, since I haven’t really found outstanding (free) courses online.

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Vietnamese doesn’t have a Fluency Fast Track and it’s not separated by frequency so it’s just a bunch of random sentences not filtered by difficulty. Hindi has the same problem and you’ll occasionally get some really hard sentence. Ignore feature is your best bet so you can ignore sentences until later.

Tatoeba just doesn’t have enough sentences for some language combinations.