So what's the deal with all the Squawking?
Without a doubt, DL is the best program for learning “What Stuff Means” in a foreign language, and The Mimic Method is the best program for learning “How Stuff Sounds.”
As the founder of The Mimic Method, I wanted to combine the strengths of these two programs to create the ultimate language learning experience, which is how I came up with the original idea for this Kickstarter:
An app that teaches you how to pronounce every single DL phrase with a perfect accent.
We spent months putting together the campaign, but then right before our campaign launch, DL told us that we could not using their name, logo nor sentences, as it infringes on their copyright (which is why I am using the abbreviation - DL).
Although we completely understand DL's position, this was a HUGE setback for us. The whole concept of our app and Kickstarter based was based on DL, and our video was full of references that now constituted trademark infringement.
Demoralized, we were about to call off the project entirely, but then I had an epiphany for how we could “kill two birds with one stone” - by *Squawking.
First, we *Squawked out every mention of DL from our video. Then, we figured out a way to *Squawk the DL sentences while still providing the ultimate language-learning experience to all the 25 million DL users struggling with pronunciation.
But before I tell you about how that will work, let me tell you a bit more about myself and The Mimic Method:
Who I Am and What We Do.
My name is Idahosa Ness and I am a sound educator, entrepreneur and founder of a small but fast-growing language outfit known as The Mimic Method.
I speak five languages fluently (English, Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese and French), and I will be traveling to Tokyo this summer to learn my 6th language- Japanese.
I am also highly musical. I trained classical violin since the age of five, and in my travels I've picked up several other random instruments and genres. But my favorite musical activity is most definitely freestyle rapping, as it's the easiest way for me to get myself in the zone and "Feel the Flow".
The #1 reason why people struggle so much at foreign languages is because they can't feel the flow.
The Mimic Method is the only language-learning program that focuses exclusively on training your pronunciation and Flow in your target language (To learn more about the science of Flow, signup for our free 5 Day e-Course - Flow Theory 101).
In our flag ship program - The Flow Series - you train your flow by learning to sing and rap songs in your target language with a perfect accent.
Singing songs might seem like a strange way to approach learning a second language, but it works.
Just hear what these Flow Series Students have to say about the training:
Over the past two years, thousands of language learners have used our courses and resources to master the sounds of their target languages, and now we are ready to take our business to the next level with The Mimic Method App:
How the App Works
Our app is designed in a way that optimizes the three keys to mastering the pronunciation and flow of any second language:
- Attention to detail
Go into as much or as little phonetic detail as you need to master the sounds
Natural speech is too fast for foreigners to process, which is why you need to break it down into smaller, more mentally-digestible chunks.
In The Mimic method app, you can easily zoom in on the sounds and "rhythmic chunks" that you find personally challenging with just a few taps and clicks. Then depending how far down you need to dig, you can master those sounds individually through video demonstrations, visual diagrams and in-depth tutorials.
Get in your Repetitions by Losing yourself to the Music.
Pronunciation is a motor skill, which means you need to repeat these mouth movements MANY TIMES in order for it to feel natural to you.
Repetition is only fun when it involves music.
We set each phrase to a steady meter and loop it for you to chant along with. You can then mute/unmute the "rhythmic chunks" so that you can build your motor skills bit-by-bit. Finally you can gradually build your way up to full speed by adjusting the tempo slider.
Compare Your Accent to the Native Speaker
Once you complete the flow training process for a given phrase, you will be able to record yourself and compare your recording side by side with the native speaker recording.
This is a great way to give yourself feedback and hone in on your personal pronunciation weaknesses, but there's only so much you can do on your own, which is why to truly complete the Flow-Training process you'll need...
Personal Training with The Flow Ninjas (For Backers Only)
Our Flow Ninjas can solve all of your pronunciation problems with our ultra-precise and ultra-convenient personal training programs.
With the click of a button, you can submit your side-by-side recording to the Flow Ninjas, then they will use "timed-comments" to pinpoint the exact syllable you are mispronouncing. Once they identify your errors, they will provide you all the information you need to fix those specific errors
The other great thing about this feedback system is that it all happens asynchronously in the cloud. So you can submit a recording whenever you want, and a Flow Ninja will get back to you with feedback within 12 hours.
How *Squawking Works
Every phrase from the DL courses will have a *Squawked version that is composed of different words but the same Flow.
For example, the DL Spanish phrase - “Dónde está la biblioteca” - would be *Squawked into - “Dónde está la discoteca." They are different phrases but they sound more or less the same.
By mastering the flow of the *Squawked phrase, you will effectively master the phrase of the DL phrase as well.
Searching for the *Squawked version of a DL sentence will be easy. All you need to do is enter the DL phrase into the "*Squawk it!" part of our app, and you will get the *Squawked phrase as your result.
The *Squawked "Skill Tree"
Another great feature of DL is the way it organizes the language-learning process in “Skill Trees”. You start with the most basic skills - like forming simple phrases and talking about food - then you advance down the tree and accumulate more advanced skills - like speaking in the conditional tense or discussing topics like science or relationships.
To further unify the learning experience for you, we are organizing our *Squawked Phrases into a *Squawked Skill Tree that mirrors DL.
Each skill will feature “10 Key Phrases” that will cover the grammar structures learned in that skill.
Complete the Flow Training For these "10 Key Phrases" and you will be able to mimic any DL phrase from that Skill.
To be clear, none of the phrases in this course will be the same as any of those from the DL course. And it should go without saying that this product is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by DL.
*Squawking might seem like overkill sometimes, but it is necessary for us to realize our vision: To create the ultimate language-learning experience by solving the biggest paint point for all DL users - pronunciation and flow.
Just like DL, The Mimic Method app will be completely free.
Personal training with the Flow ninjas, however, is a premium service that you can secure now at discount if you back this project.
Personal Training packages are for you to train 200 phrases from the app. Complete this regimen, and you will develop a solid mimicry ability with a near perfect accent.
- These 200 phrases cover all the different types of grammar structures that you will learn in the language.
- You will be able to submit a self-recording of each phrase TWICE for feedback.
- After the Flow Ninjas pinpoint your mispronounced sounds and direct you to the appropriate tutorials, you will be able to Re-Submit a recording to double check your corrections.
- This totals to 400 personal training sessions total (Retail: $170)
ALL REWARDS ARE GIFTABLE TO OTHERS. So if you want to buy a personal training package for you and your friend to both learn Spanish, then select the option for two languages.
Note that there is an additional discount for EARLY BIRD supporters, so you should Fund the Flow sooner than later if you want to get the best price.
Languages and Platforms
We will launch the first beta as a web application, than launch the iOS app shortly thereafter.
Because *Squawking and recording the over 50,000 DL phrases will take a a good deal of time, we will prioritize our activities in this order:
Phase 1: Create Flow-Training Lessons for the 200 Key Phrases of thelanguages listed below and publish all the content on the web app
Our priority is to have our backers flowing as quickly as possible, which is why we will focus first on getting the 200 Key phrases of each language done before anything else and making it available to everyone via web app.
Phase 2: Create the iOS beta with the 200 Key phrases of each course.
This project was envisioned for mobile, because we want people to train their Flows on the go. As soon as the 200 Key phrases content for the languages has been posted on the web, backers will get the opportunity to beta test the experience on their iPhones and iPod touches.
With your feedback, we will be able to perfect the app before launching to the general Public
Risks and challenges
The first two phases of the project are actually pretty straight forward. We have coded the Flow-Training engine that operates in the background of our iOS and web apps.
All we need to do for these two phases is generate the 200 Key Phrases content for each of the languages.
The real challenge comes with phase 3
First, there is the legal challenge of making sure everything is sufficiently *Squawked to avoid any issues down the road.
Then we have to coordinate A LOT of audio and video recordings. Since we demand the highest production quality of our phrases, we will need to do a lot of searching, vetting and organizing of professional voice and video actors to get them to studio.
When mobilizing such a large number of people, there will always be setbacks due to scheduling conflicts, and this is what we expect to be the most challenging aspect of the project.
As for the personal training with the Flow Ninjas, this may seem like a lot of work to pull off but it will actually be the easiest element for us, because we already created systems for handling large number of user recordings with our Flow Series Program Actually, the biggest innovation of The Mimic Method program is the way that we streamline the feedback process.
As you can imagine, we already have a lot of experience with systematization and pulling off big endeavors, so though there will most certainly be many setbacks, we are more than ready to take care of them in a timely manner.
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