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FluentU: Learn Language in Context


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What is FluentU?

FluentU brings language learning to life with real-world videos.

FluentU takes music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks, and turns them into language learning lessons.

Why did you build FluentU? What problem are you taking on?

Language learning products today are boring and don’t equip people to learn a language the way that it’s actually used. Instead, they train learners to learn words in isolation. Once learners go from the classroom into the real world, they find themselves completely unequipped to engage in actual conversation. And even if they’re able to talk, they don’t know what to talk about because they haven’t really learned about the culture.

For language teachers, exposing students to authentic content is an increasing priority, especially as it becomes a core part of standardized tests like the AP. But finding, assigning, and grading authentic content is time consuming and difficult.

How is your product different from what is currently available?

FluentU is built from the ground up to make it possible to learn with authentic content like music videos. This helps learners stay motivated and to learn the language as it’s actually spoken. Learners learn words in context, which equips them to use them effectively. FluentU gives them exposure to culture so that they’re developing their cultural fluency as well.

For teachers, FluentU saves them a ton of time, and helps get their students excited about learning a language.

Tell us your founding story. Was there an “ah ha” moment?

There wasn’t a single “ah ha” moment, but instead a decade of steady enlightenment. Alan started learned Chinese, Japanese, and Korean for over a decade, and used those languages as a management consultant in Asia. FluentU came out of that experience of learning those languages to fluency.

Tell us about your founding team and their backgrounds.

Alan Park is a Duke university and Harvard Law School grad who went on to work as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in China, Japan, and Asia.