Frequently Asked Questions

We want you to be well informed! If you are in a hurry, however, signup info. is down here.
  1. What is Linguachet?
  2. How is Linguachet different from other foreign-language learning programs, classes, workbooks, services, and apps. already on the market?
  3. Why did you choose such an odd name? I can't even say it OR spell it!
  4. Why did you create Linguachet?
  5. Why writing instead of speaking or listening?
  6. Does Linguachet replace my teacher or tutor?
  7. Does Linguachet replace my textbook or curriculum?
  8. How can you say Linguachet works WITH virtually any textbook or curriculum?
  9. How much practice can I get with Linguachet?
  10. Does Linguachet come with a student answer key? Will it tell me the right answer after a certain number of tries?
  11. This sounds eerily intelligent. Can Linguachet make mistakes?
  12. How can you say that a program like Linguachet can change education?
  13. How do I get started? What do I need?
  14. Can I use Linguachet on my phone or mobile device?
  15. Can I try Linguachet?

1. What is Linguachet?

Linguachet is a web service that provides instant feedback on sentences students compose in a foreign language, allowing them to try again as many times as they want. Linguachet also tracks and analyzes student responses, allowing teachers to spot problem areas fast, then click in to see more details.

2. How is Linguachet different from other foreign-language learning programs, services, and apps. already on the market?

Linguachet invites you into learning as a process, giving you a workshop space where you can try new things and make mistakes while you are teaching yourself. First, it doesn't just reject your whole answer if you missed one little thing; Linguachet starts by finding out what you did right, then specifically marks what needs work. If you forget a word or include an extra one, it can tell you that too. Second, Linguachet includes handy built-in resources to help you improve your own answers, so you can stay in the flow of learning. Third, Linguachet doesn't just report what you learn; it shows HOW you learn, so your teacher can see if you're breezing through or struggling like crazy with a certain concept. This can make any time spent with your teacher or tutor much more effective, since each of you can spot your trouble spots, then zoom in to understand them better. All these features and more are designed to minimize your frustration so you can get back to learning.

3.Why did you choose such an odd name? I can't even say it OR spell it!

Say it together now: Ling-wa-SHAY! Lingua means "tongue" or "language" in Latin. (A bilingual person speaks two languages.) I got the "-chet" ending from the French word ricochet. Linguachet is a tool that bounces your own language back to you - with feedback - to help you learn. The name had to be original, mean something, and - most importantly - had to sound cool! (A name that drew only a blank stare from Google also makes the lawyers happy!) If I'm going to spend years of my life working on something, I want to love it! If I love it and do a good enough job, people will either link to it or figure out how to spell it!

4. Why did you create Linguachet?

Sixteen years of teaching beginning foreign language have shown me that students WILL make certain kinds of mistakes over and over as they're learning. It's actually a good thing; these mistakes are markers along the path of thoughtful learning. Furthermore, it doesn't matter how many times I tell them; students learn mostly by doing. Practice doesn't make perfect, however; students need feedback on common mistakes quickly so they can change their practice. All students learn different things at different speeds, so there was a need for a solution that allows each student to get the practice she needs, where she needs it. This solution needed to be smart enough not to frustrate students at every turn, simply rejecting all answers that didn't fit the cookie cutter. Incredibly, I could not find a good solution anywhere, so I got busy creating one. I figured I'd be done in six months, but the learning journey has never stopped.

Discover new features, tips and insights in the Linguachet teacher blog.

5. Why writing instead of speaking or listening?

When a person writes a sentence, he or she must pause and consider vocabulary and grammar together. Lots of things get used and reviewed at the same time, so carefully assigned composition can also be a very efficient way to keep students from forgetting what they've already learned. Composition can be more challenging than single-concept exercises, and I think most students are motivated by appropriate challenges where easier-to-grade rote exercises simply bore them. For the record, I do not believe that any one method or tool (including mine!) is the single ultimate answer for even one student. However, I have found this tool helpful to many students. Some of their comments are excerpted elsewhere on this site.

Now watch, listen, AND write in your language: Play a new videoactive exercise in Latin or in Spanish!

6. Does Linguachet replace my teacher or tutor?

No. Linguachet doesn't teach you anything. It doesn't aim to present or explain new material. Plenty of websites and videos already do that. Linguachet lets you practice using what you learned from your teacher or textbook, get instant feedback, learn from your mistakes, and get comfortable and confident that you've really got it. Linguachet can also help your teacher or tutor see what you're missing and know how to help you faster. As a teacher, I find that using Linguachet in my classroom engages all my students at their various paces and provokes more thoughtful questions from about WHY something works or does not work in their Latin sentences.

7. Does Linguachet replace my textbook or curriculum?

No, Linguachet replaces mindless workbook exercises, review drills, and many written homework assignments. Linguachet is designed to work WITH virtually any textbook or curriculum, finding students' weak spots and providing extra practice and building confidence right where they need it.

8. How can you say Linguachet works WITH virtually any textbook or curriculum?

First, teachers can now make their own Linguachet exercises in virtually any language, even incorporating YouTube video clips as prompts if they choose. Furthermore, Linguachet can be pretty smart. If your book uses igitur instead of ergo for "therefore", Linguachet can take it either way without whining. Finally, Linguachet's Universal Latin I curriculum is broken into over 65 mini units, which are logically ordered yet also designed to be used somewhat out of order if needed. The vocabulary used is generally common to most Latin courses, but - if you ever run into a word you don't know - just click the built-in vocab. tab and look it up.

9. How much practice can I get with Linguachet?

How much practice would you like? Now teachers can build units collaboratively, and all their students can benefit! Linguachet's Universal Latin I Curriculum also contains over 600 (and growing!) original questions divided into 73 flexibly-designed units. There are more questions in the units where students typically need more practice, and you can even repeat old questions for review, which is great for exams.

10. Does Linguachet come with a student answer key? Will it tell me the right answer after a certain number of tries?

Never! First, Linguachet is designed to help you hash out your own answers, not to give them to you. Second, because Linguachet is fairly smart, each question can have many right answers, once you factor in synonyms, alternative phrasings, implied subject pronouns, variations in word order, and so forth. It's not just looking for one answer. It's looking for any answer that meets a sometimes-complex set of criteria.

11. This sounds eerily intelligent. Can Linguachet make mistakes?

Certainly, but you might have to try something unnatural to make that happen! Like any learning tool, Linguachet is not perfect. However, Linguachet is best at catching the exact kinds of errors beginning language students make, such as forgetting or adding words, spelling or wrong word errors, and forgetting to put the correct endings on words. In its current edition, Linguachet does not expect macrons (long marks) and it's deliberately designed to ignore capitalization and punctuation as well. Because Linguachet is designed to err on the generous side with word order, it could sometimes be possible to concoct a "correct" sentence that would get you funny looks from an actual Roman, should you be able to find one. However, you would hopefully have to do it on purpose, and most of us don't have that much free time! Also, keep in mind that your teacher can see every sentence you write in Linguachet. Because a program can only be as good as its data, Linguachet even includes a way for teachers to pass along any corrections or suggestions about any sentence straight to us from within the interface itself, so that together we can spot any problems students are having quickly and keep making Linguachet even better.

12. How can you say that a program like Linguachet can change education?

I have watched a fairly small class generate more than 2000 Latin sentences in less than one hour. Many of these were tiny improvements students kept making on their own work as they tried different ideas and learned from them. That is the power of responsive formative feedback; shortening the feedback cycle taps the drive to play that lies in all of us. Of course, no piece of software can change education by itself, but thoughtfully designed tools CAN empower reflective students, teachers, and parents to do that. Linguachet can be used to make differentiated instruction and assessment less taxing for the teacher to manage, so students can learn at their own pace. It also can blur traditional lines between formative and summative assessment, since meaningful data are being gathered continuously and can be analyzed or examined at will. A few clicks and glances before class could tell a teacher that everyone aced the first five questions on last night's homework but had certain problems with number six, enabling that teacher to manage class time and help students more effectively. Finally, the standards-based design of the Universal Latin Curriculum, combined with the software's ability to aggregate student response data, can pave the way for fairly granular standards-based assessment in the future. Students' grades could be calculated and analyzed not according to homework, quizzes, and tests, but according to the actual concepts they learned in a given year. The report card would actually show what the student has and has not learned. You can see the beginnings of that in the results tab of Linguachet today, and students can use it any time to evaluate their own progress. Discover new features, tips and insights in the Linguachet teacher blog.

13. How do I get started? What do I need?

Linguachet is currently FREE! You need a compatible device with internet access and an active Linguachet subscription. Linguachet runs in most modern versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or Internet Explorer. For signup instructions, see #15 below.


14. Can I use Linguachet on my phone or mobile device?

You can use Linguachet on an iPad or on many other tablets. I have also used Linguachet on my phone, but smaller phone screens really need a different design anyway, so I've already started work on a mobile web interface that uses the touch screen and runs much like an app. My current intention is to make a mobile interface part of the service whenever it is finished, so that students can use Linguachet as freely as possible.


15. Can I try Linguachet before I buy subscriptions?

Linguachet is currently FREE!*

To register, first create your teacher account.

Video: How to Make Your Teacher Account

  1. From the homepage, hit the "Signup & Login" link, then hit "New Account."
  2. Once you have used the dropdown menu to select birthdate (at least age 18) and click the date selector button again, then click the teacher button that appears and enter the other information (both cards).
  3. Once you submit the form, you should receive your class codes for your classes via email within a couple of minutes.
  4. Each of your students then uses the class code for his/her class to create a student account.

Video: How to Make Your Teacher Account

Once you have made your teacher account, use your username and password to log into Linguachet Scribe

* Please note that Linguachet cannot currently serve users in or from the E.U. countries. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.