Coupling's Birthday: Moments Rewritten

The journey over the past year...

One year ago on October 2020, I started Coupling for couples that wanted to learn each other’s native languages. It’s been a full year of work, while moving nomadically around the US and South America

🔭 Looking Back

Things got off to a quick start in the first couple of weeks before diving into feature development and iteration.

In February 2021, some of you were the first people to try this early version of Coupling. Some of you may have just gave it a quick shot over the last few months. But some of you have been using it frequently since, while seeing Coupling evolve.

On Coupling’s birthday, I’m excited to announce that Moments are now much more stable. Moments, or live mini-games with your partner, became the focus this past summer. It got out to a rocky start in August. But I’ve spent my weeks in Mexico reworking and rewriting the Moments system so you can continue creating Moments on their way to your language goals.

🤝 Give It Another Shot

(check out the last update: Language Learning Goes Visual)

🚀 Updates on Coupling

🏗️ Moments Revamped and Rewritten

I’ve rewritten the Moments backend to use a more established multiplayer game framework. Some people have experienced some bugs or friction when trying out the Moments Beta.

As a useful side effect, multiple connections from multiple devices from the same user are now elegantly supported.

If you still experience any issues, please let me know!

🕹️ Moment Selection Screen

You can now select and play any Moment you want, including multiple per day.

Also, when you start a Moment, your partner will automatically be navigated to you in the Moment to reduce friction of having to both press a button.

I got rid of the progression and unlock system as people may have wanted to keep playing while they had their partner on. Due to differing language skill levels, people had their own preferences on which Moments to play. For example, the idea of Guess Who? was popular with intermediates and above but that may have been difficult for beginners.

Later, this will also come with level selectors. Guess Who? will have levels featuring, say, vehicles or animals (Guess What?). Blindspotting will have a bathroom level. Cup Quiz will have levels featuring more fun quiz questions.

⚡ Learning System Improvements

I’ve continued to refine the learning system.

  • 🎶 Added sounds

  • 🏎️ Smoother transitions between new vocabulary and existing vocabulary

  • 🛠️ Fixed outdated goals flashing on the homescreen

  • 🛠️ Fixed issue with smaller Android screens covering the icons with the keyboard by expanding the icon search window

  • 🛠️ Fixed icon screen sometimes not automatically searching

  • 🛠️ Fixed issue with incorrect queue counts at times

  • 🛠️ Fixed font shrinking after switching languages

😐 Miscellaneous

  • ❣️ Live notification for new flashcards added by your partner

  • 📱 Landscape mode and smaller screens are now better supported

  • 💌 Live updates for partner invites and acceptances

  • 🧈 Improved UI smoothness and removed flashing of outdated states

  • 🔨 Fixed notifications window not showing newer notifications

👐 What’s Next?

I’ll be in Peru for the next couple of months. Things I want to work through while I’m there:

  • 👍 Polish Moments (e.g., be able to see past vocabulary, progress bars, level selectors, screenshots and videos)

  • 🎁 Kudos and rewards system

  • New Moments and levels

  • 📟 Opt-in learning reminders where push notifications are supported

  • 📋 Partner dashboard with daily tasks on how to best help the learner

  • 🛻 Customize vocabulary to learn next (e.g., by category)

  • 📦 Add more vocabulary packs (e.g., top 500 or top 1000 words by frequency)

  • 📈 Graphs and statistics

  • 📚 Detailed word information sourced from dictionaries

🙏 Thanks for supporting Coupling! If you aren’t using it already, keep an eye on the project and give it another try soon.

If you have any suggestions or feedback, please take this one-question survey below!

Survey: How Could Coupling Improve?

Language Learning Goes Visual

Making flashcard reviews 50% more fun with millions of icons

Hi! Coupling uses a learning system that is proven to help you remember anything forever. We’ve added an ability to lock words into your memory even harder.

🎴 We’ve added millions of beautiful images for you to decorate your flashcards

Start Decorating Now

(check out the last update)

🚀 Updates on Coupling

🎴 Add Beautiful Visuals to Flashcards

When you learn a new word in Coupling, you’ll get to choose a visual that goes along with it. There are millions to choose and search from and it just takes one tap. Unlike stock or Google images, our images blend in with the flashcard to not be distracting.

Have at it now as we may limit its usage in the future behind a plan as it’s not free on our side. It’s a fun feature!

⏱️ Study Time Tracking for Multiple Languages

Before, there was only one statistic: total study time between all your languages.

When learning multiple languages and viewing your study time, we now calculate the study time between languages separately.

I’m learning Cantonese to speak to family, Chinese to learn to read, and Spanish as I’m sorta alright at it but moving to Mexico City tomorrow! So this feature is almost mainly for me ☺️

🖌️ Polish

I’ve polished the learning system up with a bunch of small fixes. Most prominently, fixing an occasional bug where the answer of the flashcard would flash (no pun intended) for a split second.

For Spanish, I’ve changed the voice to be the Latin American accent versus the lispy Spain accent.

👐 What’s Next?

I still have the laundry list of things to do as mentioned in the last update. The overarching thing I want to tackle was to give more ways for partners to help and motivate all the aspiring learners.

Keep up the learning! Language learning is a marathon and the only way to succeed is to make it a habit.

Please let me know if you have any feedback ( Thanks!

New Minigames Available in Coupling!

And plans to improve onboarding and bug fixing

Hello! Along with the pilot Guess Who?, there are three new Moments (minigames) to play: Cut the Red Wire, Blindspotting, and Cup Quiz.

For those who are new to Coupling, welcome! Thanks for getting past the rough and non-existent onboarding experience. The app is still in its infancy as a solo developer but has come a long way over the past year. We’re going to keep pushing it forward, so stick with it.

Some of you have reported some bugs and issues with Moments, so I’m rapidly investigating and ironing things out.

⚡ Open Coupling

(check out the last update)

🚀 Updates on Coupling

⁉️ New Moment: Cup Quiz

Based off the Newlyweds Game, you’ll receive questions about each other. The goal is to try to guess what the other person will answer, and see how well you know each other.

The partner will also give their answers and guesses in the target language, which will be added to the learner’s vocabulary. Given the nature of the questions, these new words and phrases are very relevant to learn!

This is a beginner-level Moment, and I currently have it slated as the first Moment as it doesn’t require any speaking or prior knowledge. But you can learn a few basic important words out of it.

🖼️ New Moment: Blindspotting

A cooperative Moment. You and your partner will both receive slightly different pictures on your devices. Work together and communicate in the target language to spot the ten differences without peeking!

This Moment scales from beginner (e.g., learning how to say "table” or “chair”) to advanced (e.g., “What color is your doormat? Mine’s orange. How many have we spotted so far?”).

💣 New Moment: Cut the Red Wire

Another cooperative Moment. One of you is defusing a bomb and the other has the manual and instructions. You’ll need to communicate in the language to describe the bomb and relay instructions on which wire to cut. Then you’ll switch roles.

This one should scale well from beginner to advanced. Keep playing and see how fast you can get through it.

This is just the first level of the Moment; they’ll get progressively harder with more wires, colors, and instructions.

🟩 Appearance of New Cards

If you were new to SRS, it would feel difficult to be shown a word you’ve never seen before and then get asked what it meant.

New vocabulary will be now introduced before getting reviewed. While not as ultra-gamified as a multiple choice with images with dingy sounds, this gives you a chance to learn and get acquainted with the word or phrase before getting quizzed on it.

📋 Better Moment Tutorials

Moment tutorials are now easier to read and less tempting to ignore. They’re now a list of short steps rather than a wall of text. Ideally, it’d come with videos and animated images for each step, but I hope this is good enough.

🚀 Booster Packs Available in More Languages

Also, along with Cantonese and Chinese, verified booster pack vocabulary sets are now available for: Spanish, German, Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean, and French. Go to the Get Vocabulary section to browse them.

🎶 Prototyping Song Packs

I went off on a tangent prototyping a feature to learn through song lyrics and a rhythm game to pair along with it. You’d be able to add vocabulary from popular song lyrics, and we’d exclude non-conversational or weird words or phrases that songs often use. This came pretty far along, but I'm shelving this for now to try other things.

👐 What’s Next?

🛠️ Fixing Issues With Moments

There have been issues with getting Moments started or random bugs here or there. I’ll investigate and have those fixed ASAP.

💝 Kudos and Reward System

Getting partners onboard and engaging is still not quite in place. There’s some success through Moments, but there’s more we could do outside of those sessions.

Upon receiving daily and weekly progress reports, I’m planning a feature where partners can reply with kudos or praise to provide motivation. And set real-life rewards for achieving learning goals (streak length or vocabulary learned).

🏎️ Better Onboarding

A lot of people signed up this week. I’ve been scrambling to try to fix various issues, and my onboarding was put to shame. I hope some of you stick through it!

📹 Intro Video

People have mentioned they wanted to try Coupling or at least watch a video of it before taking the leap to sign up. Though anonymous login will be tricky given the need to invite a partner.

We’ll put an intro video on the homepage to start with.

🔀 New Vocabulary Ordering

The ordering of new vocabulary is random right now. If you’re new, your first words might be grandma, car, and eight.

I’ll try to order the first few sets of vocabulary in a more sane way for beginners. For specific languages, I will try to mix in vocabulary that’d contribute to the upcoming Moment.

🔁 Introduction to SRS

I’ll add a brief introduction to the learning system that uses spaced repetition. It’s a powerful and an efficient way of learning that may not be clear without some brief intro.

💪 Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?

The Moments range in difficulty from beginner-level that don’t even require speaking (e.g., Cup Quiz) to Moments that can support intermediate-to-advanced users (e.g., Cut the Red Wire). I’d love a setting to specify which you are so you’ll get set up with a proper first Moment.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Gender?

This is a stretch goal, but due to the nature of many languages with masculinity and femininity and pronouns, setting a gender (or not) may be useful in certain languages such as Vietnamese so the pronouns of sentences can be appropriately set.

👍 Thanks for trying and supporting the project! General feedback is desperately welcome over at

Introducing Moments in Coupling

🎮 Interactive language learning games with your partner

🚀 I’m excited to introduce Moments in Coupling! Moments are fun mini-games for you and your partner to play together to improve your language skills.

For the longest time, I shied away from relying on your native speaking partners too much, and focused on the learner side. After talking with people, I re-realized the forgotten mission, to learn languages together through memorable activities and coupled energy. Read on!

⚡ Open Coupling in Your Browser

(check out the last update)

🚀 Updates on Coupling

🤗 Moments (Beta)

Coupling goes multiplayer — Moments are fun and interactive mini-games between the learner and native speaking partner. You’ll get speaking practice, learn new words and phrases, and a chance to show off what you’ve been studying daily. The goal of each Moment is to learn ten new words or phrases.

You each get on your device to play a multiplayer game that I’ve built which will require communication. For immersion, try to speak and listen using the target language throughout the game.

The pilot game is a version of the classic tabletop game, Guess Who? There are 24 characters with varying visual characteristics like color, clothes, and expressions. Each of you secretly choose one of the characters. The goal is to guess which character the other chose through yes-or-no questions, with the slight twist here being all questions and answers must be done in the target language and no repeat questions.

When you don’t know how to say a word or phrase, your partner can add vocabulary for you in real-time from their device. But Moments also provide tools for you on your device to request new vocabulary in real-time, from your partner.

Once you and your partner work together to learn ten new vocabulary, the Moment is successfully minted and available to look back upon later in the Past Moments section. You’ll be able to play again whenever you want, browse the vocabulary was added, and see how long you spent in that Moment.

Vocabulary that gets added via Moments get dropped into your learning queue. Hopefully, it’s easier to learn those new words when they’re reinforced by a memorable Moment.

After you complete a Moment, you should get a new one the next day. Right now, I’m launching with just one pilot game (Guess Who?). That has some replay value until I release the next game.

I slapped a beta tag on Moments because bugs, probably.

🗄️ Vocabulary Search and Sort

You can now search and sort your vocabulary by newly added, last reviewed, learning progress, or alphabetical in both your target language and English. Look up a vocabulary, see what your partner has recently been learning, or browse from top to bottom what words you know the best!

🔀 Language Switcher

If you’re learning multiple languages at once, you can now quickly switch between what language you are learning. Previously, you had to go into the settings to do so. Now just tap the dropdown by your name at the top. I’m learning Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish myself currently!

🎧 Podcast Packs

For Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese, I’ve added some podcast packs.

I used to listen to podcasts to improve my language skills, but found I had very poor retention rate just by listening. I could add the vocabulary to my deck, but it’s hard to transfer them from audio especially if I’m commuting. I wanted a way to listen to podcasts and have all the vocabulary they teach imported to my deck.

I’ve listened to a few dozen language learning podcast episodes and curated the vocabulary they introduce. You can listen to the podcast episodes and add new words and phrases with one-click as they introduce them.

Not only do you get new vocabulary, but a whole lot of context around them as professional language tutors teach you about them. For now, for the languages I’ve done them for at least, it’s a good introduction to the language if you’re a beginner.

Let me know if you find these useful or want to try them in your target language, and I can pump out more.

🔥 New Streaks

Streaks are now cuppier. Don’t make them sad. The calendar streak view will return at a future date when advanced statistics are introduced.

I plan on rewarding you with stacked cups on days where you both complete your daily learn and create a moment.

🌌 Lofi Study Mode

While doing your daily learn, there’s a speaker icon on the bottom right. Click if you want some background lofi study music to accompany your learning session.

📰 Updates on Booster Packs

Booster packs have been demoted for now and are now only shown for languages that I have sourced all of the vocabulary (Cantonese, Chinese, and French). Let me know if you or your partner would like to help contribute to booster packs for other languages. The app generates translations so mostly, you just have to choose the best suggestion from the list for a given word or phrase.

👐 What’s Next?

🎲 More Mini-Games

I’ve built one mini-game thus far. Most of the time was spent building the foundations of Moments and the multiplayer network. The factory will begin churning out more mini-games.

I’m fond of building versions of Crazy Taxi and Overcooked. I have a whole page of game ideas to build.

💰 Pledge Challenge

I’ve had a few people take a pledge challenge. I hold onto your $15 or $30 for a month, and I’ll give you back $0.50 or $1 for each day you complete your daily learn. If you learn every day, then you get all your money back!

This provides mutual benefits: financial incentive for you to learn, and some small support to the project in case you skipped a day or two.

In the future for people who take the pledge, I plan on having this tied to additional extra features. Let me know if you’re interested in trying this out!

🎶 Song Packs

Like podcast packs, but from popular songs instead of educational podcasts. Disney has a lot of these for each language! Song lyrics are a good way to learn full sentences and how the cool kids are speaking the language these days.

I’ve been learning some Cantonese through Jackie Chan’s epic rendition of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Disney’s Mulan.

☕ Memory Handles

It’s extremely helpful when trying to memorize a word to create a mnemonic. A memory handle that records how you plan on remembering the word. It could be an image, a story, or relation to another word you know (either in English or the target language).

I hope to add a feature to the flashcards where you can create a memory handle to help you remember how you’ll remember a vocabulary. For example, a stock image with a caption, word maps, a jingle (especially if from a song pack), or a drawing.

And cups have handles too. Clever, eh?

🙏 Try out Moments. Please let me know of any bugs or suggestions. Thanks for reading and supporting the project!

Updates on Coupling (06/25)

SMS study reminders, summary reports, get paid to contribute to booster packs!

The world is opening up; it’s an opportune time to start improving your language skills before you visit your partner’s family or travel! I’ll be living in Mexico City for a month in September, so I’ll be using Coupling to improve my Spanish 💪. Check out the improvements I’ve been working on for the past month of June.

⚡ Open Coupling in Your Browser

(check out the last update: Introducing Weekly Report Cards)

🚀 Updates on Coupling

📱 SMS Reminders to Study

Schedule a daily SMS reminder to complete your daily learn

Sometimes we need a little nudge to help us remember to complete our daily learning goals. Set a reminder for yourself at a time of day you’d like to set aside. If you haven’t completed your learning goals by that time, you’ll receive a text message from Coupling to get on it!

I do prefer you complete your daily learn before then, because each text costs me $0.0075!

📈 Daily Email Summary Reports

Get statistics and summary in your and your partner’s inbox of what you learned and reviewed today

After completing your daily learn, you have to option to receive a progress report for the day in both your inboxes. You and your partner will be able to see what vocabulary you started learning or what vocabulary you might be struggling with.

Then you know words and phrases will be good to practice or banter with in real life. It’s been working well for us!

🔎 Search Bar

Search your vocabulary deck!

I added a search bar for you and your partner to be able to search your vocabulary. You can search for either the English side or your target language side.

Later, I’ll add more sorting options: by last reviewed, most recently started learning, newest added, alphabetical, and by learning progress.

💸 New Booster Pack System, Open for Paid Contributions

Booster packs now consist of only native speaker verified translations and are open for anyone to contribute or edit (bounty included).

Booster packs are packs of vocabulary you can browse and add to your deck. With the exception of the starter deck, booster packs were automatically generated for every language.

I’ve removed the generated translations and now booster packs only feature curated and verified translations to ensure 100% accuracy. Until I procure native speakers to populate them, for most languages, translations are blank.

Contribute to Booster Packs, Earn Money

For native speakers, earn $0.05 per contributed translation in booster packs

Booster packs are open for anyone to contribute! If your native speaking partner is open to helping you and the community out, they can browse to a booster pack, and click on a vocabulary to contribute a translation.

I’m putting up a bounty of $0.05 per translation from a native speaker! With over 400 vocabulary in the booster packs, that’s about $20 for perhaps an hour of work. Each contribution will be recorded and tallied.

For most of you, this offer would be extended to your native speaking partner (e.g., Spanish, German, Japanese, Vietnamese, French). Contact me if you have questions and want to get started (

I’ve made the contribution process extremely quick by displaying translations and dictionary entries so often they don’t even have to type. Just tap on the correct translation from the list.

100% Booster Packs for Chinese and Cantonese

Chinese and Cantonese booster packs are 100% populated with curated and verified translations.

While most languages don’t have their booster packs filled out yet, I’ve procured 400 curated and verified translations from a native speaker (thanks wife!) for Chinese and Cantonese booster packs.

👐 What’s Next?

🎧  Language Learning Podcasts

I am going to curate and feature educational language learning podcasts in Coupling. These podcasts have professional language teachers walking you through the language and teaching grammar and vocabulary. This gives a foundation of fundamentals such as grammar, tones, or cultural notes.

On top of just featuring podcasts, I’m going to gather each vocabulary they introduce, and make booster packs out of them. As you listen to the podcast, you can add vocabulary to your deck to ensure you’re not just listening and forgetting.

Once that vocabulary gets added to your deck, they earn a one-way ticket to becoming baked into your memory.

There may even be an auto-add by timestamp feature so vocabulary gets added as they introduce them in real time. This can then extend to educational YouTube videos, popular songs, or TV shows.

Thanks for reading and supporting the project!

Loading more posts…