Updates on Coupling (2/19)

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Happy Friday! Thanks for subscribing for early access, Coupling is ready to try! Schedule a time on this calendar, and I’ll give you access to the app so you can start learning a language with your partner and provide feedback.

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(read last month’s update)

Questions & Answers

Previously, we had a way to flag vocabulary for your partner to look at and add notes. That has been replaced with a more concrete question and answer system. You can ask questions on individual vocabulary which your partner will see and can then directly reply. If the answer works, you mark the question as resolved.

This will be extended with a question budget or queue, so you have a limit of questions active at any one time, or your partner has a limit of questions in their queue. As to not overload your partner with questions.


As seen above, see notifications when your partner asks or answers a question, or adds vocabulary for you. This doesn’t send external email or push notifications yet, it’s just a section in the app you can view important activity between each other.

New Booster Packs

I’ve added more booster packs each containing dozens of vocabulary that you can browse and add to your deck in one tap. Pick what is relevant to learn for you from a continuously expanding array of categories and situations. As you learn the words, the progress bars displayed next to each vocabulary will fill up. The categories right now cover the basics and what you’d expect from a beginner vocabulary app.

This is meant to give you a foundation, inspiration, and ideas on words and phrases to add to your deck. For beginners and completionists, I’ll add more booster packs, progress bars, and ways of unlocking booster packs and levels as you clear them. I also intend on having a button that you can tap marking that you already know a word or phrase so you don’t have to go through the motions of learning it to count it to your statistics.

Play Mode for Challenge Packs

Challenge packs are like boosters, bundles of vocabulary. But after learning the vocabulary in the challenge pack, challenges culminate in an interactive game to practice memory, listening, and speaking with your partner in real life. Previously, we had challenge packs that just had text instructions, but now, the games are built into the app.

In Simon Says, you take turns giving each other commands to execute a physical action in real life. By listening for a command and then executing it (ranging from “sit down” to more complicated commands such as “stand up, pick up the cup quickly, but don’t drink from it”, your body assists in the process of acquiring vocabulary.

Another challenge is Hide and Seek where one person hides a precious object around the house, and the seeker has to ask questions and listen for answers in the target language to locate the object.

And later, earn badges for completed challenges. I’ll continue to add more challenges, thinking of more games, aiming to create actually fun activities (e.g., Guess Who? in another language, or a Crazy Taxi driving game to learn navigation and directions).

Study Settings

Everyone studies a bit differently, so there will be customization on the review schedules and pace and such.

I’ve added a setting for when studying and reviewing called Show Romanization for people studying languages that don’t use the roman alphabet (e.g., Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Russian). For example, I’m learning Chinese but am learning to read the characters, but many just want to learn to listen and speak.

When studying, if Show Romanization is off, it means you’re intending to learn to read; you will be shown the vocabulary in the target language, and you’ll be prompted to know how it’s pronounced and what it means. If it’s on, you’re intending to learn to just speak and listen; you will be shown the vocabulary in the target language, with its romanization / pronunciation, and are only prompted to know what it means.

Also on tailoring spaced repetition systems, I’ve set a default limit of 10, the number of new vocabulary per day that can enter your learning schedule. This prevents the number of spaced repetition vocabulary reviews from quickly snowballing into a daunting task.

Mobile Dashboard

I simplified the mobile dashboard a bit, with a button to view all of your vocabulary, see basic stats, and area to access resources such as booster and challenge packs. The statistics show a placeholder daily goal, to have three new vocabs per day enter your learning schedule. And total amount of time spent studying and reviewing, where your partner can see how much effort you’ve poured in.

Vocabulary Stats and Settings

I added sections to be able to edit, delete, and review statistics on vocabulary. The statistics are placeholders until I add in something snazzier with charts that stonks up.

Character Decomposition for Chinese

I added this for the Chinese learners. We have phrase and sentence breakdowns for each language, to show what each character or word or segment means individually. For the case of Chinese, I went further and show breakdowns for individual Chinese characters into radicals and components, to provide context for characters.

For other non-romanized languages, we can also go further such as an option to break down alphabets and characters of other languages (e.g., Russian, Japanese). Some languages can use breakdown tables showing tenses and conjugations (e.g., Spanish). Extra context helps learn the story behind everything, providing extra mnemonics to help remember.

Try Coupling!

Schedule a time with me so I can give you free access to try Coupling. It’ll just take a few minutes. I’d love to get feedback to turn this into something useful for you. Thanks for following!

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~ kevin

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