Decode Chinese: We are building the future of language education (Kickstarter coming soon)

This is the crux of the problem. The pain point of learning language is not lack of resources or using more data or more complex tools. It’s how to maintain motivation in face of the unavoidable repetitive years-long process required to memorize vocabulary and grammar.

Also, honestly the webpage is a turn-off. Many buzzwords, bits of content are thrown at your face with little structure, the whole content looks more like a heavy reference textbook than an actual tool to learn a language. Wishing OP well but I’m not convinced.

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I believe we need to remove the erroneous notion that languages require several years to master. Digital language education is currently in its infancy (only like 15 years ago we started) and there is much room for improvements which we are currently resolving.

Our current website is formatted according to a Kickstarter campaign website page layout (limited page width and sections) and is only a placeholder for now to be able to get our message out there. Please read the post above if you want to learn more about what makes Decode unique. Soon we will update with more information and better graphics which you can be updated with through our newsletter on our website.

Surely it will be AI. No teacher can specifically cater to a single child’s ability and ideal learning style and pace. Once these AI systems are perfected, everyone will have their own dedicated teacher devoted exclusively to them to maximize their results. Then with brain/AI interfaces added to that, our capabilities as a species will expand exponentially. I wish I could live to see it, but I know that’s very unlikely.

Aha, so my response to IL is in close alignment with your end goals. Everyone thinks I’m a freak when I mention it, but I’m sure it’s the future of all learning, think Montessori powered by AI and direct brain interfaces.

I believe otherwise.

To begin with, the argument that digital language education is in its infancy is laughable. Not because it’s wrong per se, but because it’s overlooking decades of research on language learning strategy–people didn’t wait for screens to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Learning a language is 90% rote, because that’s how long-term memory is trained. If you have found a way to learn +2000 characters and +40000 words of vocabulary that doesn’t take years, you’re in the wrong business and should rather advertise a general memory-searing method rather than a Chinese learning method–much more money to be made there.

That’s hoping you’re not going to arbitrarily redefine what you mean by “mastering a language” as people with language-learning hack claims often do. If you’re not talking about reaching the level in speaking, reading, writing and listening of the average local person, you need to call it something else than “mastery.”

I’m passionate about language learning. As far as memory goes, SNS is the way. The two other components needed for an efficient learning process are application of what you memorized (to transition from the clean environment of your SNS to the complexity of the real world), and finding a way to sustain motivation over the years. And for those you don’t need data or digitalization so much as a smart choice of content and a good understanding of psychology.

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Alexander here from Decode. Thank you for your feedback Baxter and I am glad to see that you have found passion in language learning. I think it is perfectly reasonable for you to be skeptical and I can not prove my statements until we disclose our work in detail within the upcoming months.

Our goal at the moment is to gain feedback and create exposure for our upcoming Kickstarter campaign and thus it was my fault for attempting to prove myself.

However, I think that perhaps you should ask yourself if it is reasonable to immediately discredit more than two years of official university research we have conducted within digital language education. Perhaps things you thought as impossible just might become a reality soon.


That’s fair. I’m just playing with the info I got and the history of dozens of “I found a hack to learn a language faster” claims I bumped into in the past. It’s possible your thing is the real deal; I’m not a believer, but would love it to be true.


She is quite smart. 蔡康永 is really smart though. It was a strange dynamic on a show to have the hosts insulting the guests all the time, something that you didn’t see in the West.

Was also a good window into the entertainment world for the whole Chinese speaking world. Remember that the biggest stars in China used to fly to Taipei regularly to be on the show. What a different world we are living in right now.

But I’m not saying it was good, it wasn’t, but was just about watchable

Could you direct us to to your peer reviewed publications in high impact journals?

Completely agree with you there. Most Taiwanese tv shows are crap. At least 康熙來了 was watchable. I’ve been trying to find something worth watching ever since.

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Hi, I don’t know what’s up with your website, but after I sign up I get a blank page. Trying to reenter my email leads me to get sent a link in my email that lets me “update” my info and then “go back” to a blank page. Tried in multiple browsers, none of them work.

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Hello nz and thank you for your interest in our project.

I just tried the form myself and it seems to work fine for me and several others based on today’s subscription list. You can either send me a DM with your email or try again on another device like your phone.

Perhaps you could send me a screenshot for the problem so I can fix any potential global bugs with our subscription provider.

// Alexander from Decode here.

I am 90% certain that this is a bait but I will play along. Just let me ask you one rhetorical question as a reply. If you have a company conducting research with support of a university to improve your competitive advantage, would you then submit all your findings before you have time to realize them commercially? Even if we wanted to write and publish articles for academic peer review, that is not the purpose of a university innovation project.

However, if you are curious then perhaps it would help to know that we are funded and supported by the Swedish Innovation Agency (Swedish government’s innovation branch), Microsoft For Startups Founders Hub, Taiwan Startup Stadium, along with university innovation programs at Linkoping University (Sweden) and ESADE (Spain).

// Alexander, Decode

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Good luck with the gofundme

papertowel from Forumosa here

If it’s with a university wouldn’t it be public? Even if it isn’t, why hold this back if it could potentially help many people learn a language.

When AI was that good, why would anyone need to learn the language? Won’t translation tools create the pre-Babel scenario where we speak in whatever language we like and out will come a perfect stream of the target language? Or we speak however garbled a version of English we like and it will be rendered into perfect English?

Something funded by a university or a government would probably aim for publications if it were any good. But are we talking


Or what?

But if they think I’m trolling (I almost flagged for that, btw), i guess i shouldn’t give too much more feedback

Hello TT,

Thank you for your question. We are both funded and supported by said university to conduct our research and innovation project since two years ago through our company. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

// Alexander, Decode

Hello Papertowel,

Thank you for your question. There is no requirement for us to publish articles for peer review as a university innovation project. We only reveal our work with our advisors and stakeholders. If you are curious, then you can look into Neo4J (the world’s largest Graph Database) which also started as a university innovation project through the same process. This is today not uncommon at universities where both students and researchers establish a company with support and funding from the university to solve complex problems. As a whole, the researchers gets their research and funding done and universities gets wonderful exposure if the company become successful. Win-win situation. You can read more of these examples over here:

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Have a lovely Sunday.

// Alexander, Decode

I don’t see much of an issue with the explanation given. They’re obviously developing a commercial product as their first priority and they’re under no obligation to publish any research done as part of that to academic journals.

That would be the case for most companies, where publishing is a low priority or an afterthought at most. It’s still “research”. I’d bet that a large majority of research done commercially never gets published.

(I think the company representatives deserve some credit for being so patient with Forumosa actually, first for the “mainland” nonsense and now this.)

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