I have to say that I was in the process of looking for new apps for learning languages and that’s when I got an email for me to test out the HelloTalk App App. It seemed like an interesting App so I figured I would try it out for learning Icelandic. Just like with many language learning sites and apps, there’s not going to be a lot of interested learners of Icelandic nor native Icelandic tutors/teachers willing to teach their language. So I knew going in that there wasn’t going to be a lot of choices of language learning partners to choice from. Consequently, had I chosen a more popular language like Japanese, Spanish or German there would be a lot more language partners to choose from.
However, there are only six (As of writing this blog post) Icelandic language partners to select from, which is quite scarce to be honest. Only two of them were actually learning English or wanted to practise their English. Which means that it was going to be difficult to review this App only based on my interactions with Icelandic users. But before I get into that let’s go over what the App actually offers language learners.
Practice With Native Speakers Through SMS and Phone Conversations
This app is primarily designed to help you get speaking with native speakers as soon as possible. In fact, you can actually send SMS messages and make a FREE call on your phone using this app. How cool is that? I feel like this provides a great opportunity for us to practise even when we’re constantly on the go.
Both Language Partners Have The Opportunity To Practise With Each Other
This is a great option that I wish more language learning site and apps would incorporate. How many times have you tried to find language partners only to find out that they are only interested in practising YOUR native language with them? I know it’s happened to me multiple times in the past. I do think it’s a good idea to give both partners a fair and equal amount of time in each language. That way both partners can benefit instead of just one. How is works is that you select the amount of time you would like to practise your target language and gives your partner the exact same amount of time. That way when you’re finished practising your target language, you can help your exchange partner learn your native language.
Get Your Mistakes Corrected!
This will help you notice the mistakes you’ve made and you can use these corrections to help further your ability in the language. In return, you can correct your language partner’s mistakes so that they can learn from them as well. It also helps build up your conversational skills as well! I always find resources that allow native speaker corrections to be incredibly useful.
What If I Don’t Know How To Say What I Want In The Target Language?
You are in luck because they have a built-in translator to help you express what you want. However, since it is a translator it bound to make quite a bit of errors and mistakes. As a result, this app will display what you’ve written in your native language as well as the translated text from the target language. This is will allow the native speaker to help express what you would like to say through correcting the translated text. If something is still unclear, try your best to describe it to a native speaker.
This App Is ONLY Used For Learning Languages
HelloTalk has made it clear to users that their accounts will be banned if they try to use this app to date other users. Especially since its main goal is to help your learn a new language. Discussions about religion and politics are also forbidden because conversations could easily esculate negatively and users may feel incredibly alienated as result. I have seen this happen on multiple language learning sites and resulted in horrible arguments, users attacking each other, racist remarks, and so on. Which (depending on the website) can be very frustrating to say the least.
It can also make people feel unsafe if they are using a website that was supposed to be for language learning but instead, they are being harrassed, sent pornography, and feeling unwelcome because of who they are and/or their beliefs. If you want to discuss your beliefs or politics it would be a good idea to find another resource that allows you to do just that.
- Connect with native speakers via SMS and Calls through the app.
- Video tutorials.
- Transcription of recorded messages.
- Transliteration of scripts that you’re not yet familiar with (ex: Cyrillic, Katakana, Hiragana, Hangul, Chinese Characters, Arabic script, Hebrew script, etc, etc.) into the Latin alphabet.
- Keeps track of the number of minutes and characters used for you.
- A wide variety of languages to choose from that aren’t just the “mainstream” languages.
- You can only learn ONE language for free and then you have to pay of it.
- Some languages have a limited selection of language partners to choose from.
I would recommend this app for those learning the popular languages (ie: Chinese, French, Arabic, German, etc) first and foremost. Although it does have a quite a few less popular languages such as Icelandic, Dutch, Czech, Dakota and Estonian. As well as conlangs such as Dothraki, Esperanto, Klingon, Lingua Franca Nova, Valyrian and Toki Pona. However, with less popular languages and conlanguages keep in mind that you mind not find as many exchange partners as you would with a popular language. That can’t be helped. Having someone to speak to in real-time or leave an SMS message to be responded to and corrected in the target language makes this app an invaluable resource to have.
What do you think? Will consider using the app? Do you already use this app? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂