Slovak

Speaky

Quick Review

3.7 

Summary:

Speaky is a social language-learning app for people interested in language exchange. It’s available for iOS, Android, and the web. Users can chat with other language learners, share photos, leave voice messages or even have voice calls. The basic features on Speaky are free to use, but access to more than five translations per day requires a subscription.

Community

There are some dedicated language learners on Speaky but not as many as similar apps.

Features

The platform is easy to use but lacks advanced features.

Value

Speaky is mostly free to use, extra features are available for a subscription.

Languages

There are over 100 languages on Speaky. These include popular languages like Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, etc.

Price

The basic features on Speaky are free to use. A premium membership is available for a subscription.

1-month Subscription $5.99/month
6-month Subscription $4.83/month
12-month Subscription $3.91/month

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HiNative

Quick Review

3.7 

Summary:

HiNative is a Q&A app for language learners that want to have questions answered by native speakers. It’s available for iOS, Android and desktop, and it has over three million registered users. A free version is available that offers the basic features of the app.

Platform

The app is pretty basic, but it works.

Features

Many users are very helpful, but not all questions receive intelligent responses.

Value

The basic functions of the app are available for free, but you’ll need to pay for audio or video features.

Price

The basic features of HiNative are free to use. A premium subscription is available for $5.68/month paid monthly, or $4.96/month paid annually (a $59.63 payment).

Languages

HiNative supports just about any language.

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Tandem

Quick Review

4.7 

Summary:

Tandem is a popular language exchange app with over one million active users. It’s available for iOS and Android and aims to bring language learners from all over the world together. It’s largely centered around its chat capabilities and language tools that facilitate communication, but there is also a tutoring service offered in the app.

Community 

There are lots of active language learners, especially those looking to pair with native English speakers.

Features 

The interface is intuitive and the language tools are simple and effective, though you’ll quickly run out of free translations.

Value

The free version is all most people will need. Tandem Pro doesn’t add a ton of extra value.

Price

There is a limited free version of Tandem and a pro version available at $6.99 for one month, $3.99/month for three months, and $2.92/month for a year’s subscription.

Languages

There are over 160 languages offered on Tandem.

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Mango Languages

Quick Review

3.5 

Summary:

Mango Languages is a pretty good resource with numerous languages available along with their regional variations.  It’ll work the best for beginners or for those interested in studying a few languages at the same time. Anybody past the intermediate level won’t find Mango Languages very useful.

Quality

It is well designed, has a beautiful interface, and is intuitive to use.

Thoroughness

There are some gaps in terms of writing and grammar, along with a lack of materials for intermediate or higher level students.

Value

The price is fair and will give you access to materials for over 70 languages.

Price

A subscription to Mango Languages costs $7.99/mo for one language or $17.99/mo for all languages.

Alternatives: Babbel and Lingodeer are somewhat similar but a bit better, while Duolingo is free.

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Clozemaster

Quick Review

4.2 

Summary:

Ideal for people who are already at an upper beginner/intermediate level, Clozemaster will help you build your vocabulary and learn new words and sentences in context. While you won’t learn much grammar or improve your speaking and writing much, it is great at what it does and the videogame aspect makes it fun and addictive to work though. Although the exercises are all pretty much identical, there are various ways in which you can increase the difficulty and Clozemaster’s free account is almost as good as the Pro User one.

Quality

Very easy to use with thousands upon thousands of sentences for you to work through, Clozemaster’s main exercises are well-designed though some features are a bit hit and miss.

Thoroughness

Although you aren’t given any explanations, Clozemaster’s huge database of sentences allows you to learn words in context.

Value

The free version offers a ton of value, but for those who use Clozemaster regularly, it may be worth upgrading to a Pro account.

Price

The free version is very useful, but you can upgrade to a pro account for $8/month or $60/year.

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HelloTalk

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary:

HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.

Community

There’s an active community of dedicated learners, but you’ll have to do some searching.

Features

The app is easy to use and the language tools are helpful, but you could end up relying on google translate.

Value

Both the basic and VIP membership provide great value. The paid audio lessons probably aren’t worth it however.

Languages

There are over 150 languages supported for language exchange, and there are audio lessons for 10 languages: English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Arabic, and Portuguese.

Price

The basic features of HelloTalk are free. Audio lessons require a separate subscription after a short trial period.

HelloTalk VIP is available for:

$4.99/month
$2.17/month (12-month contract)
$124.99 for lifetime access

The HelloTalk audio lessons are available for a one-year subscription at prices ranging from $99 to $119 depending on the language.

Learning a new language when you’re nowhere near other speakers of that language can be tricky. For example, I’m currently in Nepal and trying to learn Italian. I don’t exactly get a lot of opportunities to practice Italian here.

Fortunately for me, and many others, the world wide web is making the world smaller every day. Opportunities for language exchange are becoming more accessible all the time, and HelloTalk is part of the movement.

From the HelloTalk website: “Our mission is to utilize technology to connect the world through language and culture.”

To this end, they seem to be doing a pretty good job. But will you be able to learn a language with HelloTalk?

It won’t take you all the way, but it could potentially become a valuable part of your language learning process.

HelloTalk is a language-learning app available for iOS and Android that facilitates language exchange between over 10 million users.

The profile page of a Chinese HelloTalk member.

The app also offers audio lessons, but it’s primarily a social medium centered around language learning and exchange. It aims to connect users that are interested in practicing with others through the use of language tools and social posts.

HelloTalk Language Tools

HelloTalk uses built-in language tools to enable communication between people that don’t necessarily have a lot of language overlap.

The idea is that even as a beginner of a language, you’ll be able to communicate with someone using that language. Here’s what it looks like:

The language tools menu for messages.

Long-pressing any message will display this menu of language tools. You have the option to view a translation, a transliteration or listen to text-to-speech audio of the selected message. You can also make corrections to the message if speaking with someone that’s learning your native language.

The other options in the menu are pretty basic and what you’d find in most messaging apps, things like copy, forward, and delete.

I’d never used a resource that used these tools in this way, and I liked it. If you’re able to find a language partner that is patient and willing to correct your mistakes, you can learn a lot fairly quickly.

For absolute beginners, it’s hard to see how you wouldn’t rely entirely on the translation function, which would be minimally helpful in learning the language.

This is a cool way to communicate with someone from a country whose language you’d like to learn, even if you’re not in that country. I’ve been able to communicate with Italians who are living in Italy, and that’s boosted my confidence with the language; I’ve also been able to ask questions about the culture and places I’d like to visit.

Layout

The app is broken up into four major categories: Talks, Moments, Search, and Learn.

The first three categories are all social features. They’re for connecting and communicating with other HelloTalk members.

The final category, Learn, is where the language instruction happens.

Talks

This is where all of your conversations with language partners are kept.

The messenger inbox in HelloTalk.

Aside from the language tools, the Talks are just like most other messaging apps. You can also draw and send a doodle if you’re feeling artistic or use the introduce button to connect two users with each other.

More options for messaging like doodles or attaching images.

I was happy with the functionality of the Talks feature. It’s intuitive and practical — no problems here.

Moments

Moments are similar to posts on other social media sites. People post pictures or updates about their lives and they become public to people learning relevant languages.

You can also do nifty things like request corrections and record yourself speaking. Most people seemed to be posting pictures from their hometowns or asking for specific language help.

Social posts in the Moments section of HelloTalk.

The Moments section is broken up into seven smaller subcategories, each of them acting as a filter to see only certain kinds of posts.

All: In this tab, you’ll see all of the Moments posted by people that are learning or speak the language you’re learning.

Help Others – If you select this tab, you’ll only see Moments posted by people looking for guidance. This means they’ve tagged their post with “Please correct me” or something similar. This can be a good way to find language partners to practice with.

An example of a HelloTalk member asking for corrections.

Following – Much like Instagram and Facebook, you can follow and be followed by other users. Following someone means you’ll receive a notification any time they post a Moment.

Nearby – This filter shows you Moments posted by people that are near your location. I used the app in Pokhara, Nepal, and there were no other users nearby.

Learn – Looking at Moments from the Learn tab will only show those Moments posted in your target language. This is kind of cool — it’s not unlike having access to a foreign language Facebook feed. If you have a habit of idly scrolling through social feeds, why not use it to improve your language skills?

Voice – These Moments utilize the voice recording function. You’ll come across quite a variety of content using this filter. Some people use it to read in their target language and are looking for pronunciation feedback. Others use it to speak slowly in their native language to help others with pronunciation. I also got to hear some interesting singing, though whether this is unique to the Italians using the app I’m not sure.

Classmates – You’ll find other users learning the same language as you here. For me, this meant I saw only Moments posted by native English speakers that were learning Italian.

Search

The search function is for finding language partners. It shows users that are native speakers of your target language and are learning your native language. This means I saw native Italian speakers that were learning English.

Search results for a native English speaker learning Italian.

If you’re a native English speaker, you’ll have no shortage of language partners.

In my experience, which I found seconded in this Reddit discussion, it’s significantly easier to find good language partners in the Moments section instead of Search.

Though I haven’t come across any myself, it seems that a fair number of people use the app for dating purposes and flirting as opposed to language learning. This wasn’t an issue for me, but the female experience might differ.

While I didn’t have a problem with flirty language partners, I did message people that never responded and others that just didn’t seem that interested in practicing a language.

By interacting with people via the Moments section before messaging them privately, you can be sure you’re messaging people that are active on the app and also share a common interest with you.

Learn

In addition to facilitating language exchange, HelloTalk provides language learning in the form of audio lessons for 10 languages.

List of languages that have audio lessons.

These audio lessons were not developed by HelloTalk, and some of them are still available through the original developers. More on this below.

The audio lessons page for Italian.

For Italian, the audio lessons are marketed as HelloTalk’s HelloItalian learning product, but the speakers in the lessons refer to ItalianPod and ask you to visit the Praxis Languages website. If you try to visit these sites, you’ll find that they no longer exist. It’s a similar story for all of the app’s audio courses.

For unlimited access to the audio lessons, you’ll need to purchase a subscription, and the price varies slightly for each language. For access to any of the languages, you’ll only have the option to pay for a year at a time. For HelloItalian, the price was a discounted $102.

The subscription page for Italian audio lessons.

There’s some fine print that says you’ll be charged through your iTunes account and that the subscription will be managed through iTunes.

It’s very important to note that paying for a subscription to these audio lessons does not appear to give you a VIP membership to the app and vice versa. They are two different services available at two different prices.

This all felt very strange to me; it seemed uncoordinated and awkward. I wasn’t able to find any trace of HelloItalian audio lessons outside of the app. My searches on Google and iTunes came up empty.

As with Italian, I wasn’t able to find the original podcasts for Spanish or Russian online (SpanishPod and RusPod), but I was able to find those for Chinese and Arabic.

ChinesePod Logo     Arabic Anywhere Logo

HelloTalk uses audio content from ChinesePod as its HelloChinese course. The price through HelloTalk is just slightly cheaper than paying directly through ChinesePod, but it isn’t clear whether you’ll get the same amount of content.

For Arabic, HelloTalk uses some of the paid material from Arabic Anywhere for its audio lessons. They offer quite a few lessons and resources for free, so it’s probably worth checking their website out before you drop a hundred dollars through HelloTalk.

I sampled several audio lessons from different languages and found them to all be similar in structure. You first browse the lessons by level or topic.

Where you can browse by level or topic for audio lessons.

The lessons are all short, around 10 minutes, and are centered around a piece of dialogue. The lesson begins by playing the dialogue three times. Then, the hosts of the lesson go through the dialogue slowly, translating the conversation and giving extra information.

I liked the hosts for the HelloItalian lessons. They were engaging and playful and offered some cool insights into Italian culture.

In addition to the audio, you have access to the written dialogue where you’ll be able to see translations of each line and listen to a select piece of audio.

Written dialogue of HelloItalian audio lesson.

The explanation button for each line of audio provides a translation of each word in the phrase.

In the vocabulary section of each lesson, you’ll have access to a list of all the words in the dialogue plus some related words.

Vocabulary list for HelloItalian audio lesson.

You can listen to the pronunciation of each of these words and save the important or difficult ones to your favorites list.

The sentences section shows some extra sentences that are related to the topic of the lesson along with audio and translations.

Extra sentences for a HelloItalian audio lesson.

The grammar provided with the audio lessons is presented as a block of text — not the most engaging content I’ve come across.

The grammar explanation for a HelloItalian audio lesson.

There’s actually some good information in there, but the formatting makes it really hard to digest. It’s unfortunate; all it would take are some paragraph breaks and maybe some bullet points to make the material much more useable and easier to take in.

You get access to a few lessons in each language for free before your free trial ends. You’ll then need to purchase a subscription in order to listen to any more lessons.

Overall, the audio lessons seemed just okay to me. The grammar instruction is limited, there aren’t any assessments, and it’s entirely self-directed. They feel disconnected from the social aspects of the app and I was never tempted to purchase a subscription.

Me

This is your HelloTalk profile. It’s made up of basic information such as your name, age, location, self-introduction, native language and target language. It also lets you see some stats regarding your use of the language tools.

Profile page of an English speaker learning Italian.

The Notepad feature in this part of the app is simply for making personal notes and playing around with the app’s language tools.

Notepad section of HelloTalk where you can practice using the app.

This is kind of a nice extra feature, but not all that useful once you get the hang of things.

HelloTalkVIP

For users that really enjoy the app and want to get a little bit more out of it, there’s the option to upgrade your membership to HelloTalkVIP, which offers the following benefits:

  • Top ranking in search to get more matches
  • Unlimited translations
  • Learn/Teach up to three languages
  • More language partners – up to 25 new partners a day
  • Filter users by gender
  • No ads
  • VIP stickers and greeting cards
  • Personalize your profile by pinning three of your favorite posts

In the app it also says that a VIP membership will enable you to “search around the world” and “search for nearby users and Moments,” but this is something you can do with the free version.

It’s pretty inexpensive, and if you used the app a lot it could make sense for you.

The only advertised feature of a VIP membership I found myself wanting was the ability to learn more than one language at a time. You can freely change which language you’re currently learning at any time though, so I got around this pretty easily.

Pricing

Most of the social HelloTalk features are available with a free membership.

For those that want to learn or teach up to three languages and get a few extra perks, it’s possible to get a HelloTalk VIP membership. You can pay monthly, yearly, or for lifetime access:

$4.99/month
$2.17/month (12-month contract)
$124.99 for lifetime access

List of prices for HelloTalk VIP subscription.

The audio lessons in the HelloTalk app are available to those willing to purchase a year-long subscription. The price varies slightly by language and range from $99 to $119.

Alternatives

italki is a great resource for finding one-on-one teachers, and it’s also got some similar features to HelloTalk. The app-based community features are lively, and can make a great place for finding language exchange partners for free.

italki also has an Exercise feature, which allows users to make posts in their target language for others to correct. This is very similar to the way HelloTalk lets users post Moments and ask for corrections.

Another language exchange resource is Tandem. It has a lot of similar features to HelloTalk, and works in much the same way, but the overall feel is a bit different. Both options are worth checking out and if one doesn’t suit you, the other might.

If audio lessons or language instruction is what you’re after, there are a bunch of options out there. Our top picks vary by language, but you can check out our favorites by clicking on a language in the table below.

MOST RECOMMEND RESOURCES BY LANGUAGE

Final Thoughts

HelloTalk is a cool way to bring language practice into your everyday life without it feeling like study. If you’re someone that really likes social apps and messaging people, or likes to spend idle time scrolling through social feeds, this app might be able to turn your downtime habits into something productive.

I don’t think there’s that much value in the VIP membership, but it’s inexpensive and would make sense for someone that uses the app religiously.

In any case, HelloTalk is at most a great resource for supplementing study. The social chat feature is what it does best, and it makes it easy to connect with other language learners around the world.

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Memrise

Quick Review

Summary:

Memrise is a super popular language-learning app available online and on mobile. It functions much like a gamified flashcard app, and it offers a lot of content for free. A lot of the content is user-created, and there is a premium subscription that provides access to additional features. Memrise can be a great tool in your arsenal, but you’ll need more to learn a language seriously.

Quality

The mobile app looks great and is easy to use, but the website is clunky. Works very well for memorization.

Thoroughness

There are quite a few official Memrise courses, and the number of user-created courses is massive, but you’ll benefit from using additional resources.

Value

The free version of the app provides a lot of value, but the paid version doesn’t offer much more.

Languages

There are currently official Memrise courses for 21 languages.

Among others, these include: Spanish, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Russian.

If you count the user-generated courses, the list of languages is nearly endless.

Price

For the full version of Memrise, the subscription prices are:

$8.99/monthly
$59.99/annually
$139.99 – lifetime subscription

Signing up for a free account with Memrise automatically gives you access to limited versions of their official courses.

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uTalk

Quick Review

3.7 

Summary:

uTalk is a software program and mobile app offering learning material in over 140 languages. Its approach is based on learning keywords and phrases through gameplay. It covers a wide range of phrases, each spoken by a female and male native speaker, consequently offering listening and pronunciation practice.

uTalk is most useful for beginners who want to get started in a language by learning key phrases. It could also be useful for intermediates looking to fill gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation, but it does not offer any in-depth language instruction or grammar explanations.

It’s also worth mentioning that for some languages, such as Basque, the occasional overly literal translation leads to small errors and unnatural phrasing creeping in. However, we haven’t seen instances in which this would result in you being misunderstood, and there’s no denying uTalk’s value for languages with fewer learning resources.

Quality

The app is very user-friendly, and the content is mostly useful, but little variation in practice activities can become repetitive.

Thoroughness

The app does a good job of teaching key words and phrases, but review opportunities aren’t as transparent or comprehensive as they could be.

Value

The price is very low, there’s a lot of content, and the right learner could get some serious practical use out of the resource.

Price

$2.99/month on a monthly basis and can be canceled at any time
$1.67/month for a year-long subscription
$1.00/month for a two-year subscription

*This is the price for the more popular languages like Spanish, German, Arabic, etc. Less common languages such as Afrikaans and Tibetan cost slightly more.

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Transparent Language

Quick Review

1.8 

Summary:

Transparent Language markets itself as “the most complete language-learning system for independent learners.” While there are lots of different exercises for you to work through in their Essentials Course, I thought that the material wasn’t all that helpful and that it got very repetitive. Although the courses might not be all that useful or in-depth, with over a hundred languages on offer it might be worth checking out if you want to learn the very basics of a more obscure language such as Buriat, Kazakh or Turkmen. But, even then, I’d try to find other resources first.

Quality

While the exercises are for the most part well-designed, diverse and easy to use, it is the core material itself that I found lacking.

Thoroughness

I hardly came across any explanations at all; practice was almost exclusively memorizing words and phrases.

Value

I would only consider using if it were free and I was studying a very rare language.

Price

There is a free two-week trial period for you to try it out. Otherwise, it is $24.95 per month or $149.95 for a whole year if you just select one language. If you want access to all of the languages it is then $49.95 per month and $249.95 a year.

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Glossika

Quick Review

3.2 

Summary:

Glossika has learning resources for over fifty languages that impressively range from Armenian and Czech to Icelandic and Tagalog.

While not suitable for absolute beginners, lower intermediates could use the resource to familiarise themselves with sentences in their language of choice using Glossika´s intuitive approach.

Listening to native speakers and repeating what they say can help learners to improve their comprehension skills and spoken fluency.

While it is amazing that so many languages are included, learners would have to use numerous other resources alongside it. The cost is unjustifiably high.

Quality

The audio recordings are well made but other aspects could be improved

Thoroughness

Glossika covers an impressive number of languages but their method requires you to intuitively learn

Value

Polyglots may find the price to be fair but for most language learners it’s overpriced

Price

You can try out Glossika´s learning method for free with their week-long trial. The monthly subscription costs $30 a month. The annual subscription costs $24.99 a month and will set you back 299.88$ in total.

Click the link below to save $5 on a subscription to Glossika.

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