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September 2019

Learn to Converse Like a Pro

Become a better speaker with these apps

Conversation may be the most important aspect of learning a new language for many of us. Without the ability to speak well, we would not be able to interact with native speakers effectively. Whether we are learning for leisure or business purposes, becoming a better speaker is a goal we all have in mind.

The traditional methods of improving one’s speaking ability are tried and true. We learn through textbooks, collecting more vocabulary, and familiarising ourselves with grammatical structures. We slowly train our ears in the classroom by speaking and listening with other students, while struggling to understand the teacher when addressed. Over time, we get better and can understand and convey a bit more. This is how it’s normally taught in a classroom setting.

There is just one problem: it’s slow!

With language learning software popping up left and right, students can be engaged in a manner that’s far more enjoyable and flexible. While there are many benefits of learning in a traditional classroom setting with other students, your exposure to native speakers is limited. Language apps can expose you to more content quickly, all from the convenience of your mobile phone, and often for little-to-no money.

Rype

A newer player on the app scene is Rype, a subscription-based language learning app that focuses on immersion. Users are paired with teachers who converse with them, saving up to (according to the company) ten times more time than if one were to learn in a classroom. The app’s immediate immersion strategy supposedly helps students retain up to 18 times the amount of information than they would in a traditional classroom.

Rype’s methodology is a practical one, founded on the principle that immersion and immediate use are far more effective than a lecture, reading, and passive listening. It’s as if you were dropped into the country of your target language and made to start interacting with natives. Additionally, topics are organised by what is most relevant to the learner.

Language Exchange

Rype claims to be the first conversation-focused language learning app on the market, and this certainly seems to be the case. There are, however, many language exchange apps with which students can meet native speakers for conversation. The benefit is that many of these apps are free.

Tandem

Tandem is an app we’ve mentioned more than a few times. Users learning a language are introduced to native speakers of that language who, in turn, hope to learn the user’s native language. A conversation exchange ensues in which each teaches the other their native language. The interface is designed to provide easy correction, and users can chat via audio as well.

HelloTalk

Another useful language exchange app is HelloTalk. This app supports over 150 languages and hosts over 15 million members. The app works like any other chat user interface, except you’re given additional tools to correct and ask for help. Fun features like Moments (status updates to prompt conversation) and learning tools make the app even more robust.

How do you improve your speaking skills in your target language? Are there any apps you like to use? Let us know on the telc English Facebook Page and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on language learning tips!

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