In a foreign language immersion environment, speaking and listening skills are essential as they help connect us with the local community. But, while interacting with native speakers of other languages is the norm when you are abroad, having a language partner is less common in self-study approaches, especially with regard to people who use language applications and online learning platforms.
The goal of the typical language learner is to be able to communicate with people from all over the world. So why spend so little time practicing and so much time studying grammar and vocabulary? This is where language exchange sites come in. Most of them are free and offer robust forums with plenty of foreign language speakers from a variety of languages.
The online language learning community has seen an explosion of new applications over the past five years, the tools that provide everything a self-taught person needs to achieve mastery of a foreign language, no matter where he or she is located. . Gone are the days of relying on school programs to introduce you to foreign correspondents. The Internet has broken down borders, and digital language exchange solutions are developing new match-making algorithms every day. Here are some new tools you might want to try:
The 7 best language exchange sites with real partners
1. WeSpeke is a social network for learners that makes it both convenient and fun to find language partners. You tell them a bit more about yourself (interests, ability level) and who your ideal language partner is (languages spoken, age, country) and they suggest people to contact you.
2. GoSpeaky uses a match-making algorithm to introduce you to native speakers from around the world. They have mobile apps or you can use their service on the web. Once you’ve completed your profile, it’s easy to get started.
3. HiNative is a fantastic free service where you can not only ask questions about the language you are learning, but contribute to the community by providing feedback for people studying your native language.
4. Tandem takes your profile information, then makes a decision on how you fit into their language learning community. Once you have, find a partner with the same interests and languages as you, you will be ready to begin!
5. HelloTalk is really about the conversation and uses voice technology to create a language exchange where you can actually call native speakers (or just send text messages if you prefer). They also have nifty voice text-and transliteration tools that come in options when you’re learning a language with a different alphabet.
6. Busuu is more of a language learning tool, but they do have a feature where native speakers who are on the platform to learn another language can submit corrections and review your productive exercises (such as responses to prompts from writing).
7. italki is the place to go when you want to find a native speaker tutor to help you practice your language. You will have to pay for the service and speak through an outside provider like Skype, but you can search their database for specialists in all areas.