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Friday, April 10, 2015

Learn a New Language With the Help of Friends on HelloTalk

Disclosure: HelloTalk is running an ad campaign FreeTech4Teachers.com this month.

HelloTalk is a service designed to help students learn a new language. The service operates through free Android and iOS apps. On the HelloTalk apps you can find flashcards, text to speech tools to help you understand how words should be pronounced, speech to text tools to practice your pronunciations, and translation tools are included in the app. HelloTalk currently supports seventeen languages.

A few months ago Nik Peachey, whose work I have long respected, featured HelloTalk in a webinar. The webinar recording has expired but the slides are still available here.

HelloTalk provides a social network component that allows users to connect with native speakers of the languages that they are trying to learn. The connection with native speakers is intended to help learners develop an understanding of a new language in a conversational setting. I was concerned about students under 18 being contacted by adults through the HelloTalk network so I asked the developer about measures taken to prevent this. Here's what he said,
  • "anyone above 18 can't search anyone below 18 (you can verify this by looking at HelloTalk account Settings/Who Can Find Me or Custom Search. Users under 18 can only search for users up to age 22. We deliberately set these rule to protect teenagers."