App Review: HelloTalk

If you’re like me, your smartphone/tablet is your #1 tool to learn Chinese (or foreign language). This also means that you’re constantly on the prowl for new apps to boost your learning 🙂 I wanted to share a fairly awesome tool for all you language learners called “Hello Talk”. I saw it on Moses McMormick YouTube channel (laoshu who invented FLR Technique). This app will help you “Chat your way to better Chinese“, a method that Olle from Hacking Chinese has proposed as a good way to learn a language.

They just re-designed their interface, which means it looks all nice and pretty, so good timing for this review!

First things first, check out their introductory video. It kind of shows you in a very brief way how the app works. When you first download it you will be able to register with your e-mail, facebook, twitter or weibo. It will prompt you for a name, password, your birthday and a profile pic if you signed up with e-mail. Next, it will ask you where you’re from and your native language, what language you are learning and your language level (Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced or Proficient). The number of language options are extraordinary, they even have Shanghai dialect.

After you register, you can create your profile. Here’s mine:

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Notice it shows you a little country flag (handy for Languages that are shared across countries), age, language level and a picture. Other people’s profiles look like this:

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This is one of my current favorite language partners. She teaches me history

Notice in other people’s profiles you can see the time for the other person. Caroline has a little self-introduction, 自我介绍. You can also record one. Cute, right? Then there are a bunch of options when you open your profile.

 

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My iPod is in Chinese 😉

 

The first option with the little starred notebook is, to me, one of the most useful parts of this app. Basically, in any conversation, when you want to save a specific sentence for later you can “star” it and it goes into your starred notebook:

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The other amazing thing about this app is the ability to give and receive corrections:

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And lastly, in the settings menu you can tweak a bunch of little things like what age-range and gender you’re interested in, if people close by can find you, and if you need to kind of disappear for a while.    IMG_0608

I have found that the age range has been useful because I kind of got tired of talking to teenagers with very, very different interests from mine. Then, at one point there were too many people who wanted to talk to me, so I kind of had to hide for a while from potential language partners.

I feel like this app makes it so easy to have a language partner that not having time is definitely no excuse! Also it’s free, so what are you waiting for?

 

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