I recently returned home to Australia and one of the first things I was made to do was sort through the many crates of stuff I had left in my parents roof. It’s all well and good to say you’re planning on selling everything you own to take off and travel the world, though when push comes to shove, there are sentimental items which you could never possibly throw. And when trading your life for full time travel, you need somewhere for these items to go. Learn a new lanaguage
Among the many piles of sheet music, awards, old school books, photos, university assessments, and postcards I had collected from sporadic trips abroad, I found bundles of letters. Letters from my high-school years, and letters which reminded me that, at one stage in my life, I spoke Japanese. At another stage in my life I spoke Spanish – well enough to correspond with pen pal’s in Costa Rica and Japan. How to learn a new language
Though if you asked me to translate these letters for you now I would have absolutely no clue. The Japanese characters on bright pink Hello Kitty stationary, ramblings of two excited teenage girls, are now completely foreign, and I have no idea as to what I once said.
As soon as I left high school I stopped corresponding with my friends, stopped practicing a different language, and that knowledge is now completely gone. It was too hard to stay in touch, and too difficult without a teacher there to help translate correspondence back and forth. Quickest way to learn a new language
But what a fantastic way to inspire your thirst for knowledge about the world, and what a fun approach to learning a new language; actually talking to people and making friends as you go.
I give my high-school credit for that initiative, and I did actually meet my Japanese pal on a year 9 language trip in 2003. It’s just a shame we’re no longer in touch. If only apps like Hello Pal had been around back then, perhaps we still would be! And perhaps I would still know how to speak Spanish and Japanese. How to learn a new language
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The Social Language Chat App
When I started traveling, there weren’t the sleuth of technology, apps and start-ups which are around today, and it was very easy for a snail mail relationship to die out. It was also only through a sister-school partnership at my High School that I had the opportunity to meet and correspond with a foreign friend. Though fantastically, it’s now so easy to find foreigners from all over the world and strike up conversations, and these friendships are easier to maintain than ever before.
Social language chat apps like Hello Talk and Any Talk are popping up left right and center these days, though one app I have become particularly fond of is Hello Pal, which really stands out from the rest; an inventive, innovative and fun way to start speaking a foreign language in seconds. A free social language learning app that lets you make friends as you learn the language.
You can connect with a new pen-pal from anywhere in the world, communicate with them, in their language, without any prior knowledge of the language yourself. You’ll be able to speak any language at a much greater speed than ordinarily would have been possible. And you can do this all in the palm of your hand, without having left home. Though let’s be honest – it’s fun to travel and test out your new language in person too! Learn a new language fast
Hello Pal: Immersion is the Best Method for Language Learning
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could easily have a conversation with someone in a totally foreign language such as Chinese? Wouldn’t it be even cooler if you could do that in just a few minutes? How to learn to speak another language
To be speaking in a totally foreign language with someone else halfway around the world in minutes is a pretty bold claim, (and they do mean with your voice, not just using text translations), but Hello Pal have hit it home in recognizing that immersion really is the best method for language learning. And the app is super straight forward with little effort and fuss.
Rather than having you study boring and often complex grammar, syntax and vocabulary, Hello Pal chooses to throw you in the deep end (with flotation devices!) and teaches you how to swim.
You pair yourself with a native speaker, and there’s a unique phrase book integrated into its chat system which allows you to learn and speak on the go. Type or physically speak the phrases into your phone, and away you go! It’s that easy to begin a conversation, even in a language you didn’t know existed minutes before.
After you’ve spent a while chatting back and forth, you really do begin to pickup the new tongue. You quickly learn that the best way to learn a language is not by first learning about boring grammar rules and vocabulary, but by starting with what makes language learning fun; using the language and actually talking to people!
Let me put it this way, would you rather spend hours hunched over text books in a stuffy library, battling through grammar tomes, or chatting with real native speakers who can offer feedback on the spot and with whom you can actually get to know? Say Sayonara to expensive and boring classes where you give up before you’ve even spoken a single word of what you’ve learned to someone else. Instead, say Hola! to new language skills and new friends from all over the world!!
How Does Hello Pal Work?
First start a chat with a new pal and choose a language phrasebook, say Chinese. After you find the phrase you like, listen to the guide audio. Record yourself saying it and send it to your pal. And that’s it – you’ve just started talking in a foreign language with a new friend!
The app also helps to understand messages you get back, whatever the language. You’ll be on your way to learning new languages and making new friends in no time! Learn multiple languages and choose a many language pals as you want based on different criteria such nationality, native language and location. And there’s absolutely no pressure either – conversations are not in real time, you you can learn and chat at your own pace.
Literally in just a few minutes I was conversing with a native Japanese person in…wait for it…Japanese!
It’s a given that in the beginning, you’ll just listen and repeat. You’re mainly memorizing the sound of the phrases, and repeating them as you record the phrases to others. After a while of speaking the same phrases over and over again to many different people, you’ll find that you’ll start remembering how to say what you want to say and when you want to say it, without needing to use the Phrasebook for those phrases!
Once you start experimenting with modifying phrases using the Vocab List function, you’ll start to pick up new key vocabulary, and quickly multiplying the number of phrases you know how to say, and slowly building up confidence in your language ability. As you continue using the vocab lists, not only will you expand your vocabulary, but you will also get a better understanding of the structure of the phrase, and which words mean what.
Phrasebooks are like training wheels — you won’t need them after a while.
Pro Tip: At the beginning, save phrases like “I’m a beginner” or “I’ve just started learning” to tell your new friend that you’re just starting out. If you mimic the guide recordings too well, the other person may think you’re a fluent speaker and will then start talking to you at that level!
If you Travel you NEED Hello Pal
The landscape of travel planning is changing with apps like Hello Pal, and now instead of buying a guidebook or language phrasebook to help interact with locals while abroad, it’s possible to meet locals and start practicing a new language before you leave home. And why not start interacting with locals right now? Locals who could help shape the itinerary of your trip with inside advice.
These kind of social language apps are breaking down language barriers left and right, and if your aim is to connect and interact with other people in the world, you need this app. Technically you don’t even need to be traveling to enjoy it!
Here’s a quick summary of everything it’s got:
Match Yourself With Pals From All Over the World: Using Hello Pal’s filtering and matching abilities, you can easily find pals that suit your criteria. Filter by native language, learning language, nationality, location, etc.
The world is suddenly a much smaller place!
First in the World Phrase Books: Integrated into their chat system are unique Phrasebooks designed for online-chatting. Simply choose a phrase, listen to the professionally-recorded guide audio, and repeat after it. Then send it to your pal!
You’ll be learning and speaking, on the go!
Customizable phrases to suit you: Not only can you choose from 2000 phrases (organized in 14 categories and over 100 subsections), many of the phrases can be customized to suit your particular situation. For example:
“I also speak English” ⇒ “I also speak French”
“You look pretty” ⇒ “You look cute”
Choose from over 80 vocabulary lists and thousands of options.
Don’t just parrot – truly understand: Phrases also come with literal translations and comments where appropriate, giving you a much deeper understanding of what you’re saying, and revealing sentence structure and grammar.
Not only will these help you learn the language faster, but they will often also give you an insight into the culture behind the language!
Powerful translation tools: When not using Phrasebooks, you can still chat freely with your pal on any topic and in any language. Using the built-in translation tools, you can:
- Translate incoming text messages
- Translate what you wish to say into your pal’s language
- Pronounce the translated text with the help of (i) guide audio; and (ii) romanized text for languages like Chinese (“pinyin”) and Korean.
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Photo credits: Featured by The LEAF Project.