Who wants to chat with me? – It is the most common type of question across spanish learning groups on facebook.
I stumble upon tons of these daily.
Typically, the original poster wants to give english in exchange for spanish, sadly, that’s often not an ideal deal for a native spanish speaker as these people rarely come from english speaking countries.
On top of that, quite a lot of guys on these facebook groups treat those groups as a dating platform.
Of course, if you are lucky, you can find a committed person that will chat with you every now and then in spanish. However, for most of us, establishing a long term relationship at these groups is rare.
It is a growing issue within the spanish learning community, but for every issue there is usually an app that solves that problem.
This time is no different.
Let’s get into it!
This app is probably one of the most undervalued language exchange apps out there. It is nowhere as popular as Duolingo, but from my own personal experience I can tell you right away that it has boosted my spanish a lot more than Duolingo did.
Tandem is a closed community app (you need to get approved manually by them – this is to avoid bots and fake accounts) with real people from all around the world learning pretty much any language out there. It’s not just for spanish learners.
It has very interesting mechanics of matching people with each other. Simply enter in your profile settings what languages do you know and which ones you are trying to learn. After hitting the save button, you’ll be presented with a list of people who know exactly the languages you are trying to learn, and at the same time are looking forward to learn languages that you know.
It’s a win-win scenario.
Tandem gives you an opportunity to chat with real people and from there, there is no way back. What I mean by that is like jumping into deep waters – you have to start texting in spanish!
There is no better way to learn useful conversation phrases than that. Want some tips? There you go: Start with a simple Hola! , then proceed with something like: Como te va con tu alemán? – which translates to: How’s going with your german? (or replace aleman with other language your partner is learning)
That’s a good tandem-opener that works, and from there if you struggle to come up with writing things in spanish, don’t hesitate using google translator.
Really, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?
I did exactly that, my duolingo classes gave me not much when it comes to interacting with real people so I had to rely on google translate. I used to translate whole sentences and then pasted them over into the chat.
From there, I tried to memorize at least a few words from that translated sentence. Then, when chatting with a new person and following the same scenario, which is: Hola, then, como te van con tu…I was able to put a few new words by myself from what I have recently memorized.
After a while I was able to start a conversation and send 3 different messages and after a few days of suing Tandem I developed a whole bunch of useful sentences to use in an online conversation.
Let’s sum this up…
What I really like about Tandem:
- A closed community of verified people
- People are very open and keen to help
- It’s easy to fix someone’s mistakes they made in a previous message
- The fastest way to learn how to write in Spanish (really)
If you enjoyed Tandem, you’ll love HelloTalk. Think of Tandem combined with a big chunk of features from features. Here, users have their own walls where they can post anything, pictures, videos, memes etc. – just like on facebook.
From there, other users can interact with your wall without the need to become friends. This makes first conversations much easier as you can just hit a like button on someone else’s post and he’ll get notified.
On top of that, users can correct each other’s grammar in the comments with a specific tool that underlines mistakes in red color. This way, not only you, but the whole community benefits from one’s grammar fixes. I find it really fascinating.
You can discover other people’s posts in Moments tab.
A side feature I really like in HelloTalk is the ‘Learn’ tab where you’ll find richful word sets you can learn from. Over there you can set up a daily goal of words you want to learn and practice in between chatting with real people.
Be careful, you can get addicted to learning with this app!
What I really like about HelloTalk
- Real, friendly people happy to chat with you
- Tools for grammar corrections
- Facebook-alike community wall
- Beautiful and intuitive interface
Type: Social Group
Reddit is one of the most popular websites in the world.
At least, in the english speaking one.
If you don’t know reddit, let me explain to you what it is in a few words. It’s a very simple link aggregator where users can drop a link into a specific subreddits. One of these subreddits is r/Spanish.
Aside from dropping links, you can easily drop a message to the whole community of r/Spanish. From there, users decide what’s interesting via upvotes and downvotes.
Beware of sorting the content by the most popular in an All-Time timespan. This way you’ll see only memes, which are funny indeed but the best value lies within smaller threads where people discuss various grammar or spelling issues.
Type: Social Group
Yup, that’s another subreddit where you can find useful advice along your spanish journey. This community is much smaller than r/Spanish, but thanks to that there are less memes and more quality discussions on topics like grammar, spelling or conjugations.
Advice: not be a constant lurker, or in other words – take action and participate in discussions. A lot of them are solely in spanish and it’s a great opportunity to practice your writing.
Write just one comment in a thread you find interesting to get your feet wet. Other people will happily respond to you and from there you can take the conversation further.
After a while if reddit suits your needs, you’ll feel like a part of the community and visiting /learnspanish will become your habit.
You need to remember two rules to make this habit really impact your spanish:
- Participate in discussions to practise your writing. Lurking won’t get you far.
- Write only in spanish. Avoid typing comments or starting threads in english like the plague, unless it’s really necessary.
Hungry for more?
You can explore more places like this on our page with the best social platforms for Spanish learners.