Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Learning a New Language | Introducing... uTalk

My Leaves! I know I have been yammering away about learning a new language for a while now, but I have made a lovely discovery!

The phone app to teach and support you with learning your next language. I came across the app on 'bloggersrequired' and saw that I could provide the company with a review* and learn a language at the same time, personally I think I'm the one with more to gain from all this! As always opinions are my own, you may have a different opinion on the product but don't knock it until you've tried it! :)


The Basics

You have the option of three packs for each language (All languages are accessible regardless of the pack):

Basics: (1 topic - Completely FREE :D)

Essentials: (11 topics - £7.99)

Premium: (35 Topics - £12.99)

I had a play around on the Basics before upgrading and found it very useful for deciding which language I wanted to learn. This pack is fine if you don't know if you want to study but, you would need the additional topics if you wanted to progress. I reasoned with the cost being inexpensive compared to other methods and programmes available. When you consider the amount of work it must take to find native speakers and set everything up, you can understand the reason to charge.

The First Impression:

So much choice for languages! Currently 100+ available languages for you to try out and learn! I did a little test by thinking of an unusual (in my opinion) language and it was there! A shining example of this would be Tagalog! :D It has made me, who spent three years studying linguistics, a very happy person to see such a wide array and variety as opposed to sticking with the standard options. I know I have settled with learning Dutch for now but I could learn Haitian Creole or Wolof next!

The Games:

Practice - See all the phrases for the topic with their English translation. You can also hear the pronunciations of the words. Ideal for learning the pictures meaning prior to starting the other games.
Easy - matching what you hear to what you see
Speaking - listen to your lovely imitations and see how you compare to the native...
Hard - matching what you hear to what you see with more challenge
Memory - The images hide and you have to remember location and sound to match
Recall - Here's the picture and the English but 'what was the translation?' self assess your responses

The Pro's

Easy to use and get started (very visual)

Covers the areas and topics you would expect from a phrase book or Language 101 

Can practice some grammatical features such as adjectives and prepositions

Male and Female speakers so you can pick up the key parts of pronunciation

Achievements to unlock e.g. consistent high score, completing all areas of a topic etc.

Can easily return to previous activities and is handy to use for reference with the search function (Available on phone and tablet).

The Con's

No rating/marking on your pronunciation by the app although you do get to cringe at your poor imitations!

If this isn't your way of learning or you are new to learning languages you would need to use other tools too for learning other aspects such as word order, why some words have different endings for gender etc.

The Conclusion

Overall, for a language learning app, I'm in love! You can tell the app has had development time and that it isn't a start up businesses first venture (the company behind the app have been running since 1991!). This really comes across in the features and the vocabulary available. I'd say this a great starter app for anyone looking to learn a new language and it covers everything you would need to get by on holiday. Naturally there is a limit within the app but there are additional programmes available through the company from when you're ready to progress away from an app as your main source of learning.
I can't help but compare to Rosetta Stone as that's the method I have mentioned trying before now. The method of learning is the same (imagery and using your brain to make the connections), the uTalk is cheaper overall but perhaps doesn't have the range within the language as Rosetta. That being said, I feel the need to highlight that I compared an app to a computer programme so naturally there would be limitations!! 

The CHALLENGE for you:

Find a language on this app that you want to try or test (free or purchased) to see if it's right for you through this link here :)
Let me know which languages you enjoyed trying and have a chance to win a premium package in a little giveaway that the company are allowing me to do :)

Happy Learning! I shall be keeping you updated on my progress and experience with uTalk in the Monthly Updates :)

Make your own choices,

Toodlepip x

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* As I said at the beginning I was invited to review this app through bloggersrequired and was provided with the 'Premium' bundle without monetary purchase. All opinions are my own and I wouldn't publish a review on something I didn't enjoy. Or maybe I would, but I would still provide you with my honest, and often blunt, opinion :)