Favorite Travel Apps: Language Learning with uTalk
There are few things I love as much as learning a new language. I dream of one day being a polyglot who can communicate in more languages than I can name, and, while my multilingual aspirations remain lofty, I’m working toward them slowly but surely. Beyond English and Spanish, I took French and Italian classes in college (and even a bit of Nahuatl, although I couldn’t tell you how to say a thing!), and I’m currently enrolled in a weekly Mandarin course.
Sadly, the real world limits the amount of time I can devote to language learning, which is where language apps save the day. I’ve played around with a lot of apps, but few have truly impressed me. I am a huge fan of Duolingo, through which I’ve refreshed my Spanish, French, and Italian and can now communicate some basic sentences in Portuguese and German. However, until now, that’s the only language app I’ve really used regularly.
I’ve recently discovered another app that has really won me over: uTalk. Its beautiful design impressed me right away, but the number one best thing about it? It offers a hundred languages (compared to Duolingo’s current nine): everything from Hungarian to Hindi and Swahili to Slovenian.
The app itself is free, and you can learn the starter words in each language without a charge as well. Each lesson takes you through various techniques of learning the words: a practice round, an easy game, a speaking game, a hard game, a memory game, and a recall round. So if you’re heading off to Serbia next week, just head on over to the Serbian section, and, soon enough, you’ll have all the basics committed to memory.
If you’re committed to learning a bit more, you can purchase an essentials pack (11 topics) for $9.99 or a premium pack (35 topics) for $16.99. And guess what? I’m giving away three premium pack codes at the end of this post! (So, uh, keep reading!)
I fell madly in love with Romania in the summer of 2013, and my fascination for the country grew in November when I used its history and landscapes as the setting for my novel for NaNoWriMo (a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month). Plus, Romanian is a Romance language, so I figured I’d already have a solid footing in it. Because of all this, I’ve started with uTalk’s Romanian lessons. Within ten minutes, my Romanian vocabulary was lightyears ahead of where it had been, so we’ll see how it goes after a few more hours on the app. Bună ziua!
uTalk focuses primarily on vocabulary rather than grammar, so if you’re looking to fully speak a language, you’d need a combination of learning methods, with uTalk being one component. With the app’s ease of use and great design, I’d love to see it expand to grammar lessons eventually. It’s also currently only available on the iTunes store, so hopefully it becomes available on other platforms soon.
Tempted to try uTalk? I’m giving away three premium codes to access the full set of lessons in a language of your choice! Entries are now closed! Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners! If you’d like to try uTalk, you can download it here.
Good luck, and happy language learning!