When I first came to the United States, during freshman orientation, several people were surprised to learn that I’m trilingual. I’m fluent in English (of course) and Hindi, the national (though not official) language of India. Additionally, my mother tongue is Marathi, the primary language in the state of Maharashtra. Although I was born in India, I moved to Singapore when I was three and have lived there ever since. After 17 years of living in the country without knowing one of their national languages, Mandarin, this past summer I decided to learn the language on a conversational level. Looking for classes was fairly easy but more often than not, they were quite expensive. Luckily, I was able to find an affordable group session for ten weekly classes. While I enjoyed the face-to-face interaction, I wonder if using an app would’ve been more convenient. uTalk is one such user interface that vows to give its users applicable knowledge on the language of their choice. Here’s why you should consider getting the app:
- It’s personal tutoring in the comfort of your home
I must confess that I may have skipped one of my classes solely because I didn’t want to make the 25-minute trip down to the tuition center in the sweltering Singapore heat. It was during those times that I wished the center had live video classes that I could just stream into whilst lying in bed. With uTalk, you can access your classes whenever and wherever you want (as long as you have internet connection), and even control the pace of your learning.
- Affordable classes
My search for a Mandarin class meant forgoing any one-to-one sessions because the cheapest available package was $500. As much as I wanted to learn the language, I was not ready to depart with so much of my summer earnings. I’m sure that most college students who have an interest in expanding their linguistic skills share the same sentiment. Luckily for us, uTalk offers a lifetime subscription to the app for one language for about $70. That’s significantly cheaper than the amount I paid for my group sessions.
- No more Siri voices
In the past, language apps have involved the use of monotonic robot voices that teach you basic vocabulary of the language. uTalk uses voice recordings of native speakers so that you can gauge the tone with which certain words are said. Something like this is especially useful in a language like Mandarin, where the tone with which a word is pronounced drastically changes its meaning.
- You can learn on the go
When I was studying abroad in London earlier this year, I made a trip down to Italy to visit my friend. Given that she showed me around and spoke Italian, I didn’t face any language barriers, but it would’ve been nice to know a bit of the language myself. uTalk is an excellent resource to learn conversational vocabulary for short trips.
- It’s catered to college students
While people who have a steady income may find it more valuable to purchase a one-on-one package with a tutor in order to learn a language for business, students would certainly find it more beneficial to use an app. In a world where it’s becoming increasingly necessary to know more than one language, an app like uTalk comes in handy. Wouldn’t it be nice to able to tick off one extra language when filling out job applications?