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LinZhenPu

HelloTalk

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LinZhenPu

Not sure if this has app has been discussed before or if there's an Android version (probably is),

But I just stumbled across this app on the iTunes App Store and I'm pretty blown away.

It's an app for connecting with other users to be language partners.

I have been using it just for like half an hour and already it looks very feature rich, very well polished, and from a technical stand point seems like a very well developed app since everything is so snappy and smooth.

Plus it seems to be quite popular as I've already had 4 Chinese people add me on it already and I've only just created an account.

Give it a whirl guys!

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LinZhenPu

Great reply AdamD, very informative. Thanks.

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ReubenBond

Also check out HelloPal, which is a very similar app with a similar but different feature set (eg, phrase book, some kind of "game" feature, etc).

 

I've found that people often want to move the conversation to WeChat, which is what prompted me to make HanBaoBao.

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imron

@ReubenBond, please have a read of our Guidelines for Commercial Posters. Especially the section on "Posts and Relevance". That is, please don't use tangentially related threads to promote your own application.

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ReubenBond

Eep, sorry, @imron - if it helps, the app isn't commercial, but I'll refrain from mentioning it unless it's directly pertinent to the original post.

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imron

From the guidelines:

Commercial / Promotional Use of the Site

I use business to refer to any product, service or website, paid or free, profitable or not.

We actually welcome creators to discuss their products, we just want them to do it in a relevant way and without annoying regular members.

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Naphta

I use HelloTalk and also an app called Speaky, which I prefer because it has also a web interface and no paid plan so you can practice other languages as well. But their android app is still under development and it doesn't have all the functionalities of HelloTalk, specially voice messaging which I find extremely useful.

 

I must add that most Speaky users are from Taiwan, there are very little Chinese users. That's more than fine with me, but it may be frustrating for people learning simplified Chinese.

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ReubenBond

Thanks again, @imron, I'll be careful. It looks like we both live in Melbourne :)

 

For Language Exchange software, there's also "How Do You Do", though I haven't found so many Mandarin speakers on there, more Thai and Vietnamese speakers.

So far I think HelloTalk & HelloPal are the best. HelloPal's interface isn't as pretty as HelloTalk's, but it seems to be improving quickly.

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LinZhenPu

I have been getting very few requests on this app, especially as compared to when I first started using it. Has anyone else been experiencing this?

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Naphta

 

I have been getting very few requests on this app, especially as compared to when I first started using it. Has anyone else been experiencing this?

 

Yes, me as well. I still get quite a lot of requests on Speaky though.

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AdamD

I gave up on Speaky pretty quickly. The iOS app is nagware: it constantly hassles you to turn on notifications, and once you do it nags you daily to open the app. I won't be bullied by an app so it's gone.

 

Hello Pal was an odd experience. The userbase seems to treat it like Tinder. One woman got angry with me because I wouldn't let her video call me before we'd even spoken, and another got super-intense and was sending me several messages per day (my info page showed I hadn't opened the app in that time, but she kept doing it anyway). Also, the iOS app vibrated my phone even when I disabled app notifications and was in do not disturb mode — as bugs go this one is pretty invasive.

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AdamD
On 12/11/2016 at 11:54 AM, AdamD said:

Hello Pal was an odd experience.

 

I've given Hello Pal a solid chance but I'm ready to give it up. Despite the developer's efforts to increase the integrity of users—your trust score increases if you provide your email address, phone number and passport/ID card—about half my chat requests are either people who have no connection with Chinese or English (what the hell do I want with a Tagalog speaker who's learning Portuguese??) or scam artists straight-up begging for my email address. You can filter out some of this junk but you can't permanently delete it; we shouldn't even be seeing it in the first place. Between this, the incessant chat requests by 15–17 year old girls (I'm old enough that this is obviously not on), and the DayGlo interface, it's all work and little reward.

 

HelloTalk manages to avoid nearly all this noise, and now that I've seen how bad things can get, I appreciate it all the more for doing so. Whatever @HelloTalk Zac is doing, it's working. Truly incredible stuff.

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Flickserve

I am just trying out hellotalk. Only on two days and it's phenomenal. I got a few hits for language exchange. Two look quite promising. One is a college student who was suggested Chinese English chat starting with Chinese first. Great! Another from Northern China who is not working at the moment and has rudimentary English. Also not quite standard Mandarin but I don't mind. 

 

One girl seems to be using more English than Chinese. I am testing out the response for the middle aged older population. 

 

I just altered my profile to write (rather cheekily)  if there are any China National team badminton players wanting to language exchange. That's who I really want to exchange with!

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mungouk

Bumping this thread as @Flickserve just persuaded me to get onto HelloTalk 😉

 

He's curating a language exchange group which is looking good so far, but I just wanted to get a feel for what it's like out there on this platform (speaking as someone who's a conscientious objector against WhatsApp, due to previous bizarre and unwanted experiences in India...)

 

1. I guess it's pretty normal as a CE/EN learner to get lots of "hello" messages... compared to Twitter etc are most of these actual humans? 

 

2. If so, are they likely to be worth replying to, or do most folk turn off (how?) unsolicited conversation requests?

 

As flattered as I am to be suddenly receiving lots of messages from 20--somethings of the relevant gender in China, it would be good to know how to filter out the undesirables. 

 

 

 

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Flickserve

I found most interactions end up being cursory. Some don't have a clear plan except to practice. There is a natural decay process like the t 1/2 concept of radioactivity.

 

Some of the people have phenomenal English. I end up not interacting with those. I have nothing to offer. 

 

Some only speak/reply in English despite being tested with some Chinese text or voice. I drop those. 

 

A fair number want to post something on an alternative social media medium away from weixin weibo Facebook etc. 

 

There are two definites I steer clear of those at university or younger. They are probably nice people but I don't need that sort of hassle and there is not much in common. Second group is guys in general. Male to male interactions are generally very short conversations. I think in groups it's better. 

 

In the end, its a bit of random luck who you click with. It's hard to generalise on who you get. But you can still practice Chinese on the way there. 

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Flickserve

Just some feedback on the hellotalk group chat. 

 

I was part of a larger group and trying to analyse what works and what doesn't. I know that single person language partners largely fails. I mean, that's like going on a blind date. 

 

I managed to bring together a few people onto a group of six. Luckily we are all on the same wavelength and time zone. Very roughly we have the same abilities. The Chinese people have decent understanding of written English, need listening practice and speaking practice. Us Chinese learners are still needing lessons, vocabulary acquisition, listening practice at a lower intermediate level. Everyone pretty much understands that we are focussed on being proactive on listening and speaking skills so we do leave a fair amount of voice messages. We do some 听写 and for me, I quite enjoy it (until there's too much new vocabulary). If there are ones which I roughly know what's going on, I leave them. Some, I can listen to the words but not know the meaning - I like those as well. For example, today had a 活不下去. I like it this way because of the interaction. It is just nicer to have someone confirm or correct you on a voice message conversation rather than doing it by yourself with an MP3 and a script. It's also convenient to grab a quick listen to find a sentence that you might know most of the words and work on that.

 

I think one reason for it going well, and better than single language partner exchange is the flow ideas. If one person is out of an idea, one or another comes along with a supplementary question to stimulate the flow of vocabulary on the same topic. I find this very helpful as it's basically simulating SRS. It's rare to find a tutor who can do this - well in my personal experience, the tutors go through multiple topics, trying to listen, speak and read so by the end of a lesson I am usually overwhelmed. 

 

I did set a few topics for discussion to try and keep things moving. I did regret a bit about asking our China group about what stereotypes there are of Shanghai people. The volume of messages was really good. But it did show a drawback of HT. Scrolling back to find relevant messages is not easy when there are a large number of messages.

 

This small group seems to motivate a bit better. I hope that lasts because keeping motivation is one of my weaker areas. 

 

Will more people in the group be better? Maybe two or three but we are in no hurry to add people. We did lose a couple of native Mandarin speakers. They may have felt too self conscious or out of their depth. The style is rather different as one is encouraged to speak up and that can induce nerves.

 

I had tried italki language partners. In fact, that didn't go very successfully. I think it is the medium of communication. A mutually convenient time needs to be set up and a couple of steps need to be done. What happens if the other party is not free? So HT solves this with the messages. I won't use Skype for looking for random language partners because it trawls through my contact list but I am OK with talking to random people on HT who at least pretend to be learning a language. I don't even have notifications for Skype messages as I only set that up for online tutoring. 

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mungouk
2 hours ago, Flickserve said:

a drawback of HT. Scrolling back to find relevant messages is not easy when there are a large number of messages.

 

What I've been doing is save the likely-looking ones to favourites, so I can find them again.  You need to know that you might want to do that, of course.

 

It's great the way that when anyone corrects your text it's automatically saved into favourites.

 

2 hours ago, Flickserve said:

italki language partners [...] didn't go very successfully. [...] A mutually convenient time needs to be set up and a couple of steps need to be done.

 

Same. I had one very friendly chap in Beijing who wanted to Skype, but we just couldn't find a convenient time, despite both being on the same timezone.  I've invited him to HelloTalk actually, although no response yet.

 

I do have a 1:1 thread going on currently with a student somewhere in Jiangsu, but I specifically set out an idea for structure once we'd got past the "hello" stage.  I've sent her text in Hanzi for her to record, one audio message per sentence.  Then I use it for listening practice and transcribe it.  She sent me a text from her textbook in English and I did the same.  Having short audio messages for each sentence makes it easy to repeat over and over until you think you've got it.

 

Since we already have the source material, we can correct our own mistakes, and then maybe talk about them later.  It's only been a week but it seems to be working well so far.  Hopefully us both having specific goals for the discussion will prevent it from fizzling out too soon.

 

 

 

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