Tandem review: Learn a language through an electronic pen pal
Get to grips with a new language by being paired with a native speaker through your phone
If you want to learn a language but are more interested in having a friendly chat than studying the correct grammar and syntax, Tandem – Language Exchange may be for you.
It pairs you with users in di erent countries, so you can chat face to face over a video call, to discuss di erent topics and hopefully master a new tongue.
The set-up process is a little disconcerting; it often feels more like you’re joining a dating site. After setting up, the app, gives way to a friendly and informal interface.
As its name suggests, the app is based on the premise of a ‘tandem partnership’ where people meet to exchange their conversational skills in a particular language but this online community eradicates the need to even step out of the house. Rather than the pressure of attending night school or or discussion groups, the user simply taps ‘Find Chats’ to let other members know what they are looking for (eg “I want to improve my Italian”) and Tandem provides a list of users who might be able to help.
Users can then communicate through the app, preferably as a video chat. The idea of calling a random person from another country to speak a language you barely know may sound a little daunting, but during our review we spoke with several users while trying to learn Italian, and they were all friendly and encouraging. If you’re still not comfortable, there is always the option to audio call without video or just exchange text messages instead.
And that’s it. The app doesn’t o er any additional support, if you want to improve pronunciation and master grammar, you will have to ask other users. A downfall of the current version of the app is the fact you can only sign up using Facebook, but the developers plan to change this.
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