Finding conversation partners is one of the most effective ways to practice a language for free to improve your language skills. Indeed, the biggest problem for those learning a language at school or who are self-taught is how to practice it and speak it orally. It is indeed not easy to practice a foreign language orally, especially when you are unable to travel. Fortunately, there are tricks like the tandem formula and sites where you can meet people to practice.
In this article you will find my selection of the best language exchange website.
How to Find Conversation Partners : The Linguistic Tandem Principle
If you want to practice a language, one of the most effective and fastest ways to find conversation partners is to use the sites dedicated to language exchange using the language tandem formula.
Simply subscribe to one of these communities to get in touch with people around the world who, like you, want to learn a language. If you study English for example, you can find an English or American correspondent who wants to learn French and exchange in English (and French) with him. It is therefore to help each other by sharing your knowledge for free.
I’ve gone on these sites for a long time. I think it’s great because it allows me to practice and make friends with people from around the world. I find conversation partners very helpful both at the beginning of the learning process and later on to maintain a learned language. For example, I have a lot of Spanish correspondents to maintain my level of Spanish.
These sites work so well over the years, many similar sites have emerged, and it is often difficult to choose among them. Having tested dozens I have chosen for you the best free sites dedicated to language exchange.
Before talking with your conversation partners, make sure to download our FREE 5 free conversation guides that allow you to review the basics to speak in English, Spanish, Italian, German or Portuguese:
The best sites for linguistic exchange to find language partners
Once on the site, click on “Community” and then “Language Partners“. The menu offers the language partner , the filter subscriber list based on the language they want to learn (eg. French) , and that they speak (eg. Spanish) , as well as age and place of origin. Each user should clearly specify the level of knowledge they have on the language , allowing them to choose people who have a similar level . In my case, having an advanced level in Spanish , I have to select conversation partners who are equivalent in French to make the conversation smoother and more enjoyable.
If you do not have time to do a language tandem , you also have the option to pay for a course. There are many choices and at very affordable prices : to give you an idea, I sometimes complete Portuguese conversation classes for less than 10 € / hour!
The Strong Points :
- The self-assessment system is based on European Framework : A1 , A2, B1 , B2, C1 and C2
- The graphics are nice
- The convenience of the search engine to find a perfect match for conversation partners
- The site has many members and you can find native speakers easily
- To start you need to send a friend request and wait to be accepted
- There is no internal video conferencing service site and you need to use Skype
I like Speaky because you can start using it very fast: it takes two minutes flat to register (you can use your Facebook or Google account). Additionally, the “live ” button will find conversation partners without taking too much effort. One immediately sees people online and available to chat and talk.
With the “Find Friends” menu, you have the opportunity to study someone’s profile well before making contact by seeing their spoken / studied language, nationality, sex, age, interests. Moreover, the search engine filter identifies the native language that you want to learn or see the most active members for (if you are looking for a conversation, it is unnecessary to contact a person who hasn’t connected in over a year ) . The site is completely free and it has recently been made accessible via Android.
The Strong Points:
- The speed with which we can find language partners
- The chat system with the ability to correct ( and be corrected ) mistakes during chat
- The calling system (no need to go through Skype) with suggestions for topics and questions, the timer and the ability to take notes
- Badges and competitions to motivate people to make the language tandem
- The live feature is very nice but it is hard to see the conversation partner’s level in our language to sort profiles
- It would be better to have more added filters and options to choose the appropriate language partners
- Although this facilitates registration, the obligation to register via Facebook or Gmail
From the start menu you can choose the preferred language exchange online: face to face conversation, written correspondance or voice chat . The search menu allows you to find a match / language partner to add to your network. I have not misused this site to find a English speaking partner when I wanted to get better but you will not have trouble making conversation in Spanish, Italian , German, Portuguese , Chinese, Russian , etc.
The Strong Points :
- The search for partners by exchange mode (if you want to talk , no need to find someone who just wants to exchange letters )
- Fast and convenient website
- The absence of an integrated video chat ( but you can use Skype)
- It is not clear whether a user is online or not to talk to someone, and so you first need to exchange messages
HelloTalk (iPhone and Android Application)
HelloTalk is an app that allows you to find partners to practice directly on your smartphone or tablet. It is possible to converse over text or send small audio messages (like WhatsApp). You can do a language exchange and start communicating with native speakers. It is also possible to communicate via calls or video calls. The apps offer a lot of assistance for this, as translating tools of different sorts are also available.
Lately, the app experienced tremendous success and has turned into a large social network, with more than 2 million users in over 100 languages. The newsfeed is filled with people posting all sorts of content (which in the app is called “Moments”)on which you can comment in various languages. One can thus procrastinate by browsing a social network and practicing a language at the same time!
Tip: To more easily find friends with whom to practice, it is preferable to display only the people who took the time to complete their presentation profile to avoid wasting your time.
The Strong Points:
- Allows you to practice on your smartphone, which does not take much time
- The voice, translation and correction systems are all very nice
- Large social network with chat, voice and video call features
- Excellent exchange system (with timer to always have a balance between the languages)
- Standard prononciation available when you want to check how you rponounce the sentences you received
- Possibility to transliterate non-Roman-based languages (very useful if you are learning Japanese, Mandarin…)
- Many inactive users so sometimes it takes a bit to find a partner (but you can use one of the filters to only see people who are online)
All these sites are very useful, and you will not struggle to find conversation partners with them. Many other language exchange sites offer a similar service, but I wanted to give you the list of best to save you time. For completeness , I mention those who seemed to me less attractive or functional ( Verbling which was free before , Livemocha , Busuu , 12Speak and My Language Exchange) , or those that are not yet available in French ( My Happy Planet ) and the sites which appear best suited to meet the disconnected like Polyglot club.
If you want to converse with language partners, be sure to download our FREE “5 free conversations guides” that allow you to review the useful basics to speak in English, Spanish , Italian, German or Portuguese :
The next article is devoted to practicing a foreign language by meeting people in the real world. I also suggest that you read the 7 golden rules for linguistic exchange to be even more effective.
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